Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Visit

So today, the kids, my sister and I drove to the halfway point between here and my hometown to pick up my mother. My brother and sister-in-law drove her there. She's off from work unexpectedly for at least a week--plant management delayed telling them so that they couldn't look into unemployment insurance (that Bo Pilgrim; he really is the consummate Christian). From what I gather, the employees with younger children are worried--they live paycheck to paycheck and were, of course, planning to buy Christmas gifts with the checks they get over the next two weeks. This, combined with the fact that the local Wal-Marts no longer have lay-a-way, is proving quite devastating to a number of hopefully-penned Christmas lists.

But I digress. My sister noted on the way up there, "You know this means we have to spend three weeks instead of two with her." "I know," I said, "But she'll be cool out here."

My mom is going through some sort of anxiety/depression/paranoia/OCD thing that she refuses to take medicine for because she doesn't want people to think she is crazy. In the meantime, she gets stuck on one issue and goes on and on and on. Tonight my damned brother gave her fuel--he had a little accident in her car and her driver side mirror got knocked off. She mentioned it approximately 20 times in the less-than-three-hours it took us to get back here. And each time Sis dug in my ribs or punched my thigh or glared at me. Sorry, damn!

And now, it's become a religious issue as she doesn't "want to question God," but she's wondering "why things keep happening." Which kind of irked me because this is so trivial. I want to say, "Mama, there are a million things you could question God about, but a side mirror?" But I do know everything is magnified and worsened in her mind so I'm keeping quiet and listening. Even as she's lying down and repeating, wishfully, "I hope I can get some sleep. I hope this doesn't ruin my trip. I hope my mind eases." We're going to talk to her again about therapy and medication. One day, we hope it works.


Gwyneth Bolton said...

Elle, hopefully the time away from the stress and pressure of home will allow your mom's mind a moment of rest. The other thing is, sometimes it is easier to stress about the smallest things because the rest of it is just so dang overwhelming... She's probably stressed about the job situation and the door mirror is a distraction...

Anonymous said...

i'm so sorry that things are so hard for your mom, and you younad your siblings, right now. i hope that soon she will accept meds and therapy. either way, she will appreciate how patient you are being with her.

Zan said...

Therapy and medication do amazing things, I can attest. I used to get the same sort of obsessions about the smallest things, until I found the right combo. It can get better. And hey, she doesn't have to TELL anyone she's using 'em if she doesn't want to.

Also, I'm a big fan of questioning god. You'd be amazed at the answers you get :)

elle said...

thing is, she absolutely REFUSES. we've pointed out that no one has to know, that her best friend takes antidepressants, that her doctor has prescibed different meds that she won't get filled. we think, it can't all be that she's worried about what people will say (though she mentions that often), there is some very real reason she is so resistant.

in the meantime, it gets increasingly harder for us to deal with it calmly as she will pick one thing last time I was home, I bought a napa (i think) cabbage to use as greenery to decorate some of the fruit trays we made for my little birthday thing. i didn't use all the cabbage. she started that night as we were leaving, "What are you going to do with this cabbage? I'm not going to use it. What should I do with it?" She was terrified that I would leave it in the vegetable crisper.

Now imagine someone saying things, asking questions like that over and over and over, each time you visit, about any little thing (keys you hang in the wrong spot, an envelope you bring from your car to the house, a plate you take from the kitchen to the car if you're eating on the go, the laptop you borrow from your best friend b/c you set it up on the kitchen counter). Imagine you're there for longer than a weekend. And my poor dad--he's always saying "Y'all get your mama out of the house, PLEASE!"

my sister and i talked about renting a house down there just to have for the holidays and the summers when we visit (we typicaly spend all but two or three weeks of the summer there), but she is opposed to that idea as a waste of money and she says she misses us when we're gone because she's so lonely.

so i don't know what to do. as you hear me bitch over the next three weeks, please know that i love her deeply. she was, in many ways, that "ideal" mother stereotype--dinner on the table everyday when we got home, at every school function we had despite working nights in a horrible job, traveled with us on school trips, always helped with homework, never cussed at us, never said anything negative to us, very supportive, our friends loved to come to our house, etc. etc. and even since we've been grown, she does so much for us. so i know she made terrific sacrifices and i think about that.

but this is getting unbearable.

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...