Having a childhood

This is one entry I’ve read over and over. This brave woman sharing her childhood experiences of having an alcoholic parent and a parent with mental illness. She herself suffers from mental illness, the symptoms began at age 12. She speaks with such candor and emotion about her family, herself and her hopes for the future. Her forgiveness of her parents, seeing them as “people” not as her “parents”.

Also, check out the rest of her blog; she writes extensively about what it’s like to live with mental illness. To medicate or not. Is psychiatry helpful or not? Is therapy helpful. Of course these speak to her own experiences but they are a good insight.

She lives in the U.K., which means she gets free mental health treatment when she needs it. It’s not perfect and is inadequate at times, but much better than the US where you have to be rich to get the mental health treatment you need. Everything is not a straight line, it’s not so straightforward, medication is good, to not medicate is dangerous, therapy is helpful, therapy is crap…, what to do when there’s an episode, to do a section hold or not, there are many nuances and options on choosing the best mental health care for yourself. A lot of states (or countries) take that choice away from you if they deem you too dangerous or unfit but once stabilized, you should be able to choose the kind of mental health care you want.

Especially with mental illness, it’s hard to put all of your shit out there. There’s still a taboo or element of shame attached to having or admitting you have a mental illness. All of your choices are questioned because of your mental state, though making poor choices and having a mental illness are not mutually exclusive.

The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive

I’ve probably said most of this before (have certainly talked about growing up before).  Ah well.

It’s now the general consensus of my family that I was probably born with bipolar disorder.  I’d tend to agree, but it’s difficult to say.  What’s normal for a child?  Aren’t all children singing, dancing, squealing pains in the arse?

In short, I was a brat.  An affectionate brat, hanging off my sister’s arms like a baby koala, but a brat nonetheless.  I alternated between being extremely hyperactive, “entertaining” and attention seeking, to put it mildly to being depressed, withdrawn and wailing.  I was rather clingy, in that I once scratched my sister’s face off for not kissing me before she left for school.  I took in all the strays of the neighbourhood.  I had hallucinations, and was afraid of the TV for a while.  There had been a night when it was in…

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