Sunday, 28 January 2018

Living With Mental Illness In The Family


It's a deep post today as I've been feeling nostalgic and have been listening to a lot of Linkin Park recently which has brought up a lot of emotions for me that never used to be associated with the band as much. They've always been one of my favourite bands as their music can be enjoyed no matter what mood you're in and they were a huge part of my childhood, helping me through some of the hardest times of my life. But ever since their lead singer Chester Bennington committed suicide last July, their music has become a hell of a lot more deep to me and has opened my eyes once again to just how dangerous depression really is. Even for someone who, to the outside world, had everything; a loving family, great friends, an amazing career, more money than he probably knew what to do with and was supposedly living the dream. As their song One More Light states 'Just 'cause you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there'.


This has been a difficult post to write, mainly because it isn't me myself that suffers from mental illness as such, but someone very close to me. I didn't want to make it an invasive and exposing post for her as I fully understand it's an incredibly personal thing to go through and it would be rude and unjust of me to talk about something that I am not experiencing. But the reason I wanted to write about it, is to share how it has affected me personally and to attempt to inspire people who suffer themselves or are living with family, friends or partners who suffer from mental illness to have faith that things will get better and you are loved. No matter how bad it gets, there will always be someone there for you; whether in person or online, you should never have to suffer alone. 
My family's story of mental illness began over 10 years ago when my ex-step father tore a huge hole in our lives. A man that was seemingly a good husband and a good step father, who to our dismay turned out to be the very opposite. I won't go into the gory details as it's very revealing, especially for my mum, and we have literally spent the last 10+ years trying to get over the damage he caused. What I will say is it was the worst thing that could have possibly happened to my family and life has never been quite the same since. It's crazy really when you think how much power we give people over our lives. To think a man that hasn't been involved in our lives for coming on 15 years now, still borderline controls us in our every day activities, yet has absolutely no idea and probably doesn't even remember us. It's ridiculous, but brutally real. 

A lot of bad stuff happened during the time my mum was married to this guy, most of which I have mentally blocked out to protect myself, but some that will forever scar my subconscious. As a young girl at the time, I didn't understand what was going on. I was oblivious to the damage that was being done and the impact it would have on me and my entire family later on in life. Fast forward to present time and it has become painfully obvious that not only have his past actions scarred my mum in ways nobody will ever be able to undo, but he has completely shattered my childhood, pushing me to have to grow up a lot sooner than most kids in order to take care of my mum and in turn has forced me to deal with feelings that I shouldn't have had to at a ripe age of 10. Myself and my mum have spent every day since then looking over our shoulder, hoping and praying that we'd never see him again, and trying to put life back together. And even now, that little thing called mental illness is hovering around and preventing us from truly moving on.


Now that I'm older and have a child of my own, I am able to look back on this experience and learn from it in so many ways. It's definitely left me with a lot of deep rooted issues that even now I'm working through - and as much as I hate admitting it as I never feel like I'm allowed to suffer since my mum was the person who took the brunt of it, I have struggled with depression and anxiety since, just not on the same level as her. However since I haven't ever voiced my feelings to my family, nobody has really ever noticed. Which is not anyone's fault, at all. I've always felt like it's too selfish to express my side of things when I've worked so hard to get on with my life as if he wasn't ever a part of it. But now that my son is in the world, I don't want to let the past control the present any longer which is why I'm letting this all out in one last hurrah before I move on. I want to create a positive and happy life for my baby boy where he doesn't have to go through such terrible events that will permanently damage him. As hard as it is to let go of those events that have controlled our life for so long, thanks to my partner and a lot of hours of talking things out, I now feel ready too and that's a huge thing for me. I can only hope the same thing will eventually happen for my mum.


So I guess the main thing I wanted to share whilst opening my soul up to people on the internet that don't know me or even care personally, is that no matter how helpless you may feel thanks to depression, anxiety, PTSD, whatever - as long as you are brave enough to tell someone about it, you are not alone. It can be the hardest thing you'll ever have to do, but it's worth it to have even just one person there for you - whether it's a friend, a family member, a stranger on the internet or a therapist. Keeping depression tucked away in the back of your mind is a dangerous game and far too many people have lost their lives thanks to it so I think it's imperative for anyone who suffers or knows someone who suffers, to speak out or be the shoulder that person needs to lean on and make a difference.

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6 comments

  1. This is an amazingly powerful post. It’s so strong of you to open up like that about your family. It’s absolutely true that nobody is ever alone and shouldn’t keep their depression to themselves. ❤️ Nobody should have to deal with that on their own!

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  2. This must have been so hard to do! We talk a lot in the blogging world about taking care of our own MH but it's rarely touched upon when it's someone close to us. You're so right though. No one is ever alone and should never feel like they are either. x

    Sophie www.glowsteady.co.uk

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  3. Loved this post, it's really powerful and amazing to hear your story. You're never alone, I completely agree! X

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  4. I totally understand how you're feeling about your mum, I can relate on a lot of ways. It feels like you've taken a page out of my diary. Thank you for sharing your struggles and also reminding me that there are so many people out there for are working hard to be mentally healthy and happy every single day!

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  5. I'm so sorry that you've had to go through something that sounds like its had such a huge negative effect on you! I'm glad that you have someone to share your problems with though- https://sophiehearts.net x

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  6. i’m so thankful you shared your story. Being there for others is max importance

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