That Frightful Night

I thought I was a normal kid.  I was a preacher’s kid to begin with so I had a mark set against me to start with, but other than that I thought I was normal until that night oh so many nights ago…..

I was ten years old and it was a cold, winter night, when all of a sudden I was awoken by a scream ripping through the air from my mom’s room’.  I didn’t know what was going on.  I was scared and on my feet before I knew it. . As I was wiping sleep from my eyes, I slowly made my way around the hallway to my mom’s room to see what was going on.  A little light came through the ajar door as  another scream ripped the night! I jump back and covered my mouth trying not to cry out myself.

I slowly open the door.  Mom in a flowing nightgown,  is kneeling in the middle of her bed, reaching out with her arms as if trying to protect herself and screaming at the top of her lungs: “Don’t let the Head and Hands get me!”: “They are going to get me!”: “Keep them from me” just to show a few.  She was so upset and not making any sense.  She was totally alone in the room.  There was no one trying to get her.  There were no floating heads or hands flying around the room.  Evening being 10, I could see that.  I was scared and I could not understand what was wrong with my mom.  It didn’t make any kind of logic.

I tried getting her to stop screaming, and of course that doesn’t happen. I finally called my grandparents and they told me to call 911 and they were on their way.  I tried not to cry and stay calm while still trying to get my mom to calm down herself until help came.  You know how on TV they used to show people going to the mental hospital as being taken by men in white coats. Well, I’m here to tell you that it was the case at least when I was a child.  My grandparents took me out of the house after I got a bag together, and the men in white coats took mom after they shot her with some kind of medication to calm her down.

Before I could see my mom, her doctor had to discuss a few things with me.  It turns out that my mom has the disease Manic Depression, but more importantly she suffers from another disease called schizophrenia that caused her to act the way that she did the other night at home.  She was seeing and hearing things that were not there called hallucinations.  He explained that my mother was fighting against demons in her head that only she could see and hear and that I was not to worry about them getting me because they were only after my mom.  This scared me because I understood demons from my dad and I didn’t want them after my mom, but the doctor said that he would fix mom.

Later I went to see her at the Meridian Mental Hospital in Mississippi.  She had undergone ECT, or Electric Shock Treatment, which is where they strap a person down, put electrodes on each temple, a plate in your mouth, and send a whole hell of a lot of electric current through a body to kill brain cells.  She didn’t even know I was her daughter.  She could barely speak to me and had no feeling in her at all.  It took everything in me not to cry or scream at her to wake her up and tell her, “I’m your daughter.”  I finally had to run from the room back to my grandparents arms.  I cried all the way home in Oxford.

After months, she came home, and after more months we went back to our house on Hillside and again we were alone together.  I  never quite felt safe anymore, but I couldn’t let her know that because it might send her into another fit and they may have to make her forget me again if that happened.

That’s the night that everything changed for me…..That’s the night that a scream ripped through the my life….

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