I thought it was my fault Print
Written by Kait   
I am so angry. I am tired of lies, and placations. I applaud you and your efforts to reach out to children of mentally ill individuals, and am saddened by my own country's refusal to acknowledge the needs of this group. If you have any knowledge of a US based group like yours, or even a suggestion of how to start one, please let me know!!!!
My own story is repeated time and again on the pages of your bulletin board, with minor variations here or there, but a recognizable thread that rings true to the marrow of my being. My mother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia when I was 4 years old, but I did not know this until years later. My younger sisters and I were told Mom was in the hospital for "back injuries". I was very lucky in that my father was around to try and shelter my sisters and I, but he worked long hours, and didn't like to be home. My mother was paranoid, and delusional, and for whatever reason believed I was "in on" her delusional fantasies of persecution. My earliest memories are colored by sharing my mother's world - the world of a young child alone with an ill parent - monsters under the bed are real, and the world is a dark and unsafe place. My mother would hide my stuffed toys, telling me they ran away because I was "bad" until I cried. She taught me to fear everything, trust no one - especially myself -and did the same to my younger sisters. The ironic part is that I had no idea that this was not real. My mother tortured me, frightened me, abused me, and I thought it was my fault. She was sly and manipulative, and only when she was most floridly psychotic did she get caught. My father either knew and turned a blind eye or didn't figure out what was happening, but either way he chose her well being over ours and stayed silent. I developed night terrors, school and social anxieties, facial tics and obsessive -compulsive disorder. My mother cut off my hair in a fit of rage, and fed my fears about insects, demons, contaminated food and God hating me. She told me that my sisters and I had been molested by relatives (a delusional fantasy of hers, covering up her own middle of the night "medical practices"). This was before I was 10. When I was 15, I found out the truth, that my mother was mentally ill, and had been for my whole life. At this point, she had had multiple hospitalizations and went through a five year period of very intense illness. My sisters were sent to stay with relatives and friends of the family. I was kept home from school to care for her, and was left alone when my aunt, her sister, left because my mother was so psychotic she "couldn't take it any more". I have sporadic memories of the three days before she was institutionalized. I became severely depressed myself, and begged to be hospitalized. My parents refused. The first time I attempted suicide, my mother sent me to school to "find someone who cares because I don't". That attempt began a long chain of self-mutilation and suicide attempts that lasted into my late 20's. Now, at 31, I have been in therapy most of my life. My arms are covered with easily over 200 scars from suicide attempts and self-abusive episodes. I am on medication for Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. For the first time, I am in a relationship that is not one sided, or abusive. By acknowledging my past, I have been able to make a kind of peace with it, and even with her. I am a social work student, re- enacting my own drama time and again by trying to save children the way I begged to be saved from my mother and her illness. My therapist once asked me what was the reason I would do such horrible things to myself and my body to cause the scars I have all over me. I thought of the movie "Sybil", where the little girl tells of how she would draw on the walls when her mother would lock her in the coal bin, just so one day, people would know she was there. For the rest of my life, no matter what lies my mother tells, I know I was here, and what happened to me was real.

Please let me know - I so want to be a part of your organization!! If there is anything here that you think someone would find helpful, feel free to use it as you see fit. Thank you so much for your work and for being a beacon in the darkness!!!