I got a call yesterday from my mother’s social worker: “Sorry, the head psychiatrist tried to get her to go without sedating her, but we have no choice, please come sign involuntary patient forms tomorrow.” I sank, I did not want my mother to wake up in a strange place, and have a bad psychotic episode.
Today she called me, “Come fetch my car and laptop.” I am going. Quickly I called family, doctors to say “do not jab her with sedation. She is on board!” My mother has to be moved to another care facility that deals with cases like her. “Dual-Diagnosis”. This means she has substance addiction and a mental disability. Officially Alcohol Induced Dementia or “Wet Brain”. Physically, her brain sponged in alcohol and is slowly deteriorating. Starting with her frontal lobe.
Where am I when all this happens? I am in Port Elizabeth. It may seem selfish, but I am not cancelling my trip. As a family member of the person with this disease, you have to detatch with love. You have to worry about you first, then them. My aunt is starting to resent my current lack of participation, but in all honesty, I need a mommy baby sitting break, for when things get really bad, and it’s time to feed and change her again.
How does one deal with this disease and the disease of a parent being an alcoholic? Believe it or not, the answer is simple. Hold onto your centre, via meditation, praying and looking after yourself. If you can’t give said person a hug on that specific day, it’s ok, you need one. Cry. It’s liberating. Be angry – you have every right to do this. Do not climb into that hurricane of misery, rather stay above the water and enjoy the sunshine. Paint your nails – looking good in a crisis is still important. By doing all this, you develope compassion for the sick family member in your life. And you hope the rest of your family gets there too.
For five days, I am free. I get to build sandcastles, swim in the sea, go for long walks, meditate, laugh with friends. For five days, I have no contact with my worries in life.
For five days, I get to restart my life, with new tools I have learnt, and thank God that I have a second chance at growing up, or first for that matter, the right way.
I am so grateful for how this day is turning out. All it took was prayers, and patience!