Why post about it, you ask? Well, writing helps me process things (how very Oprah, I know). There’s also a part of me that finds schizophrenia fascinating. Of course, I wish it weren’t my actual, real-life reality, but I think the human brain is amazing. In fact, if I had more, well, brain power, I may have gone into some type of brain research field, but since science is Greek to me, I'm left “studying” mental illness from a more personal angle. Lucky me. Anyway, back to my story…
My phone rings at last Saturday morning. I’m tempted to just let it ring, but 1. My daughter’s at a friend’s house, and there’s a teeny, tiny (minuscule, really) chance that there’s been some sort of emergency over there, and, really, what kind of mother doesn’t answer the phone when all of her little chickadees are not sleeping soundly under her roof? 2. My son went to bed with a sore throat, which means I wanted him to get all the rest he could over the weekend, which means I didn’t want the phone to wake him up. (He is a teenage boy though, and he did take NyQuil before he went to bed, so the odds of a ringing phone waking him up are slimmer than the odds of my daughter being on the other end of said ringing phone.) 3. I can’t just let it ring. I know it’s my mom, and I’ve tried that tactic before, and guess what? She calls back. Every. Ten. Minutes.
I somehow manage to grab the phone before the second ring (not bad for a gal my age). It’s a lot of jibber jabber on her end, but I am able to decipher enough to give you a taste of what “a break from reality” really means. (Just a little explanation: The italicized words represent my thoughts; the quotes are actual dialogue, though, as you can see, I didn’t do very much talking.)
“Are you getting ready for school, Jane?”
Um, no, it’s SATURDAY!
“Are you often left alone with no bodyguards?”
Uh, considering I don’t have any bodyguards, it’s pretty safe to say that I am, indeed, often left alone without them.
“Where’s Melissa today?”
(Melissa is my daughter) “Um, she’s at a friend’s.”
“Oh no, without a bodyguard? We need to bring in Arnold Schwarzenegger to keep her safe.”
No comment on this one, folks.
"The world's an animalistic place, you know?"
Hmm…I guess in some ways she may be right about this one.
“Go down to your bomb shelter if you can to get away from the frogman.”
Is the frogman going to get me before or after the goblins?
“You’ve been in those mathematics books too long.”
Good one…I hate math!
“Are you feeling pallid today, Jane?”
I am now.
“How’s your algebra today?”
My algebra’s not so good, thank you for asking.
“I do calculus you know.”
I highly doubt it.
“Well, my darling, I’ll leave you in God’s hands now.”
That sounds a bit ominous for a Saturday morning, don’t you think?
“I’m glad I produced you but you’re really too wimpy to be left alone.”
“Over and out, Roger Wilco.”
Uh, who's Roger Wilco?
“I’m going to call Jeanne now.”
“Mother, no!” (Jeanne is her sister, my aunt, who was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s and who is, in fact, in a home, neither of which my mom knows anything about, which means my uncle, who has enough on his plate at the moment, thank you very much, is about to get an interesting call.)
The phone goes dead and the next day I get an email from my uncle asking if I could please speak to my mom. He doesn’t feel like he can keep telling her “Jeanne’s out.” He’s right, of course.
I contact my dad for advice. They’ve been divorced forever, but since he has the most experience with her illness he really is the only one who can help me here. Literally, people, I’m Princess Leia and he’s Obi Wan. He said, “Remember, Jane, she’s crazy, not stupid. Tell her the truth.”
So I resolved then and there to tell her the truth; well I resolved then and there to tell her the truth sometime this week, which means it will probably be the very last thing I do on Saturday. Wish me luck!