My schizophrenic aunt has been missing for two weeks. She was evicted from her apartment two weeks ago, and none of us were informed until two days ago. Evidently, she told the apartment complex she could no longer pay her rent and they supposedly dropped her off at a shelter. Yet, none of the shelters in our town have any record of her.
You may or may not know someone with schizophrenia or mental illness, but they can be very difficult to deal with. For a while she was in contact with the family and then began to go through rages and not wanting to speak to us. Her daughters haven’t heard from her in months and couldn’t get a hold of her. I talked to her one month ago to check up on her and our conversation was less than 2 minutes and she hung up on me because she didn’t believe what I was telling her. Prior to that, the only time I would hear from her personally, was when she would leave long incoherent messages on my voicemail. Her cousin, who has checked in with her monthly for years, called my mom sobbing two weeks after that because my aunt would not believe that she was who she said she was and became very violent. She can be horrible to deal with, unpredictable, and scary. She has been taken over by an illness that has stolen everything we knew and loved and cherished about her. She is a completely different person that the woman we grew up with. After years and years of trying to reason with her, get her to help herself, and monitor her behavior, we all had to come to a place of acceptance. People with schizophrenia don’t think clearly, obviously, so to get them to cooperate by taking their medication, keeping in touch, and taking care of themselves is mostly, impossible. Sometimes the best you can hope for is a check in. So you at least know they are where they are supposed to be and are still alive. Imagine that being what your biggest hope is for a family member? I know that we are not the only ones having to deal with tragedies like this and the mental health care system in the U.S. is absolutely shameful.
The worst part is that the government has given the mentally ill person all the rights, and the families and loved ones have none. She refused to give my mom power of attorney for medical care. So even when she is checked into a psyche unit, emergency room, or shelter, the only way we’ll know is if she wants us to know. Her phone isn’t always working and all of our numbers are stored in it. So, no phone, no numbers to get a hold of us. We have zero rights and zero resources to be able to get her the help she needs. The fact that the government would put a person who is not capable of making logical decisions on their own, charge of their own health care is mind boggling and absolutely devastating to the family members who are trying to help them. It is like watching a slow and excruciating horror film where you know the ending is not going to be a relief. Her 25 year old daughter who just started her dream job two days ago, told me yesterday that she feels that she is now at the point where she will get the call where she will have to identify her mom’s body. Her youngest daughter has just started college. Having an ill mother has changed their lives in innumerable ways and waiting for the other shoe to drop for years and years while having NO rights to help their mom has been devastating to say the least.
My aunt was hospitalized for I think the 4th time about a year ago because she was arrested for hitting her brother (whom she was living with) in the head with a water glass, my mom was told that the state would do absolutely nothing for her until she ran out of money. At the time she ends up broke, if she had the wherewithal to seek help, she would then need to apply for state support and then would begin to get the resources she needs. Just absolutely unbelievable. We are assuming that because she cannot pay her rent that she is now out of money. The sheriff’s department and the crisis center are now involved, but they won’t actively seek her. If they see her, they will pick her up and if we see her and she won’t willingly come with us, we can supposedly call them to take her against her will. Only at that point, now that she is homeless, broke, out of her mind, and missing, will we be able to begin to hopefully work within the system to get her what she needs. One can’t help but see the cruel irony in this.
Prayers for her safety first and foremost would be so deeply appreciated. Prayers that we find her quickly, and prayers for strength and peace for our family are needed.
And because I know that I have the kindest, most caring, followers in the blogging world, I know that I can count on those of you who pray.
Love & Blessings to You ~ April
We have some serious prayer warriors! One hour after posting prayer requests on FB, Twitter, and the blog, my aunt has been FOUND! Mom went to the spokane valley police dept. and a detective there worked on it for an hour with her. They tracked her down. She was taken to a shelter, then was non compliant so the city police took her to the hospital. She was there for an evaluation and then was moved to one of their psychiatric facilities called for further evaluation. They cannot tell us which facility, but someone will call when she is going to be released. Now that she is in the “system” and homeless, the state will intervene and she will hopefully get some support and they will let us get involved. Thank you so much for your prayers, you will never know how much it means to us. Blessings to all of you!