My mom has been suffering from frequent psychotic episodes (which my siblings and I believe to be schizophrenia, though she has never officially shared her diagnosis) for the past 15 years of my life. She will be fine for a couple of years at a time, but then she gradually slips into another recurrence. Her delusions typically have to do with the end of the world/Biblical themes. She sees and hears demons, voices telling her she’s going to or is already in hell. She doesn’t sleep during these times, is very anxious, and can easily smoke 3 to 4 packs of cigarettes in a 24 hour period. She’s been hospitalized 4 times in the last 5 years. Her stays are usually just a day or two at a time, and with antipsychotics, she’s back to normal within a couple of weeks.
The problem is that she refuses to stick with medication maintenance and therapy, so my family is having to deal with these episodes every year or two. Because I am the only one of my siblings who is single and childless (and because she currently lives with me), I have to take on the brunt of her care. Fighting with her to take medications, hiding her car keys so that she doesn’t try to drive in the middle of the night, and also dealing with the financial burden of her being out of work because we share expenses.
It doesn’t help that I also have a mental illness (OCD) that is triggered by her episodes, so I become uncertain of my own health as well. It’s just an all around bad situation. I depend on her in certain ways because I do not drive due to my anxiety, and whenever she goes through her episodes, I feel shame because I’m reminded that I still rely on her at the age of 26. I wish that I could take my siblings’ stance and create a life completely separate from this madness, but I know that in current circumstances, both of us would struggle.
I’m sorry to rant. I’m just needing some support and don’t really ever get the chance to talk about how I feel in relation to her illness. For my family it’s easier to either make light of the situation or not speak about it at all, you know. But anyways, thanks in advance for listening.