Under cut is the story of my life through my brothers' eyes. He is 19 now - a borderline personality with ADD - and was about 5 when my mother began to really unravel psychologically.
Under cut - trauma through a childs' eyes - written by my little brother as a "narrative essay" for a college english class
My Narrative Essay
When I was young, my family and I were what seemed to be your normal every day family. We had enjoyed eating Boston Market picnics by the lake. Occasionally we’d all join in for a game of baseball in the front yard, or play “around the world” in the driveway, and we always got along. Around the time I turned eight, life’s beauty and brilliance began to fade. My mother became ill. I’m not sure about the specifics of the initial hospitalizations, but I do know it was the start of bad things to come. As my mother stayed in the hospital, my father had little time to watch me and my sister during the day, and so after my sister I’d be dropped off at my home away from home, my grandparents’ house. Looking back, that place was like something out of heaven. There were lilacs and roses and all sorts of sweet smelling flowers. My grandmother was a saint. We would read board games, card games, and read the cute little tags on the beanie babies she bought me. When my mom returned from the hospital, she was not the same.
My mother was declared bi-polar, which little by little started to become evident. She started waking me and my sister late at night if she didn’t like the way we cleaned, she’d be happy one moment and sad the next; life started becoming a little more difficult. I still remember when my sister lied to my mom, I’m not quite sure what of, but it was probably of little importance. My mother, so enraged that she had lied, drove to a party, dragged her out with me in the car, and gave her a few solid smacks on the ride home. I guess this being the first time witnessing something like this, I didn’t act appropriately. I began to pinch my sister around the back of the seat. My mother’s solution was to take me out of the car and to pinch and hit me until I learned my lesson. Things got worse as my grandmother grew ill with cancer. Actually she’d been ill with cancer only to “recover” and get it once again, and around that time my mother was diagnosed with epilepsy. As the mental illnesses increased, so did my mother’s rapid decline as a semi-functional human being. It was ordered by her doctors that she could not drive due to the risk of seizing while driving and harming someone else. This caused huge arguments between my parents. One time, in her attempt to flee with keys, my father held her down, as she fought back in a bi-polar rage to drive away from her life. I hid in the corner, curled into a ball with my sister, watching.
These events were later explained away as “rage seizures.” She would have a seizure and after become mean and almost hateful. She’d tell your secrets and smile. She would be emotionless and cold; a good quality in an executioner, not in a mom. By the time I turned ten, my grandmother had passed away from cancer. Things stayed relatively normal for a while, and by normal I don’t mean your every day normal, I mean my new adapted sense of normalcy. A life of servitude had begun. My mother suffered from frequent grand mal seizures and became detached from the real world. She stopped leaving the house and became fearful of strangers. Her lack of balance lead to her falling down the stairs multiple times. We actually suspended her from using glass because of the risks. She started becoming more and more dependent on others for daily tasks, and her medications, along with eating habits and lack of movement, lead to her obscene obesity. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I had already had to save my mother from suicide multiple times. Overdoses, drowning, self-mutilation, and hanging attempts became expected. It helped actually. I found that if you expect to come home seeing your bloody dead mother on the floor, that you aren’t as hurt when you find your bloody, unconscious mother lying lifelessly in the living room. It’s at this point where, if you’re a father, you should say enough is enough, my wife is ill and my kids are suffering. Yeah, you’d think that.
My mother was eventually diagnosed as schizophrenic, and began to self mutilate in attempts to “silence the voices.” My father refused to admit her. I remember on my sister’s twenty first birthday, we were getting ready for dinner and a banging was heard from the bathroom. Of course, my sister hurriedly went to scope out the “crime scene”, only to find my mother on all fours, smashing her head into the tiled floor. Blood drips from her nearly cracked-open forehead, as she begins to converse with herself in three different voices. Supposedly, when my father brought her to the hospital, the psychiatrist said that she was coping as a schizophrenic. I found that amusing. When I was seventeen, my now three hundred and eight pound, two to three pack a day smoking, mentally-ill mother wanted gastric bypass surgery, and of course my father let her get it. After the surgery she changed none of her habits. She ate the same as before but her surgically altered stomach would cause her to vomit. She started losing hair from lack of protein, she started exhibiting drug seeking behavior, and lost all interest in personal hygiene.
I am now nineteen and in college. My mother continues to deteriorate, and is all but a shell of the mom I knew and loved years ago. She needs help even with the simplest tasks. She suffers from auditory hallucinations and delusions; she sees ghosts in her reality. She has almost no sense of time. She is almost always confused, day and night, and sleeps nearly half of the day away as part of her daily routine. When she awakes from her “long naps”, as my father prefers to title them, she doesn’t understand most of what I say. In her incoherent state, she babbles words of nonsense towards me. I know that when I move out of this house that the biggest pain will be when she is committed; an ironic pain. I know she can’t survive on her own, and I’ve practically screamed begs of salvation – only to be met with bitter sweet denial. When I move out, the ultimate slap in the face will be when my father realizes the seriousness of the situation, and has her committed. Until then, I continue to help her as best I can. Until then, I continue this rather dismal life. This is my narrative essay."
Me before surgery (and a bit after - I was hesitant about pics pre-op) :
About 50 pounds down:
ANd after (still learning to identify with this person/body):
I think my struggles are more trauma induced than anything, really. Bipolar shmy-polar