Abby: Finding balance

“My mother needed more help than anything we could provide.”

Six months ago, Abby’s family received a call informing them that her mother, Mandy, had crashed her car. She drove her car into a tree and ran through the woods, getting scratched and bruised along the way. She was missing for a brief period of time and when found, was admitted to a psychiatric unit. Since that time, Mandy has been hospitalized on three different inpatient psychiatric units with short periods of time at home between hospitalizations.

Mandy initially received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in the 1990s. However, in her three recent hospitalizations she was given different diagnoses including bipolar disorder, an eating disorder, and severe depression with psychosis. Abby described the events following her mother’s car accident.

She ended up being in the ER. Her legs were swollen because she had been crouching all night, hiding from something, and she was so scratched up. Her face was scratched. It was really terrifying. She had no emotion. She pretty much looked like she was just a body. No emotion—no life there. She was in the ER and it was three days before a bed opened up. Finally, a bed opened up and then her kidneys weren’t in a good enough condition, because she hadn’t been eating or drinking prior to the accident for a couple of days. Then they couldn’t move her because they couldn’t put her on an IV in the mental health unit. Then that bed was no longer available. She was in the ER until another bed opened up.

Mandy believed the devil was chasing her in the woods. At times she believed she was the devil and at other times she believed her children were the devil.

More of the Story: Early Family Life