Have you ever wondered what causes mental illness?
I had a niece who I loved more than my life. She was the only thing that mattered to me. Seeing her from the day she was born and watching her grow up was a matter of pride and joy. Her first day of school, learning to swim, buying her first pair of real shoes, I was so happy. But she was remarkable. As she grew older I began to see her turning out to be someone worthy of the eyes of the entire world. I was so certain. Certain that she was someone who would change the world. She was so smart, reading well above her level, thinking clearly, reasoning, arguing her points, listening. She was an artist and a writer. She had ambition and drive. I loved her so much.
Haven’t you felt that? You look at a child and you feel you could fly to the moon and back for her.
Positive. Absolutely positive she would always love me. The sun revolves around the earth, that’s when her love for me would change.
Then one day, it felt like just one day, she turned into a drug addled loser. You’d think she had a 5th grade education, the way she put her reasoning together. Spouting nonsense, pointing her finger at me, at her Mom, and screaming that I was her ruin. Her Mom was the cause of all her failure. This family, the gov’t, her school….everyone but herself. She took off one day, hitch hiking with some homeless guy. To me it was agony. Not knowing if she was safe. Warm. Fed. Dry.
I made attempts to help her, including driving down to pick her up in a marathon 1000 mile turn around trip one January, when she claimed some drug dealer was going to kill her.
I sent money, clothes, camping equipment, once I put her up in a hotel room using my credit card and a lot of persuading because the hotel clerk didn’t want to rent her a room. But she was homeless and she had the flu.
Time after time, she’d use this family, her friendships to screw us all over. We were part of the system. The gov’t was praying chemicals from airplanes to keep everyone from sedated…seriously. She started getting weirder. And even more hostile and entitled.
It was just a whisper. Surely she would pass out of this ‘phase’. But how can you tell? How do you know it’s mental illness? Without a diagnosis, without help, all you can do is watch in horror as the child you loved turns into a monster. That’s what she’s become.
She came back in July and brought a guy here with her. She also brought us this old dog. Bella. I think enough of you know her sad story. I won’t go into it again. Bella is fine, well, getting better, thanks to a lot of you helping me here when I had the GoFundMe site up. I asked for help, not only for me, but for my struggling family and for this dog. She had dermatitis, tapeworm, impacted toenails, a broken tooth, matted fur and the sweetest smile you’ve ever seen. So, we got her to the vet. Got her medication for her skin, and all her other ills. Got her toes fixed up and she is getting her tooth fixed when she is a little healthier and able to handle dental work and can be put under anathesia.
This person she brought seemed very nice. Unlike the previous mentally ill homeless men she picked up somewhere and brought home for visits that lasted months, this guy, by comparison was an improvement. Scruffy, untidy, with a sad sad story of his mom doing meth all through his childhood. It was a terrible story but not his fault. I thought my niece had found a nice guy. Not rich, not smart, not working…in fact he said they were living in a shed on his mothers property, but he had a good heart. I thought.
She still wouldn’t talk to me. I was in the middle of treatment and sick as hell. She would leave a room if I came into it. Not a moment of sympathy, concern or one expression of love or compassion. Just hard looks and scorn.
And I wondered. Was it mental illness? Just because she turned against me doesn’t mean she’s sick. For whatever reason she has in her head, I’m the enemy.
She isn’t a kid anymore. She’s in her 20’s. so I have to respect that she has a right to make decisions about who she wants in her life. No matter how it feels to me. Besides, I really felt horrid. I was fighting a killer cancer, I’d just lost my kittens and then my dog. I was at my lowest point in my entire life. I couldn’t, really couldn’t care much if she liked me or not. It’s been going on for years now, this strange hatred she has for me and this family.
It still breaks my heart, what’s left of it to break.
However, now we come to the crux of the matter. They left under bad circumstances as usual. She could never just say goodbye. There has to be a big dramatic screaming match. My poor sister, it’s worse, obviously, for her. This is her child. The apple of her eye. Her darling girl. Off she went down the road, leaving us Bella and a lot of heartache. Again.
Now this loser she is dating has gone onto the page I posted, the GoFundMe page, and claimed that Bella was his dog from childhood. He even posted pictures of him and Bella together. It turns out the whole story of Bella being found by them at a Medford rest stop was a pack of lies. Lies we believed. The fact is that this person didn’t want to take care of his dog. His ‘drug addled mother’, his very words, couldn’t take care of his dog anymore. So he claims that we agreed to take Bella and care for her. That we knew all along she was his dog. We would have taken her,too. Even if he told the truth we would have offered her a home. He didn’t have to lie about her story.
We love dogs and we understand that they deserve a peaceful, loving home to grow old in. We would have taken her happily! Instead, they felt they needed to tell an elaborate lie to explain the terrible condition of Bella. To save their self image as good people, who care about animals. To bring a dog in her condition was confirmation to me that these two jerks LET her suffer. They let Bella reach that condition and came up north to sell their weed and thought ‘Why not take Bella and leave this old girl with your Mom and your Aunt? What a good joke. They’ll have to pay for everything and we can take our 1000’s of dollars and leave them with the vet bills! What a great, hilarious idea!’
So, mentally ill? I don’t care anymore. Both of them posted to that page, which posted to both Facebook and Twitter, comments that I knew Bella’s story all along and was using Bella to garner sympathy. A lot of my friends saw those comments.
My extended family saw them. Maybe some of you saw them. It’s devastating.
It’s so incredibly malicious. GoFundMe is a reputable and wonderful site. They contacted me and made veiled threats about using their site to raise money under false pretenses. Threats that there would be repercussions. Good lord! I spent my first afternoon back from my first vacation in 5 years trying to do damage control. I need to prove I’m sick? That Bella is sick? That we have vet bills? That I have ovarian cancer?
So I did that and they tried to encourage me to leave the site up, that one bad apple shouldn’t ruin it. They removed his comment from their site and, at my request, disabled my page. I have enough for bills. I paid the rent. I did my dream vacation to San Francisco. I’m going back to work in October. I’m going to be alright. So is Bella.
This is long…it’s late. Almost dawn and I haven’t slept yet but I suppose that this is exactly why I started writing here. It’s cathartic and necessary to get out from under my cares and worries. Share my sad stories and sometimes my happy news.
Write it out, get it out of your head. Sometimes, maybe get it out of your life.