Monday, March 20, 2006

Lesser of The Evils~ Whatever That May Be

I'm waiting to hear back from my mother's doctor. After her recent break they've tried lowering her meds back down a bit. The thinking was to stabilize her and then try to get her back to the lower dosage. Last night she had a setback. The problem is nothing appeared to trigger it. She was alone in her room and basically just collapsed mentally all over again. She slept last night and woke this morning in the same fragile state. They opted to pump her full of those damn drugs again and she'll be down for the day. I'm not sure what the next step is. Keeping the meds elevated leaves her really lethargic at best. But does she need a higher dose. Is it better for her to be unaware of her inner demons? I just don't know what to even hope for. Whatever is in her best interest is best. Escaping her inner torture is a blessing I'm sure. I know that. But what quality of life is that- not that a mental break every few weeks is better. It's beginning to feel like a lose/lose situation. She has been slipping away from me for most of my life. I've watched it, seen the gradual mental decomposition and it... Hurts, but she has always known me. An increase at this point means she won't always communicate or even realize I'm in the room. If she does realize I'm there she may not know who I am.

The lesser of the evils...For her. How do I know what that even is?

All the thinking, trying to figure out what is really best has made me really look at my mom's life overall. I could say upping meds so that she is lethargic if not catatonic is lousy, but is it better than her moment by moment reality when she is clear and alert? No one but her can really answer that. Clear headed but haunted or spacey and at peace? I think it's one of those situations where you think you know what you'd rather but when presented with the situation for real, your mind could change.

When I think about her relationship with my father... I wonder if she just couldn't handle him. Did she start backslidding mentally because it was better, easier than staying in the present. Was it easier to get lost in her own psychosis than it was to really admit how lousy her life with her husband was? Even when I was a kid and they'd fight, I knew what he did was wrong. I blamed her for him leaving, but I also thought he treated her badly. He was always so self- important & self absorbed. Every conversation was turned into something about himself. He had a way of doing that and it drove everyone nuts. You always felt like he was superior, not because he really was, but because he needed to believe he was. His own arrogance led him to believe that he could say whatever the hell he liked to anyone at all- but if they responded, well. How dare they. How dare anyone say anything negative about him.

A fine example of a man who could dish it but couldn't handle getting back what he brought on himself.

In many ways they were polar opposites. Mom wanted peace and calm while dad thrived on chaos and drama. Two radically different sets of needs trying to coexist in a merged world. I can to this day remember mom trying to talk to him and feeling... Less than him. Or that's how she believed he saw her. One night not long before he left us I heard them fighting. I didn't understand it very much then. Now as a grown man it kills me. She was asking for the simplest of things. Emotional support. She felt doomed in his presence. He wanted particular things accomplished then slammed her when she tried to do them. The gist was if you can't be supportive then at the very least, stop dragging me down.

"If you love me why do you take so much pleasure in insulting me just for kicks?"

I can still hear her saying that. How did he respond to her request to back off and stop being so hurtful? By slinging more insults. Pushing more buttons. Belittling her for things undone and insulting anything accomplished. Hitting raw nerves one at a time until she finally snapped and punched him.

I can still see the big, pompous, self-important man on the living room floor choking my mother while I watched from the next room. Mangling the body of the woman who was half his size. Sealing the deal, showing her exactly what type of dirt beneath his shoes he thought her to be. She was good enough to carry his children, cook his meals, cater to his insane extended family, but how dare she- How dare she ask that he treat her with the same respect that she instinctively tried to give him. The nerve of her to initiate a conversation where she simply asked to be treated with a little bit of kindness. A reminder that she needed to feel supported and held up by someone & as her husband, shouldn't he be the one to want to do that?

My father left that night after finally letting mom go. He was gone for a few hours and I'm sure she prayed he would drive his sorry, drunken ass into a telephone pole. She was oblivious to me even being there. She was just lost in her own thoughts. I lost count of how many times I heard her tell herself outloud that she hated him.

"I hate him. I hate him. I hate him."

It was almost like a chant.

The next morning she was withdrawn from everything. Bruised and slow moving. She looked defeated physically but emotionally I think he did choke some of the life from her. That was a clear turning point in her sickness. If she stayed lost in her own head, if she withdrew into her own deluded world- well maybe those delusions were better than reality. Maybe in her delusions she fits in. Maybe the people that live in her head, maybe they treat her with kindness. Maybe she is treated like a human being there & maybe she believed that no one on the outside, no one in the real world would ever treat her well for very long. So she retreats back into her own created safety zone.

All she wanted was to have a husband that adored her and instead I think he truly broke her.


Blogger ann said...

Bobby, I don't know the answer about the meds ~ I wish I did, but you 100% right; it's a lose/lose situation.

As for the rest, oh my, I so know where you're coming from. :o((

lotsa luv ann xxxx

7:54 PM  
Blogger Unrequited said...

Dear Bobby,

I'm so, so sorry. I don't know what else to say.

8:10 PM  
Blogger FreakFeet said...

I don't know what to say other than, I'm sorry. *hugs*

9:06 PM  
Blogger The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

Bobby, you really are between such a rock and a hard place with your Mom. It is so hard to be a child having to care for a parent - especially when you share such an emotionally turbulent past. I am confident that you will make the best decision you can under the circumstances. A wise man once wrote "in a situation where the choice is between evils, choosing the lesser is no sin." You can only work with what the choices are, not what you in your compassion would have them be. Treat yourself very gently please. And stay with the feeling memory you are experiencing- there is anger there and that is good. Keep talking . . . you aren't alone. You and your Mom continue in my prayers.

9:40 PM  
Blogger aboutnici said...

Man, I'm also felt sorry for you and your mom!

10:31 AM  
Blogger VDOFan said...

You are probably right, she probably felt safer in her own delusions.. Well, lowering the dose may be helpful, and it may not. Considering what her setbacks are. I think if she has talk therapy it may help her with the triggers. and analyze what may cause them. I am not expert in the mental health industry, but I learned a helluva alot about it to speak from experience.

I think lowering the dose, will help her know you are there, I think even when she is heavily medicated she knows you are there. Mothers just know that, when you don't know yourself if they do, believe me they do know.

Being heavily medicated doesn't really help all the time in my own humble opinion. I think this will or may be good for her. and for you. Maybe you both can do family therapy together? and talk about the issues and triggers that bother both of you. It's up to her support system, and faith in herself not to fall back again. She can do it if she wants and with the loving support she has of you.

Even when you don't realize it Bobby, she thinks about you and worries about you. As I am sure you do with her. Maybe discuss options and other alternatives of what would be best, including therapy just for her and family therapy.

I wish you all the best, and I am very sorry for what you are going thru..

hugs Janice
Happy Spring to you!

11:17 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

I think that there was something about the dynamics of many marriages/families and the way things were in the 50s and 60s that allowed this kind of stuff to go on for long periods of time. Your family was not alone in that. As bad as her life was, your mom was blessed with having you as a son and to this day you are still doing your best for her. Treating mental illness is such a double-edged sword because of the risks and benefits of medications and that risk increases the more elderly the patient is. I hope the physicians can get things stabilized. Hope you realize how wonderful you are to your mother.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous caseyswife said...

She knows you are there, Bobby. I can't explain to you how or why, but I just feel it.

You and your Mother are in my thoughts and prayers.


12:16 PM  
Blogger Gracie said...

I believe Rev. Dr. Kate isreally on the mark although I am no expert. When you talk with no hope for a better future I feel very frustrated with you.I am sorry for the decisions you are forced to make. No one should have to decide another's state of mind.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:46 PM  

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