A Frantic Call"Please help me. She just stood at the door with a knife in hand. I can't live with her anymore." Panic and fear sounded through the phone. Its 2:30 am. (After a lot of drama, she returned to house, as though that call was never made)!
There was a lot of uncertainty when that call was received. Did it really happen, or was my mother creating a situation because she did not get what she wanted from my elder sister? Was it a hallucination - it happens a lot more with her aging. Trying to figure out truth from fiction with mentally ill people can be hard. In this case, it was a variation of the truth. My sister claims she thought someone was outside, and armed herself, while questioning mom about a scholarship she never received. As for my mother, she ran out of the house into the darkness afraid for her life, as my sister followed - afraid for her. Does this make sense? No it does not, but it happened just over a year ago.
According to Google, "Schizophrenia is a long term mental disorder which involves the breakdown between thoughts, emotions and behaviors. This leads to faulty perceptions, inappropriate actions and feelings; fantasy, delusions and fragmented reality". My mother was diagnosed with this and depression more than forty years ago. It was difficult living with her as she could be quite cruel while showing love and caring to myself and my siblings. I was always happy that I was not the favorite - the favorite child was physically punished the most. It was hard to be in the presence of this, and thus could not use that methodology to correct my children.
The care-giverMy elder sister believed she could take care of our mother. She felt it was her duty to sacrifice her own happiness for the wishes of our mother. Schizophrenics are great manipulators, and do not like to conform to authority of others, from my experience. She did not stand a chance, and everyone around thought life was okay for my mother and sister - until it was not.
"Your sister is missing. You have to find her." This call was real after verification. Then the calls kept coming, and my sister was lost within her mental bipolar disorder.
For the family member who gets the calls from the loved ones, friends, public, it can be like standing on a cliff with an imminent drop at any moment. In Trinidad & Tobago, our social services for mental health support are limited. However, you can contact a mental health officer for assistance through district mental health facilities. All major health centers have a corresponding mental health section, with trained staff willing to assist when approached.
Do you have a friend or loved one with mental illness? Have you reached out for help? Don't be afraid to ask questions from trained medical professionals. Do not believe everything a mentally ill person shares as their reality may be different from your own!
Credits:Images — pixabay.com
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