#dontcallmymomcrazy, Her name is Karen

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At the time I started to write my entry about my mother, she ended up passing away on April 16, 2018 at 56-years-old. Her death is still to be determined and there could be many possible reasons why, but in the end, her disease is what we believe got the best of her.

 

When I was about 10-years-old there were weird things that were going on at home. My mother, who was the breadwinner at the time, babysat about 20 different kids for years throughout our neighborhood. That all changed. Things were weird when my dad was fighting a lot with her and storming out. She accused him a lot of cheating. The ironic thing is that that’s what her disease made her believe when in reality, she was the one doing it. My mother has schizophrenia and ever since she freaked out one day and my sister ran away because of it, my life has never been the same.

I have been missing something greatly for 21 years: a mom. She’s been admitted to clinics all throughout my life and talking to her sometimes is like talking to a wall, a wall you get frustrated with quickly. Still to this day it is a challenge. She sometimes uses her illness to her advantage to get people to feel sorry for her or to be an excuse for the way she acts. It is difficult to have sympathy for her because growing up, we did not know if she was going to be present or not; whether that meant being awake, or not doped up on medications, or all of a sudden cared about us. I do not call her “mom”. A lot of people think I am disrespectful but they did not live the life that I or my siblings lived. Let me ask you, have you ever been chased around your house by your mother at the age of 7 with a butchers knife in her hand and she gets to you and says “I WILL DO IT, I WILL!” That's when she was no longer my mom.

Now do not judge. My experience should not give mental illness a bad name. Unfortunately, this is what mental illness has turned her into. It’s not her fault and I know that, but living without a present mother is hard. That person is eventually supposed to become your best friend. For a long time I never had friends come over to the house because of how embarrassed I was. Everyone else had a “perfect” family and a “normal” mom. Now that I am older I have found comfort in knowing that other friends have had similar issues with family members, whether it’s schizophrenia or bipolar and depression. I  have become more patient and understanding and feel better because I have others who can relate. Also being older and having researched this more, I am more sympathetic for those with mental illness. I feel like my patience has become a stronger attribute in that aspect.

The scariest part of the disease is genetics. Do I have a chance of having this disease? Will I pass it on to my children or do my niece and nephew have the gene? It is not something I constantly think about but it does cross my mind from time to time.

Society really needs to come together and really acknowledge that mental illness is everywhere. I’m not sure why it is so taboo but I feel like this generation can really change the way it is seen. Stop looking at it so negatively. Help is needed so stop blocking healthcare for it. Treat it. Get them the medication and the doctors they need to stop charging an arm and a leg for it or just chalk it up as we can’t help you. That is the one thing that disturbs me about it; you have to live with this disease already but yet many do not want to help.

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve used the word “crazy” to describe my mother, on many occasions. I definitely should not. I’m sure many others have used it to describe her as well. In the end, I just stopped hiding what was wrong by just saying “oh my mom is crazy” to “my mom is schizophrenic”. I think the important thing is to stop generalizing it as “crazy”and define it as it is, mental illness.

My best advice to children who may have a parent with the disease is do not hide behind it, talk about it. That is the best medicine for everyone, making it known and aware because I wish I was not told to not talk about it.
 

#dontcallmymomcrazy. Her name is Karen and she has schizophrenia, but it will never have her.  

- Kristin Yilmaz, 2018