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Alexandra Georgas: Blog

My Story

Posted on July 26, 2017 with 0 comments

When Mom first told me that Dad was in the Mafia, having an affair, and bugging our phones, I told myself it was true, although anxious doubts lived in my gut no matter how much I tried to force down the unreal truths. 

I was a tween; in-between the childhood years of accepting Mom’s word as gospel and the teen years of questioning her every word.  Mom had been loving, caring, giving and well-tended to me.  The thought that her mind was no longer working properly was one that I fought to keep out of my mind.

But over time, my thin denial bubble was popped after Mom’s delusions deepened and widened.  Her psychosis progressed as she was hearing voices, believing she had cancer and only months to live, and fantasies about a man she knew from high school playing music for her on the radio.  I could no longer deny that she was disturbed.  And as a result, so was I.

Mom divorced Dad, won me in the divorce, and I won the prize of losing my home and living in an apartment with a lady who had Mom’s face but was no longer her. 

I wanted her back.  My elaborate, teenage, emotional arguments were met with Mom slamming her bedroom door in my face.  After months of complete inefficacy, and watching Mom quit job after job because the people at each place “were trying to kill” her, I withdrew into my own world.  I became numb emotionally.  I had no energy to be upset anymore.  I got a job, made my own meals, got my own clothes, and just took care of myself as best as a kid can.

After three years of daily stress, denied feelings and emotional abandonment, Mom abandoned me physically.  She left me alone in the apartment.  Dad finally came through and had me move in with him literally on the day Mom disappeared.  I was freed and truly elated.

Mom called me a week later when she returned.  She had gone on vacation to Florida with her boyfriend.  Hadn’t even left a note, let alone any cash.  Mom had been such a present mother when I was a child.  But now, she didn’t even think to let her kid know she was leaving the state for a week.  That is the cloud of mental illness.  Thinking is severely impaired by a devastating and deluding brain disorder.

A month later, Mom overdosed on alcohol.  Three years later she attempted suicide twice, and, thankfully, was not successful.  The social worker at the mental health facility where she landed gave me the diagnosis: schizophrenia.  It took six years from obvious symptom onset before I knew what this thing was.  Six years of suffering for Mom and me.

Mom’s suicide attempts rattled me emotionally and intensified my fear for her well-being.  I cancelled a lot of my life in order to attempt to control her uncontrollable life.  While other girls were focused on boys and tending to their own interests, my Saturday days and nights consisted of taking Mother to wherever she wanted to go trying to meet her every need.  In attempt to give her a happy life, I denied my own.

At age 29 I finally saw that I needed healing.  I found an outstanding counsellor who helped me to separate emotionally from Mom.  I also grieved what I had lost when Mom changed, learned to express the emotions I had stuffed down under emotional concrete blocks, and gave myself permission to live my own life.  I let go of trying to fix and control Mom and her illness. 

Mom was living in a nursing home by this time and medication compliant, but would not leave that home without me as her escort.  After I stopped spending my weekends with her, Mom faced her fears and learned to get her needs met without me.  Cutting the emotional cord of fear freed both of us.

When I turned 38, I married a kind man who gave me the love I always desired.   And Mom was there at my wedding, being my mom, welcoming and celebrating her only daughter’s new love. 

Today, Mom is 80 years old.   She has not had any psychotic symptoms in several decades, although she does have limited ability to focus and avoids anything stressful in order to keep herself calm.  But overall, she is doing great. 

As part of my recovery, I learned as much as I could about schizophrenia, which further deepened my compassion for those with mental health disorders and their loved ones.  I now speak about the resources available from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) at a local hospital and teach the NAMI Family to Family class.  I also support and volunteer for several other mental health agencies, which help to provide housing for those with disabilities.   My goal is to use who I am and my journey to ease the journey of others, and leave this world a slightly better place.  Partnering together, we can and we will.


I was so honored to be among 1000 advocates that went to capital hill this past week and each met with our respective congressmen. I was part of the group from Illinois, and we spoke to aids for 2 senators, 1 aid for one rep, 3 actual reps, and left material with one more. Glad to be a voice for others.

Check it out on page 24.

 

West suburban living cover

 

west suburban living - inside_resized

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Three Great Books to Read (besides mine)

Posted on September 24, 2016 with 0 comments
I am reading everything I can find on Schizophrenia.  The following three books are my favorites - great info, easy to read, and helped me a lot in my own journey.
1. Clinical Handbook of Schizophrenia
This is the bible of Schizophrenia, but written so anyone can understand. Each chapter is written by different experts across the world and they cover everything you'd ever want to know about the illness.  It's worth the price and you won't be the same after reading it.  It changed me and I quote this book a lot in my book.
 

 Here's the link to where you can buy it on Amazon.com:
https://www.amazon.com/Clinical-Handbook-Schizophrenia-Kim-Mueser/dp/1609182375  
2. Growing Up with a Schizophrenic Mother, by Margaret J. Brown and Doris Parker Roberts
This book is amazing.  You will learn about how having a mom with the illness affects the kids.  I learned things I never knew, and how I was affected even more than I realized.  It has helped me know [...]
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Blog

Posted on July 28, 2016 with 0 comments
In the Fall of 2007 a friend of mine suggested I write a book about my life.  So I did.  Today, after many years of writing, enhancing, and editing, it arrived at my home in print.  My new baby is born.  It is the story of my life - how it was for me when my mom became sick from schizophrenia, and how I eventually learned to be healthy and have a healthy relationship with her.  Making my story known is pretty vulnerable, but worth it if it does help others.  It is my gift of love. 


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