Brian Childers MDI Contributor
There are a few favorite stories about my mother.
* How she told us that she and my father used to go to turkey shoots in West Virginia where he was from. She would win them; he would not.
* How during one of her psychotic periods, she ran for mayor of Atlanta. A local radio hack, Ludlow Porch, made big fun of her on his show. I always hated him for that. She lost, of course, not that she didn’t have some good ideas: feed the hungry, house the homeless – that kind of thing.
But what stands out to me is the time during another of her mentally ill times when she was homeless. My sisters and I had called all of the shelters in town trying to get someone to take her. But, when she was off her meds she was pugnacious and started fights with the other people in the shelter – causing her to get kicked out and banned. One man I spoke with told me he couldn’t take her because she “wasn’t ready to be helped.” He said that the only thing he’d seen work was for the family to cut them off completely so they would hit bottom and finally see that they had run out of people to manipulate.
So, in August in Atlanta on a day when it was 96 or 97 degrees, Mom came to my door and asked if she could come in and have a drink of water and go to the bathroom.
I told her “no.”
That was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, followed by watching my sister die a year ago.
Mom did indeed see that she had hit bottom, and shortly thereafter presented herself to the regional mental hospital for treatment – where they FINALLY accurately diagnosed her – after 40+ years of misdiagnosis – as bi-polar and treated her with lithium which straightened her right up.
From there, I made her a promise: if she would keep up her mental health, I would see to it that she was never homeless again.
She did and I did … and we had another 20 years of our mom who we loved so dearly.