CC: Growing up I was always helping people whether it was taking care of children or helping my mom. She is schizophrenic and bipolar.
So what changed my life is when I went back to school and became a nurses assistant. Helping people is a better way of life. Everybody needs someone, sometimes.
BW: What was it like growing up with a mom who is mentally ill?
CC: She wasn’t always mentally there but she was physically there. She never disappeared on me or anything like that. She was just always getting ridiculed by guys on the street because she was talking to herself cause sometimes she’s not on her medication like she’s supposed to be. I used to worry about her like that. Sometimes schizophrenic people wander off. Sometimes she’d wander off but she never spent the night off.
BW: Were you ever embarrassed?
CC: Yeah, I was but I wasn’t embarrassed by her. I was just embarrassed because she wasn’t always at my meetings and practices. I was a cheerleader once and I just never felt that motherly support. So I felt some type of way about that. And my father, he was always gone so I never got a chance to experience the father daughter relationship so…it was just me and my mom trying to keep the family together. I have seven sisters and two brothers.
BW: Oh wow, so where do you fall in?
CC: I’m the last, the youngest. So everybody was out of the house doing their own thing while I stayed back at home trying to keep the pieces together.
BW: Do you still take care of your mom?
CC: She’s being independent. She’s taking her medications on time by herself. So she’s not having no outbreaks where she’s running in the streets, spitting at nobody, cursing at nobody, you know… doing anything that would draw attention to us or the house. It’s pretty cool now.