Mom, Mental Disabilities and Life

christina's world, wyeth

Is Schizophrenia a mental disability, or is it a psycho-social, emotive and cognitive response to trauma? I was taught to think of it in the latter terminology, and it has helped me get to a place of developing a compassionate criteria in getting to know my mother, who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer, and is refusing treatment. I really don’t know her, but everyone who looks at a photograph I have of her, smiles, and their smiles are genuine and warm–and they can’t get over how young and youthful she seems.

And in truth, she seems like a very wise child, with an orphan’s resiliancy and approach to life that has her three plus one daughters marvelling at her survival skills, even though those same survival skills seem at times excessively narcissitic and selfish, but someone, anyone of us, is able to assist her at some time in her many crisis events, mostly dealing with the electric bill or the phone bill.

My mom’s way of dealing with her recent diagnosis is to deny, deny, deny. And if that fails, stare malignantly at anybody trying to convince her that undergoing treatment will be a good thing. At the last resort, walk out of the doctor’s office in the middle of the consultation, feigning a bathroom break, and into the mall, and tell the youngest (who is actually the only hands on person in this event)-that she doesn’t want to talk about it-and threaten to walk away, embarrassing her in front of a few hundred folks.

My youngest sister is used to dealing with being embarrassed. She has a child who has been diagnosed with autism. She doesn’t like to talk about it, but at times has let it slip that she has to put her guard up dealing with the exuberant enthusiasm the child has for meeting strangers in public places, and the resulting awkwardness. (Yes, I know autistic children are supposed to be withdrawn and hard to communicate with–but you have to know my sister to understand how she might be able to draw this child out of her shell).

Through it all, I’m amazed at how the three of us have handled this latest event in our lives. The thing of it is, we three involved in the discussion on caring for my mom are not fighting, or rather, there are very short little snarkies that we don’t allow to get out of control. I feel that all of us in our own way are learning to rely on God, to see us and our mom through this. But we are not the only ones. As I speak, acquaintances of mine are undergoing or have just finished undergoing surgery for either cancer or back issues. The back issue is also intense–dealing with the fusing of some bones! My best friend, who was once my therapist, this past year, just survived two bouts of cancer. A priest’s wife I know recently gave birth to a beautiful baby, only to find out that her body is riddled with an aggressive form of cancer. It’s either cancer or back pain, or Parkinson’s or sumthin!!!!

Did I mention the God word? These days, practicing one’s Faith can become a liability, as I am currently experiencing now–on top of it all, I’m creating the HeartSoul Ekonomia Institute. But I realise that even this challenge to my desire to practice my Faith, is a form of chastening, and cleansing, and a way to deepen the Faith in God. Since I come from a background of being abused this harassment by my landlord,  is very difficult for me to bear–but today I saw some rainbows. And as I walked into an odds and ends antique store, I found an unopen cassette tape of Andre Segovia’s, my former classical guitar teacher Patricio Contrero’s former teacher. And I was able to get it for only $1.00. I guess the rainbows was a way that God was showing me that I’m not alone and I hope that my friends undergoing their private ‘cleansings’ recognize those moments where God is showing them that they are not alone, either.

Some of us have some risk management protection, and some of us did not–The financial burden of these trials will also tax our Faith in God, who exhorts us that we are more precious than the swallows, and yet not one swallow falls without His knowing. God is concerned with how we fall, whether we fall down on our knees in grace, or whether we become embittered and distrustful. It is easy for me to succomb to the latter state—however, I’m finally learning not to tread that path–that no matter what my risk management umbrella-whether I have a stash, a place, or insurance–nothing covers us as God does. In prayer, and supplication, we implore His mercy, and in response–He grants our deepest desires.

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow:  for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”.

Matt 6:34

The 17th of August is a national holiday in Guinea, Africa.  In 1977, It was the day where women,  who generate income from their homes by trading, selling at the market, and working small businesses from their homes,  successfully protested the market police in Guinea and laws there that prohibited private trade.

Slava Bogu.

© 2011, Xenia. All rights reserved.

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