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My mom is diagnosed with Schizoeffective

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My journey began 7 years ago. There were no warning signs. I am an only child. My mother had been diagnosed with bipolar, schizophrenia, and schizo-effective disorder, and depression (A different diagnoses by different doctor's). 6 years ago to date my mom walked away the day before Christmas and had gone missing for six months. She had on no shoes or a coat and no form of ID. I filled missing persons reports, posters, search parties but all this to no avail. Then one day I received a call from a doctor stating they were admitted my mom (Thank GOD. I knew my prayers were NOT in vain). She was living on the streets all of that time. My mother simultaneously went on these walking bouts but this by far was the longest. Also, anytime she left either a police station or hospital would call me and inquire about her, asking if she was mentally ill. Anytime my mother was put into a Psychiatric Ward they would let her out right away because to them she was functioning just fine and there was nothing wrong with her. Before my mom's 6 month disappearance, I asked what can I do to get her committed long term and they told me I MUST file for guardianship. While this was by NO means an easy task, it had to be done. Not only did my mom wander she also would not take medication because she felt there was nothing wrong with her. Now my mother was not violent at all but she would space out, chain smoke, not sleep, cry at any given moment, see things I didn't see, think people were after her, etc. I can go on and on. She basically believes things (to date) that are not true. There is a whole lot more to this story but it would take some time to tell. I go through my moments just like a lot of you. What makes it harder is that I have no one but GOD to depend on emotionally. It does and can take an emotional toll on the parties dealing with the situation. That's why it's important to believe in a higher power and/or have a support group. I'm been dealing with my mom's illness for years but it's the farthest thing from a walk in the park. I didn't spend my 20's dating, having fun, and enjoying life. Instead I was the head of household at the age of 22, paying (major) bills, in and out of court, seeking lawyers, in and out of hospitals, etc. I'm not complaining because if I had to do it again I would in a heart beat. For those of you who are on the verge of giving up, my advice to you would be "don't do it." Yes, it can be a burden but if it's a family member, especially a parent, you only get ONE set of parents. Lastly, know that Mental Illness in a whole has been swept under the rug for way too long (and still is.) The people/person whom you least expect may be suffering from it but just too ashamed to admit. The same way that they have all those fund raisers, walks, causes, months, celebrity advocates for cancer, AIDS, MS, etc., is the same way it should be for mental illness. It takes a strong person to go through the phases of mental illness, but it takes an even stronger person to survive it. If anyone may have any questions please feel free to ask.

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