Our Mother’s Journal of Eric’s Illness
May 7, 1996
Started hearing voices to kill himself. Kept secret-never told anyone. Eric heavy user of crack, marijuana and alcohol. Marijuana since age 10 or 12, crack for 5 years. Eric decided to go cold turkey three weeks before. Had an episode of explosive anger during a weekend party-took all weekend to calm down at Chuck and Shelia’s. All friends said he wasn’t same afterwards.
May 8-Was seeing bugs crawling on self that weren’t there. Mama nor I could convince Eric nothing was there. Eric insisted I take him to buy body lice medication. He just could not be convinced nothing was on his skin.
May 13-Eric went to woods and cut one of his wrists. He sneaked back into Mama’s house and called Carlette to come and take him to the doctor. She took him to Georgetown Hospital and they stitched up his wrist. Eric released to Carlette and he spent the night at her house. She called me to meet them at the mental health office in Georgetown the next day.
May 14-Eric saw a counselor and psychiatrist. He was sent to Columbia due to hearing command voices and family history. Depression was all I knew about Elbert Jr. He kept his true illness a secret. Carlette and I took him to Bryant. Admitting doctor told me Eric was too old to have schizophrenia-had to be drug or alcohol addiction.
May 28-Court hearing in Columbia. Eric released taking Haldol 5mg.
May 30-Appointment with Dr. in Kingstree. Eric still hearing voices to hang himself. Haldol dosage increased to 10mg.
June 4-Appointment in Kingstree. Eric still hearing the voices but can’t increase Haldol until next appointment June 13.
***Mental Health System-a revolving door. Doctors kept insisting Eric would be okay if he would cooperate.***
June 5-Eric goes to woods with leather belts to hang himself. Mama and Daddy find him in woods before anything happens. Called Kingstree and explained situation. Eric sent back to Columbia. Changed to Novane 15mg daily, given in hospital along with anti-depressant.
June 13-Hearing in Columbia. Doctor wants to keep Eric at least another week. Shows signs of depression, can’t sleep, won’t interact with fellow patients, won’t participate in therapy sessions. Eric gets angry, curses doctor and social worker.
June 13-20-Eric shows improvement. Participates in therapy sessions. Interacts with fellow patients and takes part in recreational activities. Tells doctors the voices are not bothering him. More conscious of his physical appearance.
***Eric smart enough to do what he has to do to get out.***
June 21-Eric released taking 10mg Novane daily and anti-depressant. He goes to Carlette’s and seems okay first night.
June 22-Eric has trouble with voices again. Carlette notices him wanting to withdraw from visitors and condition worsens during the day. Eric gets fidgety.
June 23-Carlette tries to force Eric to go to church. (Voices tell Eric not to go.) She agrees to take him to Mama’s at dinner time to stay. After dinner Eric rides with Feagan to take girlfriend home in Andrews. Feagan introduces Eric to her parents. Eric starts feeling paranoid and the voices tell him the Lamberts are going to kill him. Eric leaves out of the house. Feagan knows something is wrong by the look on Eric’s face. He follows Eric outside. Eric tells him the voices are bothering him and he wants to go back home. Feagan takes Eric home, but the voices keep telling Eric to kill himself before the Lamberts get him. Mama and I get back to her house from shopping about 6:30pm. Eric wants to know where his belts and stropping are. We ask why? He just wants to know where they are. We tell him we removed them to protect him. I ask why are you looking for belts. I need to get it over with before the Lamberts come to get me. Why are the Lamberts coming to get you Eric? Don’t know they just are. The voices are telling me that. I decided to take Eric home with me so we (Tony and I) could watch him closer. I ask Eric if he wanted to come home with me so the Lamberts couldn’t find him. Eric agreed to go-maybe it made him feel safer. I made up Felicia’s room and he slept next to my room Sunday night. Took medicine about an hour early due to voices bothering him.
June 24-Appointment in Kingstree to see Dr. and counselor. Medicine increased to 10mg twice daily. The doctor could not understand why dosage had been reduced from 15mg daily to 10 mg daily before Eric was released from hospital. Set up another appointment for June 26 to check dosage.
I notice Eric would not eat unless you told him. Upon getting home that day about 6 Eric started getting fidgety and paced the floor. He said voices were bothering him. He took an extra 5mg Novane and tried to lie down. At 9 I gave him the other 5mg dose. He said he did not rest too well that night.
June 25-Took Eric to Mama’s to stay while I worked. 10mg dosage of Novane due at 9am. Mama said Eric was pacing the floor for almost an hour after taking medicine but finally quieted down and stayed in his room all day. Mama had to keep telling him to eat during the day. I picked him up at 5:30. We ate supper. I told Eric he had to shower. He had not bathed since he came home. He paced the floor and all over the house from 6-7 trying to get away from the voices. I gave him his medicine at 8 and he slept in the living room floor on a pallet. He said the voices bothered him in Felicia’s room. He quieted down about 9pm. Tony nor I half slept-trying to listen for any noise. Called emergency line at Mental Health at 6:50pm-never got an answer.
June 26-Took Eric to Mama’s and warned her to watch for frantic pacing as a sign voices were bothering him bad. Called Mama at lunch to see how he was doing. He had a pacing spell about 10-10:30 but quieted down. I went to lunch. Took Eric for appointment at 4. Dr. increased medicine to 15mg twice daily. Met with counselor 4:30. She stressed to Eric to make sure he let us know if voices got worse. I told her I was exhausted and wanted to know why voices don’t bother Eric in hospital, but start as soon as he gets home. Eric confessed to both of us that the voices never stop. He just lies to the doctors in the hospital. My fear is Eric will hurt himself before we can get to him. Counselor told me the Kingstree office felt Columbia released Eric too soon. Eric looks awful-you can tell he isn’t sleeping. He says sleep is the only escape he gets from the voices. We got home and ate supper. Tony watched Eric while I went to Revco to get new prescription. Eric ate supper. Took his medicine and went to bed. Slept in living room floor again.
June 27-Dropped Eric off by Mama’s and went to work. Called Mama before I went to lunch. Eric was resting. About 3 Mama called-Eric couldn’t take the voices anymore-asked to call me to take him wherever he had to go. Called Mental Health in Kingstree told them I was bringing him in and to have paperwork ready when I got there. Left work and drove to Mama’s. Spoke with Jay who had spent the morning sitting with Eric. Jay said Eric’s voices were telling him Eugene and Daddy were going to kill him and bury him under the cement patio that was going to be poured so kill himself before they could. Eric stayed in bedroom and ask Jay to stay with him. Finally Eric told Jay the voices just would not stop so call me to take him wherever. Mama, Beth and I took him to Kingstree, the papers were readied after Eric talked with the counselor and Dr.
***4 days suffering with no medicine***
The police escorted him to Columbia. Eric told us later it was Monday before he ever got to see Dr. On July 4 Mama and I went to visit. He looked better, but no real improvement. Hearing was set for July 11. Case worker told me July 10 doctor would not release him yet-still depressed, no need to com.
July 13-We visited again. He acted glad to be given some spending money and cigarettes. He mentioned that nobody called him since he had been up there. Wanted to know why Carlette had not called. Wanted to know if I made arrangements to stop the child support payments-I decided to keep paying as long as I could scrape the money together. I didn’t want Kimberly to do without the little extra for the children. I knew it would be a year before we could file for disability for Eric. I decided to let his car insurance cancel in July but I did not mention it. We did not think he should be driving anything in his current state of mind. Mama and I asked him about the voices. He said they were not bothering him anymore, but I don’t believe him. He said they had to give him sleeping pills the last two nights so he could sleep. I still feel Eric is not telling the doctor everything. I think he will tell the doctor what he wants to hear, so he can get out of there. Which means he will last about a week and have to return. Eric wanted to know how long we were staying. (He asked the same thing last time.) I told him we would go when he was ready for us to go, just let us know. We only stayed about 3o minutes, he then seemed anxious for us to leave so he could lie down and nap. (I think the voices were bothering him.)
Mid July-The next time we visited Eric we could see improvement. He was more responsive actually starting conversations. He seemed like he was getting back to his old self.
End of July-Eric is almost like old self. Very little sign of illness. Seems more interested in not missing the activities on his schedule than visiting.
August 16-Eric released. Got off medication and went back to drinking and doing drugs. Went to stay with Sheila and Chuck in Andrews. Chuck was going to help Eric get a job at the plant where he worked. Plant refrigerated-should work for Eric not to get too hot. Eric is easy to overheat, can’t get in sun at all. Makes him feel like his skin is on fire. Eric goes to his first appointment with Dr. Gets a month’s supply of medication that should last to end of September. Chuck gets Eric hired. He works only two weeks. He quits because too cold. Can’t stand the cold. Bothers his sinuses. When time to refill medicine at end of September Eric announces he stopped taking it. Only took medication about three weeks after being released from hospital. Had gone back to drugs and alcohol. Chuck tried to get Eric on a new plant with him in Florence. He never gets hired. Went for an interview and over 50 people there-only two got interviewed.
First of October-Eric moves back in with Mama and Daddy. Sheila and Chuck can’t afford for him to stay with them. He goes back to work with Frank. Chris picks him up and they ride together. Eric spends his weekends at Sheila’s or Ken’s. Mama and Daddy don’t notice any change in Eric at first, but I don’t think they see him long enough to tell.
During October and November-Eric starts drinking again. Usually gone all weekend. No one knows where he goes. He has money for this, but never offers to pay his child support. Finally the first of December Mama lets me know Eric has been giving her money on Friday to keep for him and coming back during the night at 1:00am and 3:00am for $60 and $80. By Saturday or Sunday all money gone. I let Eric know he will have to pay his child support for December. I need every extra dime I have for Christmas. Won’t be much for anyone this year. Judging from amounts Eric is spending, pretty sure he is back on crack. He pays his support for the first two weeks of December. Gives me $260 to keep for Christmas shopping for the kids. That night, comes for $60 of it at 12:00am. But doesn’t come for any more. I know he is taking crack. We can tell by the way Eric acts he is starting to have problems again. He tells Carlette he is smoking marijuana and drinking to calm himself. Eric works with Chris the week of Christmas shingling a house while they are off from their regular job. The weekend before Christmas Eric tells me he is too sick to go shopping. (Found out later Eric was so high on crack he had to stay at Shawn’s the whole weekend before he could go back to Mama’s. He wasn’t sick but too high.) I did the shopping for him.
Eric decides to go cold turkey again the week after Christmas. They finish shingling. Two weeks later the voices start up again. Eric buys a new set of tires for his car, new rims.
January 4, 1997-The kids come from Florida the weekend after Christmas. Called Eric to make sure he was home. He had been asleep for 16 hours. Eric sits in the kitchen staring as the kids open their presents. I notice that blank hollow eyed stare he gets when he is hearing voices. Eric won’t tell them good bye. He goes to his room and then suddenly darts out the house, gets on his motorcycle and leaves. The kids pack up their toys and we all say good bye.
January 5-I go to Mama’s for Sunday dinner. I am worried about why Eric acted like he did. He has the radio blaring wide open. (Usual sign to drown out voices.) Mama tells me he has traded Dewey his motorcycle for a shot gun and a rifle. He had taken all the pictures of the children, his bible and put them away in the chest of drawers. He showed me his guns. What do you need those for? Protection when I move out by myself. Eric said he was going to get his own place and he did not want to stay alone without protection. He asked me if I would take him to Walmart after dinner to buy some bullets for the guns to target practice with. I did. When we got back he target practiced some and then came back in the house. He said well now I know what they (the guns) will do. Daddy asks him to make sure and lock his guns and ammo away so the smaller kids wouldn’t get to it. Then he started talking about a car that was slowing down in front of Daddy’s house for the last two nights keeping him awake. He thought they were going to steal something. That night when they came by, he would be ready for them! He would unload that gun in them! We all panicked. God what have I done letting him buy ammo. We explained-Public highway and you can’t shoot at people. Daddy explained-Deer crossing and people in neighborhood slow down so they won’t hit a deer. I explained-maybe driver is slowing down to turn in a lane or can’t see well. He seemed satisfied with our explanations. I went on home. Oblivious to everything else going on.
January 6– Mama calls at 2:30pm, might be a problem with Eric. He’s been sitting out in his car all day with his gun and he won’t get out. Please come and see if I can do anything. Went in and talked to Mama and Daddy before approaching Eric. Eric had not slept at all the previous two nights, kept lights on all night long, pacing floor. Mama and Daddy locked themselves in their bedroom. Eric went out that morning to target practice. Daddy didn’t think anything of it. About 12:00 Eric came from around the house to where Daddy was in garden. He was sweaty all over. Daddy asked what’s wrong, Eric said he was in his car, trying to sleep. Daddy went on gardening. Eric returned to car until Mama got home. I went to talk with Eric. What’s wrong Eric? Trying to get some sleep. Voices won’t leave me alone. Haven’t slept in two days and three nights, can’t work like this, tired of it. Been trying to figure everything out. How these voices are doing this to me, must have something of mine. Think I figured it out though. They tried to trick me into shooting myself, almost did, but figured it out. They must have something of mine, a shirt or something, give them to 12:00 to bring my stuff back to me, but nobody showed up. Gave them until 12:00 or I’m going to their ass this evening, going to take care of this shit once and for all. Whose voices are your hearing? Preacher Doug and Terry and I’m sick of this shit. Going to stop it once and for all. Let me show you what I mean. He handed me a dollar bill out of his wallet and told me to hold it for a while and I would see. I stood in silence looking at the dollar bill and noticing the loaded rifle and all the ammo in the seat beside him. Suddenly he said, did you hear that! No I said. I know you did hear that. No I don’t hear anything Eric. You’re just like all the rest.
Grandmamma and Granddaddy, you’re all a part of this. Y’all just lie to me. He took the dollar and put it back in his bill folder. I know y’all can hear the voices, y’all just lie to me. Eric give me the gun. No I need it for protection. Protection against what? The voices? Yes. Well has it kept the voices away today? No. Then what do you need it for? Protection. I feel safer with it. Eric you are just getting sick again. Let’s go to Dr. I’m never going back to that son of a bitch! What about the clinic? No! I’ll die first! They just dope me up. They don’t help. The medicine makes the voices worse. It never helped. That’s your fault Eric. You lie to the doctors about the voices going away. If you don’t tell them the truth they will never be able to help you. Well I’m never going back.
I went back in the house thinking Dear God what in the hell do I do now. I was afraid Eric might try to hurt Terry and Doug, God only knows what was going through his mind. Daddy went to ask Dewey to see if he would come over to try and talk Eric into giving him the guns. Dewey came, but he wouldn’t give up the gun. Eric went through the whole story again with Dewey, the voices, the possessions, the ultimatum, the dollar bill to see if he could hear them. Ultimately Eric then locked himself in the car, rolled up the windows and would only talk through the sun roof. Dewey left, saying how sorry he was, he had no idea Eric was that sick, he seemed to be so normal.
I called Kingstree Mental Health and asked them what to do. They instructed me to call the deputy sheriff’s office and have deputies sent out to force him out of the car. In about 30 minutes the two deputies arrived, and we filled them in on what was going on. When we told them what kind of gun Eric had, they did not want to go near the car. I went back over to the car to try and talk with Eric. He went berserk. He was thrashing around in the car, cussing up a storm. Said he would go to the morgue before he would go back to the clinic. We could not hear 95% of what he was saying. Only when he raised the sun roof, would we hear anything. The deputies retreated to the store down the road in case Eric decided to take off in the car. They told me they did not have the papers to take Eric by force. And there was nothing they could do until he decided to go willingly. I called the mental health place again. They seemed shocked by the deputies’ actions. They told me they would get a probate judge to sign papers and I could come and pick them up and take them to the deputy. Mama, Daddy and I all went to Kingstree, leaving Eric in the car by himself. I called Carlette before we left and warned her about what was going on and if Eric showed up not to let him in her house and to warn Doug. Stopped by the store to let the deputy know that we were going to get the papers. They were not too thrilled. They said they would circle the block to make sure he didn’t go anywhere. When we got to Kingstree the papers were ready, but they had misspelled my last name. The probate judge had to be called to correct the papers. It took about fifteen minutes for the judge to arrive and get the papers corrected. Daddy sat muttering to himself the whole time. I thought to myself, if he doesn’t shut up they may want to fill out a set of papers for him too!
Finally we were on our way back. Stopped at the store to give the deputies the papers. We planned for us to go back to the house and they would call Daddy’s house every ten minutes in hopes we still might be able to talk Eric into going willingly. When we got to the house, Eric wasn’t in the car. We unlocked the back door and went in. Eric was sitting in the living room with his gun. Daddy talked to Eric about putting the guns up since he was inside the house. Eric took his gun to his room, but would not put it down. Shawn came up to Daddy’s house and went to Eric’s room to talk to him. He tried to get Eric to go to his house to spend the night, but leave his gun. Eric would have no part of it. He wanted to go to Shawn’s, but he wanted to take his loaded gun with him. Shawn knew the deputies were at the store waiting. When Shawn could get nowhere with Eric, Daddy went to his room. Tried to talk him into putting the gun down, the more Daddy talked the more frustrated he got, until he ended up yelling at Eric to get out of his house if he could not listen to him. It took about fifteen minutes of this yelling back and forth between Eric and Daddy. I told Mama to please go and get Daddy out of the room before he pushed Eric to the point of shooting him. By this time Daddy was threatening Eric to cut his behind. Mama got Daddy to leave the bedroom. Daddy was so frustrated he continued ranting and raving about how he would beat those guns to pieces when he got his hands on them. Before we went to Kingstree Daddy hid Eric’s shotgun where he could not find it. Daddy tried to convince Eric that Eric had given him the gun. Eric did not buy that for a minute. Plus when Eric heard Daddy ranting about beating the guns to pieces, he absolutely refused to give them up. Then Daddy tried to convince Eric he had not said he would beat up the guns. Daddy doesn’t realize he is so hard of hearing that you could have heard him outside the house. All this just made Eric distrust anything Daddy said. Eric knew Daddy was lying to him. Shawn continued to try to get him to give up the gun. Trying to get Eric to see that he needed to go back to the hospital because the way he was acting wasn’t normal. Eric still felt he needed his guns for protection and would not part with it. The deputies kept calling to see if we made any progress. Finally Shawn talked Eric into unloading the rifle but he would not put it back on the gun rack. There was no way to get enough space between Eric, the gun and the ammo that the deputies could get control of him. He would have enough time to reload the gun and probably shoot them before they could get to him. I knew there was no way the three of us could hold Eric.
Finally about 9:00 the deputies suggested we leave Eric in the house by himself for the night. Mama and Daddy would spend the night with me. We would all meet back at the store at 8:00 the next morning. The deputies were hoping Eric would fall asleep, Daddy could let them in the house the next morning and they could get to Eric before he woke up. They also let me know the papers were only good for twenty four hours and to have someone with a strong enough stomach.
Shawn left for his house, and Mama and Daddy came home with me. Before we went to bed Mama announced she and Daddy would go back to the house at 5:30 the next morning. The cops won’t be there until 8. Well they had to be there because Chris was coming to pick up Eric for work. Carlette called me before we went to bed. She said Eric had been on the phone with her while we were in Kingstree. He was trying to figure out where we went.
January 7-Sure enough at 5:30 they were on their way home. I told Tony, let’s get dressed and get over there. God only knows what will happen! Or what they’ll find. When we got to Daddy’s, Mama was cooking breakfast. Daddy was relighting the pilot lights on his gas heaters. Eric outed them. He locked himself in his room. About 6:30 Chris came to pick Eric up for work. We sat around and talked. Tony decided to stay outside. He knew if Eric saw him, he would know he was there to get control of him. Chris said they had not noticed Eric having any problems at work until the last day they worked the previous week. Eric told Chris when Terry shook his hand it did something to him. Chris told him that was nonsense. He did not know how serious Eric was about this. Mama finished breakfast and we ate. I went to Eric’s room and knocked on the door, Eric Mama has breakfast ready, do you want something to eat? I knocked again. He answered yeah! It took him a few minutes to move something from the door and open it. He came down the hall and started warming by the heater. He said he would eat in a few minutes. He kept pacing in front the heater keeping an eye on us all. After about ten minutes I asked Eric if he thought any more about going back to the hospital. No! he said. I ain’t going. Then the phone rang. It was the deputies. They were pissed because we were in the house. I told them I had no choice since Mama and Daddy insisted on going back home at 5:30 that morning. I was at the back door where Eric could only see a small part of me. The deputy wanted to know where the gun was. In the room on the floor but close enough Eric can get to it before they can get to him. Door had been bombarded, they could not have gotten in the bedroom anyway. The deputy said for Tony to get between Eric and the bedroom and just keep him from getting back to the bedroom until they could get there, they would call back in 10 minutes. I opened the back door a little and motioned to Tony to come. While standing on the steps out of sight I whispered to Tony the deputies want us between Eric and the bedroom. Tony eased on in the kitchen, I went ahead of him. Eric didn’t notice at first. I was able to get beside Eric and almost behind him and he spotted Tony. He started to lurch toward the bedroom, I grabbed him around the waist and Tony grabbed him around the neck and down to the floor we went. Daddy and Chris jumped in to help. Eric still was able to make it to the bedroom door. I held on to a leg, Daddy a leg, Chris an arm and Tony on top pinning Eric to the floor. I yelled for Mama to call the deputies to get here as soon as possible. We can’t hold him for long. He was thrashing around. He had the strength of an elephant. Chris and I kept telling him this was for his own good. He told Chris he would never forgive him. He told me the same thing. He told Tony he figured that was what he was there for. The deputies finally arrived and they took over. Eric calmed down without any more resistance. We gave the deputies the guns and the shells. I told them I did not care what they did with them, just get them out of my Dad’s house. Reluctantly they took them.
January 8-Eric was transported to Kingstree to see Dr. I called to let them know he was on his way. About 30 minutes later they called to let me know Eric would be sent to hospital in Columbia. The rest of the day we tried to rest, not too successfully. Just could not sleep, but at least no one got shot. Thank God for that. Tony felt awful about what we had to do. But the alternative was let the deputies come in, the bedroom door was bombarded and locked, I know Eric would have panicked and probably shot them. I know Eric will never forgive us, but I can live with that easier than living with the guilt of letting innocent people get killed. Eric called Daddy constantly every day wanting to know if his guns were okay. If we could get them back. He did not know what was wrong with all of us. He did not point the guns at anyone. He refused to take any medications.
Saturday I took his clothes to the lodge. I did not visit. I did not want to start what might lead to any kind of argument. He got mad because I did not bring any spending money or cigarettes. I spent all my extra money for the month of January to pay six weeks of child support he owed. The other patients would hound you to death for cigarettes anyway. When he was in the hospital before they would smoke a carton in two to three days. I just could not afford it. He had forty dollars with him when he checked in. That would last a while. Eric kept calling Daddy, Carlette and me for about a week wanting to know if we got his guns back. I finally told him the cost of the guns could come off what he owed me for paying his child support. He did not mention the guns to me anymore.
Eric’s social worker called me two days later. His hearing was set for January 22. I let her know to look for housing for Eric. I called the social worker after Eric had been there over a week. She said they could not do anything with him. He refused their work release program, refused his medicine, had tried to escape and fell off the building roof. They could not do anything with him.
January 22-Hearing. Eric looked awful-drugged the night before due to agitation and not sleeping. Had to be continuously woke during the hearing. Dr. wanted to release Eric. I refused to take custody and called the rest of the family to ask them not to either. Tried to let all family know how bad Eric was. Eric kept calling people to see if they would take custody of him. He cussed me out after the hearing and said he wished he had shot me. He called Sheila and ranted and raved until she was too scared to get him out. Everyone got to the point that in Eric’s hostile condition no one was willing to take a chance by taking custody of him.
About a week later Eric let Mama know that he struck a nurse trying to give him a shot. The nurse brought charges against him. About a week later, social worker called me at work to let me know Eric would be transported to Richland County Jail the following morning. Called me at 9am the next morning to let me know he had been picked up. Game me a Lieutenant’s name and number (no answer) and told me to have a nice day. I called the jail that night and got information: Bond $376 or $800 security and got directions to jail. They told me he would stay in jail until his hearing if bail wasn’t paid. I decided to leave him in jail because it wasn’t safe to bring him home. He stayed in jail being moved from one area to another, sent to Richland County Mental Health for change in medication twice and finally taken off all medications two weeks before release on March 11.
March 11-I was on vacation that day to take Tony to Georgetown to get his driver’s license renewed. Paid Eric’s child support, got home after 12:00. Took Felicia shopping for shoes. Went to Florence, then Waccamaw Pottery, got home about 8:30pm. Carlette called, said Eric had been trying to reach us all afternoon. He had his hearing and was released. If no one came for him the jail would take him uptown in Columbia and put him out on the street at 9pm after shelters had closed. We called the jail and told them we were coming and would they please let him stay there until we got there. Me, Carlette and Felicia went to get Eric. We got home at 2:00am.
March 12-I called in at work and took another day off. Called Mental Health in Kingstree and took Eric to see Dr. Eric wanted something to help him sleep at night. Dr. prescribed 10mg Haldol and 2mg Atavan(sleep). After about a week Eric started showing signs of muscle spasms and facial paralysis. His next appointment was March 26. On March 17 went to Dr. for Haldol side effects. Added 2mg Cogentan and in two doses muscle spasms and facial paralysis and voice paralysis disappeared. Kept off all caffeine. Cut back on smoking. On March 26 visit he was sleeping 16-18 hours a day. Dr. kept all medicine same. Noises drove him up the wall. Especially repetitive noises.
Eric went back to work first week in April. April 2-3 worked with Chris shingling a house.
Started back with Frank April 5-7. On April 7 Eric said crew was getting on his nerves. Extra noise and voices. April 8 Eric told Dr. he was sleepy in the morning and was having trouble waking up at work. Dr. reduced Atavan to 1mg pill but kept Haldol and Cogenton same.
April 9-10-Eric worked only 4 and 5 hours. Chris had to bring him home. He had fell apart. Was shaking all over. Took Atavan to calm down and go to sleep. Could not go to work April 11.
April 12-13-Spent weekend at Sheila and Chucks. Later found out got drunk that weekend.
April 14-15-Could not go to work.
April 16-17-Worked partial days to pay Frank for shorted hours of previous weeks check. . Was getting more depressed as each day passed that he couldn’t work all day. Appetite fell off. Wasn’t sleeping as well. Children were down from Florida. Had car trouble could not go back. Picked kids up April 17 for visit after work. Everything seemed okay. Noise bothered Eric. He kept leaving the room. Made appointment for Eric to see Dr. on April 18. Tried to get him there April 16 or 17 but he wanted to wait until their day off.
I took children home after an hour visit. When I got back Tony on porch waiting. We got to call 911, Eric took all his sleeping pills(23). I decided to just get in car and rush him to hospital. They pumped his stomach, and filled his stomach with charcoal. ER Dr. cussing mad and irate. Said she had never seen such a mixture of medications. Wanted to know what his diagnosis was. Said it was unethical for psychiatrists to prescribe sleeping pills for mentally ill patients like Eric without supervision in a hospital. He had to stay overnight for them to monitor his heart in ICU. I stayed until 9:00 last visit. They got him settled and he went to sleep.
April 18-I called Wes to take a day of vacation. Went back to hospital at 10. Visiting hours started at 11. Dr. and psychiatrist had to see Eric before his release. ER Dr. had already come by. Waited all day. Screening counselor came by about 5:30. I called Kingstree Mental Health at 8:30am to let them know what happened. Chris came by to pick him up for the Dr. appointment and I let him know what happened. He said Eric had been talking about suicide for four days. Then I remembered on April 16 Eric wanted to know if cremation was cheaper than a regular funeral. I should have seen it coming. As soon as Eric had taken the pills he went to Tony’s shop to let him know. He told Tony he loved him and wanted to share a secret with him to keep forever. He had taken 23 sleeping pills and was going to go back in the house and go to sleep. This would take care of everything once and for all he said. Tony told him he was crazy if he thought he would keep such a secret, to get in the house and make himself throw up. Eric tried to gag himself but could not get anything up. By then I was home.
When screening counselor came by at 5:30 we went over Eric’s history. She then talked to psychiatrist. She had already talked to Eric and could tell he was hearing voices. Psychiatrist made decision to send Eric back to hospital if I would sign papers. Medical Dr. filled out the detail paperwork and also argued that Eric needed to be re-evaluated at Bryant. Said Eric was too young for a medication not to work. Counselor and I and a nurse went in to break the news to Eric with the deputies behind us. He accepted the decision, dressed and went with no problem. I told him I would bring clothes, cigarettes the next day.
April 19-Took Eric’s clothes to Columbia. He called at 10am to see if I was coming. Mama and I got there about 3. Eric could only stand a five minute visit. The noise in the lodge bothered him. He had trouble communicating for the five minutes.
I wish they could put him in a quiet room by himself. He had not seen a Dr. since admission. He was taking 10mg Haldol, 2mg Cogenton and nothing to sleep. I told him I would see him the next Saturday, April 26.
April 24-Released; April 25-Dr. apt in Kingstee; April 29-switched to Georgetown; May 6-apt in Georgetown; May 12-Couseling apt; May 19-Counseling apt; May 20-Dr. apt
May 30-Eric went out with friends.
June 2-Canceled counseling apt
June 16-Dr and counseling apts. Wanted Dr. to sign paper to get guns back. Dr. refused. Eric got mad, would not stay for counseling.
July 14-Late for apt, Dr. left for lunch. Rescheduled for July 28.
Eric not sleeping well all week. Smoking pot every day after work!
July 17-Came home from work agitated. Bothered all day at work. No sleep all night, no sleep July 18 day or night, no sleep July 19 day or night, no sleep July 20; slept about 4 hours Sunday night. Did not eat, bathe, change clothes from Thursday – Sunday. Paced and drank liquids.
July 21-Pacing started at 3:30pm and all night. Went to sleep about 6am July 22.
July 22-Went to Dr. office 8:30, signed papers to bring Eric to Dr. He slept until noon. Showered. Deputies picked up 2:30. Dr. gave Eric new medicine. Deputies followed us home. Eric moved out to Ken’s (paced all night).
July 24-Eric did not show up for Dr. apt. Called Dr. and said medicine made no difference.
July 25-Eric beat up auto with hammer. Called sheriff; Eric threatened sheriff.
July 28-Ken took day off to help Eric look for a place. Eric refused to go. Ken went to Kingstree and had papers signed to have deputies pick up Eric and take him to Bryant.
July 29-Social worker called to say Eric not psychotic, can’t keep at Bryant. Eric won’t admit he has a drug problem so can’t sent to drug rehab. Dr. will probably release.
July 30-Social worker called. Eric to be put on bus August 1 to Georgetown at 2:30 from Columbia. Change buses in Myrtle Beach. Arrives in Georgetown 6:55pm. Eric will be given $100 of his money. Balance to be mailed to me. Apt at noon on August 5 at Mental Health.
Tony refused for Eric to move back in with us.
August 3-Eric calls at 4:15am. Wants to know if I’ll come pick him up at McDonalds and take him to Ken’s to get his motorcycle. I said no-he starts cussing-I hang up phone. Said he stayed in a motel Friday night, August 1. Stayed under a bridge the next night. Eric walked home from Georgetown (35 miles) to Ken’s house (had no shoes). Spent night at Ken’s.
August 4-Mama took Eric to town to get insurance on motorcycle and to Georgetown for taxes, but tax office closed. Spent night at Daddy’s. Up all night, 11:00 ask Mama to take him to WalMart to buy bullets.
August 5-Eric made weapons during the night. Took rifle out of closet. Daddy asks Eric to leave. Eric refused, threatened Daddy. Daddy called deputies to remove Eric. They took him to Coachman. Terry and Shawn took Eric’s motorcycle to Coachman.
August 6-Eric returned to Daddy’s with cops following him. They arrested him for DUS and failure to stop for blue light and returning to Daddy’s.
August 26-Eric’s hearing date at 5:30. Eric sentenced. Spent almost one year in jail. (I would not pay his bail). Caused a riot in jail. He had to be put in solitaire and away from all other prisoners.
May 1998-When it came time for his release, no one in the family would take custody. Carlette talked with Eric and decided to let him stay with her and Terry.
The judge talked with Carlette to make sure she understood the danger and responsibility. She thought she could handle it. Eric had appointment in Kingstree Mental Health. Agreed to take Haldol shots once a month. Eric stayed with Carlette. After a couple of days she could tell the children got on his nerves. She thought a separate room in their shop would be best for him, quiet and peaceful away from the kids.
Carlette never seemed to understand that Eric could not be left alone. You never knew what the voices in his head were saying or telling him to do.
Eric got his monthly shot. Came with Carlette to Blake’s baseball game. Me, Felicia, Carlette and he sat together and watched the game and talked a little. Eric did not have much to say, but he did talk a little I thought, maybe he is going to be alright this time.
Eric was going to help Carlette in her iron work shop. He got an early start getting things together for the day’s work. Carlette took Blake to school and spent some time talking with Blake’s teacher. She was only gone 30 minutes to an hour.
Carlette’s in laws were having their morning breakfast and coffee. Her father in law got up to stretch his legs and take a look outside. Horrified he saw Eric hanging in their oak tree. He and Emma called 911 and ran to him. Held him up from the legs to get pressure off his neck until rescue squad arrived.
Eric was revived and sent to hospital trauma unit. Pronounced 50% brain dead.