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Messages By: rhammett

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July 23, 2005, 2:15 am CDT

son with schizophrenia


As of this 22nd day of July 2005, I feel like I am living in tormented hell.  My son just celebrated his 20th birthday and has been suffering with a mentall illness since a diagnosis in October 2004.  In October, I received a phone call that my son was at his deceased grandmother’s house, and my son was very incoherent and threatening suicide. Her house is located in Alabama, I live in Georgia. I knew that I would not be able to handle my son since he is 6’2 and 275 lbs. My husband and brother went to him to try to calm him down.  I went to find an Alabama Judge to get committal papers since I didn’t know what else to do to try to save him.  The judge sent two deputies with me to rescue my son.  The deputies transported my son to an outpatient mental clinic in Alabama. 


The Alabama mental health clinic believed that my son was on drugs so they recommended that I send him to a rehabilitation clinic in Montgomery, Alabama.  Unfortunately, they were not able to take him until the following morning.  The Alabama outpatient clinic sent him home with me and my brother. 



The later in the day it became, the more my son exhibited bizarre and erratic behavior.  He was out of control.  He was hallucinating and talking out of his head about the devil and hell.  He even put his hand around my neck because he thought he saw foam spewing from my mouth. It scared me because I thought he was going to choke me.  I called the rehabilitation after-hours clinic many times to ask for advice but to no avail. Frantically, I called for other family members to come and help.  There were five family members trying to handle him.   Eventually, he walked out of the house and started knocking on my neighbor’s doors in the middle of the night and walking up and down the road with all of us in tow trying to get him to return to the house. Reluctantly, I had to call 911 for his safety and everyone else’s safety. 



It was difficult to convince the sheriff’s department in Georgia to do anything because they refused to recognize the legal papers from the Alabama judge.  Eventually, my son started acting bizarre again.  It was then that the deputies decided to take him to the emergency room for me.  My son was so out of control that it took five grown men to subdue him to give him sedation.  It was distressing for to me to watch them have to subdue him.  It broke my heart.



My son received a four-week treatment at a mental health hospital October – November 2004.    Bipolar manic/depressive disorder was the diagnosis given by the doctor.



When my son was released from the hospital, I brought him home with me, against my husband’s wishes.  The plan was for him to work with my husband part-time and go to a secondary school part-time to learn a trade.  He was very bitter to me because I had put him in the mental hospital. He treated me with disrespect and rudeness.  This plagued my husband even more. The four months that my son lived with us caused tremendous strain on my marriage.  But, I begged my husband to just bear with it for me. I felt I had to help my son in every way I could.  I had to have peace within myself so that I could lay my head down at night knowing that I did my very best.  Then on March 18, 2005, he just left without saying anything to me or my husband.  I was able to locate his girlfriend but she was very aloof. At that point, I decided to try to let go of "mother-henning" him.  However, on several occasions I tried to reach my son to see how he was doing, but he refused to return my calls. 



On May 7, 2005, at 9:15 a.m., I received a phone call from his cousin and aunt from his paternal side of the family which also lives in Alabama. They told me that my son was there at their house and was out of his mind.  He told them that he had killed his girlfriend and she was under the steps at his trailer. I asked them to please go and check and call me back as soon as possible. I was paralyzed with fear. His cousin did call back within about 30 minutes and informed me the girlfriend was okay.  They also informed me that my son was still at their house still acting bizarre.  I told them that if they couldn’t handle him that I certainly couldn’t.  I asked them to call the sheriff; I thought that if he was on drugs that he would dry out in a day or so. The next thing I knew was his cousin was putting him out in my driveway which was about an hour later.  I knew once I saw him that I was in for a rough ride.



We were having my husband’s birthday party that day with about 12 guests attending.  Everyone observed my son’s erratic behavior. I kept trying to encourage my son to take a shower and just try to take a nap. He refused or could not comprehend anything being said to him.  Reluctantly, each of my guests tried to calmly talk him into to eating or taking a nap.  Fortunately, everyone remained very calm, but we were very uneasy because we anticipated that this was a very volatile situation. 



Finally, he was persuaded to eat a bite or two of food coming off the grill. Then for no appearant reason he became very agitated.  He started talking about suicide and talking out of his mind.  It quickly became a very frightening situation.  Shockingly, the next thing he did was take a steak knife and start cutting on himself, up and down his chest, caressing the knife and talking to the knife.  Everyone became panic-stricken because we didn’t know what his next move would be.  We tried to convince him to give someone the knife, but that only made him more infuriated.  He commenced to get into my in-ground swimming pool with the knife while simultaneously ranting and raving at everyone.  At this point, I told him that if he didn’t give me the knife and get out of the swimming pool that I would be forced to call 911.  He just yelled for me to go ahead.  He wasn’t scared.  I begged him not to make me call the police.  I had no other choice.  I made the call to 911 and told them to please send an officer that my son had a knife and had been threatening suicide.  They advised me that help was on the way.



I went to the front yard to wait for the officers to arrive. While I was waiting, I heard a lot of commotion going on in the pool area.  I ran to back yard to discover that my husband was now in the pool with my son and he was irate. My son had taken the knife and started puncturing the vinyl in the bottom of the pool. He had punctured about 25 or 30 holes in the bottom of the pool.  My husband was trying to stop him then my son turned and slashed the side of the pool.  My husband’s anger quickly escalated out of control; especially, since he and I just put this swimming pool in last year with the majority of the work done by ourselves.   My husband picked up a wooden stick from the side of the flower bed to defend his self while simultaneously forcing my son up the steps and out of the pool.  I was running toward them as fast as I could so I could try to intervene and keep my husband or my son from getting hurt or worse.  I had never seen my husband so angry.  Moreover, I knew in my gut that if my husband were to have stricken him with the wooden stick, it would have intensified the situation with someone receiving an injury or worse. 



Without hesitation, I jumped in between my husband and my son while begging them to please stop.  At that instant, my son grabbed me by my neck and held the knife to me. My husband and friends were terrified that my son was going to kill me.  Everyone was pleading with my son not to hurt me. My son dragged me to the back door of the house. I was pleading with him not to hurt me. I kept asking him why, but he never responded.  I kept telling him how much I loved him, but as I looked into his eyes, I realized that there was nobody there.  He just had a blank and evil stare.  During all of this chaos, my friends had already called 911 again.  They expressed to 911 that the situation had become a matter or life or death for me.  As my son tried to pull me into the house, I told him that if he was going to kill me that he would do it with everyone watching. I was terrified and feared for my life. Suddenly, a rush of adrenaline overcame me which allowed me to escape from his grasp.  My son then barricaded himself in the house.



The sheriff’s department deputies were starting to arrive on the scene by this time.  There were at least eight deputies that had surrounded my house with their weapons drawn.  I could hear my son in the den talking to himself, but he refused to open the door for anyone.  I was frantic.  It felt as if I was in a nightmare and couldn’t wake up.  I was crying and begging the officers not to kill my baby.  I felt so powerless.  Fortunately, my husband found a spare key to the front door; this prevented the officers from breaking down my double glass doors.  Fully armed, the officers rushed the front door.  I could hear sounds of scuffling, and the officers yelling at him to get his hands behind his back and get down on the floor. 



The pain I felt in my soul was excruciating and unbearable.  Time was at a stand still. I was expecting the officers to bring him out the door in handcuffs. I was more shocked when the ambulance arrived.  I knew then that something was terribly wrong.  I was almost hysterical.  Subsequently one of the officers opened the door for the paramedics, affording the opportunity to force my way through the door to see what was happening with my son.  That image will haunt me for the rest of my life.  My son was lying on the floor in a huge puddle of blood.  He appeared to be dead.  I was traumatized and almost physically collapsed. 



One of the officers quickly approached me and informed me that they tazered him six times, with three of them being with a dry tazer. They elucidated that my son had stabbed himself in the chest and had almost bitten off his thumb completely.  The paramedics transported my son to the hospital and from there he went to jail.



This incident resulted in criminal charges against my son for aggravated assault and criminal damage to property.  My son remained in jail under a $30,000 bond for two months. During his tenure in jail, I visited weekly.  It anguished me to have to see my son in jail.



Many people ridiculed me and told me what a fool I was to go to the jail, most especially my husband.  My husband consistently forbade me to go, but I was compelled to go anyway. Even though my heart was crushed, I still wanted to reach out to help him. But my analytical thinking told me he must be accountable for his actions and suffer the consequences.  To this very day, my husband is still disconcerted by my son’s terrorist actions against me.  My husband says he will never forgive or forget the actions of my son that day.  I truly understand my husband's view point.  I know that my husband loves me and is only trying to protect me.



On July 7, 2005, I received a phone call from the jail stating that my son was in suicide watch.  I couldn’t take it any longer.  Against my husband’s wishes, I made bail for my son to await trial.  It was at that time, when I realized that my son was sicker than I had ever comprehended. 



On the same day that my son was released on bond, my family and I sought medical help from a local hospital as well as a psychiatrist from Atlanta. The doctor also stated that it had been in my son's best interest that I got him out of jail and sought medical treatment for him immediately.  The doctors quickly determined that my son was experiencing severe stages of schizophrenia that encompassed grossly disorganized thoughts, paranoia as well as displaying catatonic behavior. Thankfully, there were no drugs in his system.



My son is currently receiving medical attention at hospital for the mentally ill.  I don’t know how long he will be there.  The doctors informed me that he is at a great risk for suicide. Especially, when he is first released, and that he will need someone with him at all times until he stabilizes.  Additionally, to compound this whole horrific matter, I just discovered that he has a baby due October 8, 2005.  This is my first grandchild.



I humbly and respectfully addressed the district attorney with a request to dismiss criminal charges against my son contingent upon mandatory mental help for my son, so that he may have a chance at a prospering and productive life.  I don’t know what the outcome is at this juncture.



I would like some kind of advice of how to carry on with my own life.  I know my son is very sick.   Moreover, I am very scared of him when he is not in his right mind.  I am the first person that he lashes out against.  He believes that every time that he has come to me for help, I have had him constrained either by hospital or jail.  I only do this to protect him from his self and others in his path. I refuse to turn my back on him while he is sick, but I feel helpless because I don’t know what to do. 



As I mentioned, my husband is against anything that has to do with my son.  I reiterate that I do understand and respect my husband’s feelings which I have conveyed to him on numerous times. Nevertheless, my husband's verbal and mental abuse he inflicts upon me only magnifies the stress that I am enduring.  My husband threatens to leave me and refuses to put any money in the bank to pay bills.  He believes that this will ensure that none of his money will be spent on my son.



I love my husband, and I love my son with all of my heart and soul.  This is the most difficult position I have ever had to experience.  I am caught in the middle of this chaos between my husband and my son. This rips me apart, and makes me literally physically ill. If my son did this to himself by doing drugs, it would be much easier for me to step back, but that is not at all the case.  He is sick with this schizophrenia mental illness, and I just can’t turn my back on him.  I am his mother, and if he can’t count on me for help, who can he count on?



Please help.  My life is a disaster. I feel that I am on a railroad track watching the train come straight for me, but I can not get off the track.  I am under so much pressure that I know I am spiraling toward a disaster myself.  I have health problems myself, and I am concerned that all of this stress is going to make me have a meltdown or even possibly a heart attack.















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