Mental Illness Sucks

I was raised by a mother with bi-polar illness. She was unmedicated until she was about 50 years old, when I was part way through high school. So, during the formative years of my young life, I lived with a mother who was mentally unstable. That can do a number on a young person. Perhaps that’s part of why I have so few memories of my childhood.

I have memories of sitting in the family car, that had a habit of not wanting to start, with Mom telling us kids to “Think positive thoughts and the car will start.” Even at 6 or 7 years old, I knew that there was something mechanically wrong with the car, and it needed to be fixed.

There were several other times that Mom would say or do something that I knew was not right, or was wrong. But because she was my mother, I doubted myself. I learned to doubt my intuition, to not trust what I knew was true.

When Mom was manic (high), her perceptions about the world around her would skew, and she would often take out her ________ on me, verbally. Her tongue was a razor, slicing and dicing me from time to time. She would often feel that the world was out to get her, and things like that. For some reason, it was me that got the brunt of it all.

The first time she was hospitalized, she had reached a state of total delusion. The year before that was no picnic at home.

Since last mid-June, Mom was in a deep depression, due largely to my father’s poor health. He had lived with cancer for more than 20 years, with his health taking a real nosedive after falling and breaking a hip last spring. Mom had become the caretaker for her sick husband, having to curtail her always active social life. With Dad’s condition deteriorating, Mom’s depression became more firmly entrenched. No antidepressant medications seemed to be able to lift her up.

Two weeks ago, Dad died. Overnight, my Mom went from deeply depressed, into mania. Welcome back out of control, skewed perception, uber-bitch.

So, now my challenge is figuring out the buttons and triggers that are in me, that react to this mania. I need to ferret these things out and release them, for my own mental health. I am learning to honor and trust my intuition once again. And I must continue along the path of learning the lesson I chose to learn by entering into an agreement to be raised by a mentally ill mother.

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About mariner2mother

I'm a mother of a very spirited 14 year old son, and a former merchant ship's deck officer. To feed my creative side I take photos and make a very occasional batch of soap. I am also Reiki attuned and am a student of Energy Healing, having used several healing modalities to work on myself and my family.
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6 Responses to Mental Illness Sucks

  1. Lenore Diane says:

    Dang, M2M, mental illness does suck, as does the death of your Dad. I hope you are finding an inner strength to help carry you through this awful time. Have you ever read Deb’s blog – The Monster in my Closet? Her mother also battled mental illness.
    Deb writes with such transparency, and so many readers have found comfort through her words. I encourage you to snoop around her blog. I am certain you’ll find helpful gems.
    Ironically enough, Deb lost her mother two years ago. Her post today talks about it..
    http://deborah-bryan.com/2012/03/04/the-difference-in-two-years/

    • Thanks so much Lenore. It’s all a process, and because Dad’s death was so recent, the grieving has only just begun. I do know (from friends who know) that he is now in the light, and I am comforted by that. Thanks for the recommendation of Deb’s blog. I am definitely going to read it.

  2. I am so sorry you are dealing with this on top of just losing your dad. I agree with Lenore, Deb’s blog is fantastic and she writes about her mother’s illness with such love and grace. Please go check her out.

    I grew up with an extremely unbalanced mother, she was never officially diagnosed, but should be. She’s battled severe depression and anxiety since I was little and often took it out on us kids (me especially because I was the only girl) To this day my mom is the single biggest obstacle in my life, hands down. To put it bluntly, she was downright cruel and mean to me, emotionally my entire life. My dad’s death, although tragic because he was the only parent I considered a loving, supportive parent, was in some ways easier to handle than my mom’s ongoing mental illness. I certainly hope your mom gets some help soon.

    • Thanks Darla. Yet one more thing we have in common. Sorry. I’m working on a piece about Dad. It’s slow to come right now.

      My mom has been under the care of a psychiatrist since she was 29. Unfortunately, the one she had when we were young thought he could cure her with analysis. I am lucky that since she was put on meds back around 1980, she has been good about taking them. She’s only been hospitalized once since then when there was a mix up of her dose. But, I have learned that as she has gotten older, it gets more and more difficult to manage her illness. She’ll be months in depression and then swing up into mania with either a very short time of “normal” or none at all. And yes, she is under the care of a doctor and a counsellor. Even on meds, it’s no picnic. I’ve done some work on our relationship, and I oscillate between compassion and anger. It’s in process, especially because some of the memories are recently returned. Working on it all. The energy healing and methods along that line have been most helpful. Looking forward to the days where I hold more and more compassion.

  3. What a brave journey to undertake my friend. Know that you are seen and very much loved and supported while going through this. I believe in you!!!!!

    • Thanks Jeanie. Your love and support means a lot. And I need to remind myself to call on all sorts of support from the spiritual realm as well as from the natural world.

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