I always thought of myself as different Print
Written by Ally   
I have always thought of myself as "different". For many years I have blamed it on myself without putting the blame where it belonged; on my parents. It's hard to do, when as a child what you grow up are told what you are living with is "normal", when in reality it is only "usual" behaviour. Especially when in the extended family, aunts, uncles, cousins they all seem the same.
The true nature of what mental illness both my parents have I will never know. I only know about being a child growing up seeing them pop pills supplied by doctors and at various times being admitted to psychiatric hospitals. The feeling of never knowing what mood you would walk into, often scared to go home, living in a world of "when it was good it was wonderful, but when is was bad it was hellish". I dreamed of how I could live in my bedroom and never come out. I escaped into books. I escaped in my mind until they forced their way in.

One time when I did go to seek professional help, at the same clinic where their medical records were kept. I was advised that upon what I could tell them at that time, it was most likely they each had behavioural disorders. These disorders I was told were not dangerous, not even classified as a mental illness, but only effected their ability to have healthy relationships. (I would love to know how bad they considered dangerous to be!)

I went to this place, not only for me, but to get them to look closer at the games my parents played with these "so called professionals". They needed help, I needed help, but all was dismissed because there were no visible scars and I appeared well adjusted and what I told them was beyond what they wanted to believe. So again my lack of faith in the medical profession was reinforced.

As a survivor adult of growing up in a "madhouse" I use the internet to search for information. Here I feel safe and have learned a lot from various sites, support groups and articles. I have learned to accept that I did not cause their illness and I cannot cure their illness. Nevertheless, in one way or another I will have to live with their illness effecting my life, for the rest of my life.

Mental illness can kill a person as easily as a gun, the only difference is that the person remains on this earth. They are not alive, they merely exist and the destruction that follows them goes on for generation after generation unless the child has the ability to walk away (emotionally, spiritually and/or sometimes geographically) and to rebuild the damaged self.

My wish is for governments/professionals to understand that if they could break the cycle through the children, rather than turning a blind eye, then perhaps they could save the huge financial costs related to living with and around mental illness in a family. I see so many people in this instance trapped in a lifestyle filled with substance abuse, gambling abuse, living on "Social Security payments" rather than learning to take responsibility for themselves and progressing. They do not have dreams because survival and escape are the only reality they live with.