MENTAL ILLNESS – a mother speaks

I’m crying as I write this.
This past Easter Sunday – visiting hours at Peachford Hospital. I am alone.
My son, 26, unshaven, shaking, in flip-flops and torn clothes he slept in, sits alone at a table, peeling a tangerine. He doesn’t eat it. He’s looking for poison. He doesn’t look up when I come in.
I brought an Easter basket. The front desk searched and transferred it to a brown paper bag. They searched me too, with a wand, made me leave all my possessions outside.

He looks in the bag. Little jokey things –  Super-Hero socks, origami paper, a journal with an ancient map with half-discovered territories and a book of word games.
He will lose or misplace it all, but I wanted him to have something. He smiles a little. Likes the Batman socks and the journal best. I try to talk. It is harder, MUCH harder, than communicating with him as a two-year-old. I call every night. Get a different attendant who never heard of him. Give his number&^*^x4. “He’s fine, just fine” they say.
Below: See how “just fine” he really is

HIM: I’ve been calculating the numbers of our birthdays, got a formula for exact date of my death: it will be next Tuesday. I’m working on yours.
Explain why I saw you on ADULT FRIEND FINDER – (sex site) I saw Dad’s girlfriend and xxxx’s mother too. I know what I saw and I’ll never trust you again.
Our cat, Gracie, is evil. She has bad juju.  Put her down immediately. Kill her
The government is a prostitution ring. My ex-girlfriend’s father is pimping her out.
Dad runs a girlfriend experience web site business
Breaks. Looks down. My grand daddy used to take me to the park,…bursts to baby tears, then jumps up, runs to refrigerator for a carton of milk.
Back again.
I want to stay here, not in the world that’s trying to kill everybody. I see those cameras over there. I want to be homeless. No. I want to die. I want to die. I want to die.

ME: You don’t want to die, you’re going to get better. Too many people love you. How would your sister and I feel? What would your grandmother, (who died two years ago) think?
She’d be glad to see me. I want to go to my heavenly home. He cries. He has never said “heavenly home.”

ME: Can I hold your hand? Please? Suspicious, he lets me. I’m here. I’ll always be here. You’re not going to die. You’re going to feel better. Please just take the medicine the dr. wants you to take, and you’ll see.
I haven’t seen any doctor. I’m not taking anything. He’s trying to kill me.

No he’s trying to help you. Jerks hand away. Slaps at me.  GET OUT OF HERE, NOW – NOW!!!
VISITING HOURS ARE OVER, MAM – Behind the desk – a 300 pound woman yells at me.
It tears my soul to leave. Yellow doors clang behind me, solid as the prison that this is.  I stand with my face against the cold metal.
“Help me!, God, please, somebody help me. I’m dying. Help Me.”
It’s him. Screaming. Behind the steel doors. And nobody helps.
I’m his mother and I can only stand, locked out. Then I’m gasping for air. Heart. Bursting. Crying. Lost in the winding halls. Can’t find anyone. I need help. I stagger into doors no idea how to get out, and no way to get back in.
I stop the first person I see. I need help I say.
“I’m in the middle of something. I’m late.”
I stand there, crying. “I can’t drive home like this.”
“I’ll find somebody. Stand right there.” Shuts a door.
I stand there for 45 minutes. Look at each of the 12 paintings of the 12 steps. one by one. on the wall. that’s just fine. yessir just peachy. i could recite all the steps and a dozen books on these. So what now? which step will get us out of here?
I slide down the wall, put my head in my hands. Not one person helps me or even seems to notice me. I’m invisible. good. that’s best. Excellent.
I run through the halls to find a red exit sign. I tear off my sticky VISITOR badge throw it away. Get in the car.
I fought years of my own depression. If I thought this place would help me, I’d check right in.
But they wouldn’t take me. They only stabilize people. I’m not suicidal or homocidal, haven’t committed a crime, so I don’t qualify.

Once these patients are “stabilized,” they will be dump them out on the sidewalk with all  their belongings and no where to go.
Treatment, real treatment, would cost mulitiple thousands, (we’ve been there, spent that) out of pocket. Treatment is a for-profit racket too. Insurance doesn’t call this an illness worth paying for. Neither does our government. The richest country in the world. But hey, you sure can get Viagra or Cialis.
If you find this appalling,  Go to
HOPEGeorgia Lee


About georgialeesays

Award-winning journalist, editor and writer of multiple genres. Former Bureau Chief, Womens Wear Daily and W magazine. Past director, Ivy Hall, The SCAD Atlanta writing center. Vice President, programming for Atlanta Writers Club. Freelance writer/editor of every subject in the known universe. Lover of clean, clear writing -"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book." - Nietzsche. I teach yoga, meditation, in retreat settings. Seeker of truth and transcendence. Reincarnation of Edgar Allen Poe. "Life is but a dream within a dream within a dream" Write. Create. Learn. Dance. Yoga. Sleep. Dream.
This entry was posted in Atlanta, BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD, caregivingelderly, corporate greed, DEPRESSION, Family, HELP, HOMOCIDE, HUMANA, MENTAL ILLNESS, NAMI, PEACHFORD HOSPITAL, REPUBLICANS, RIDGEVIEW, RONALD REGAN, SCHIZOPHRENIA, SUICIDE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to MENTAL ILLNESS – a mother speaks

  1. Benny Andrews says:

    Forwarded this to a couple of drug and alcohol abuser grown kids.

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Ed and Linda says:

    Georgia…how do we say we’re so sorry Miles, you, and Hannah are suffering through this. We wish there was a magic wand to wave a miracle cure for mental illness. This is unfamiliar territory for us, but are there any new therapies or treatment modalities out there that you can tap. I would even consider sending an email to “The Dr’s” TV show to ask for their support…Dr. Travis and his crew have helped a lot of folks. Let us know what we can do…we’ll be praying in the wings!


    • Eddie and Linda – It is almost impossible to deal with, considering costs already spent and and a patient who doesn’t want to take medicines and can’t be forced to as an adult. Also Miles is and always has been stubborn. He’s also brilliant, charming and hilarious when in his right mind. I appreciate your suggestions. I had never thought of that. As always, your prayers are welcomed. It’s a hard month for all of us, anniversaries of losing your mother and my dad.
      Take good care and let me know when you’ll be in town.
      Love you,


  3. berserkbird says:

    Georgia, my heart goes out to you and to your son. What a hard, hurting experience to go through. My mom suffered mental illness…the docs wanted to institutionalize her when I was little, but my dad didn’t do it. My sister and I have both been in therapy from abuse suffered at her hands. Mental illness is so awful. You are doing the best thing possible: emphasizing your love for your son. Wish I had helpful words of wisdom, but all I’ve got is kudos for your perseverance and courage.


  4. HappyApathy says:

    My mom was in a place like that. They just ‘keep’ you, they don’t do much else.

    It is appalling.

    It’s heart breaking and spirit crushing.

    Somehow we made it through. Partly. It was life long thing with her…at least the portion of her life when I knew her. All you can do is ‘be’ love. Be there and be love. All they see is love when they look at you, you hope. But you know there’s so much more that they see that is so painful.

    It’s an impossible situation that we somehow ride through. And we’re not immune. Some of it is in our blood too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That must be so hard with a parent, especially a mother. Sounds like you were there for her. My son rejects me most of the time – can’t face his own emotions, and I represent them I guess. It is spirit crushing. “in our blood” never escapes me. My whole paternal side of the family has had mental issues – including me – big-time depression. I’m not ashamed. I just wish the U.S. would wake up and provide the proper care. It’s an illness, not a choice!
    Thanks always, for reading.
    How’s the Sqlite going – I keep laughing about that.


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