Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Archive for September 2016

Posted on: September 17, 2016

When my mother found out I was being treated for a mental illness, all those years ago, she cried for hours. She made some fairly insulting assumptions as to the cause of my problems (“Have you fallen out with one of your friends? Is this about some boy?”), threatened to try to force my doctor to breach confidentiality (“I’m your mother, I have a right to know the details”) and told me that I was ruining her life.

I was 19 years old, suicidally depressed, self-harming, pretty out of it on anti-psychotics, and had no fucking clue about how to get from one day to the next. And she made it about her. About her feelings, her opinions, and her curiosity. In the months and years that followed, she’d bring it up with a callousness I couldn’t believe was accidental. If I expressed an opinion she disagreed with, she’d tell me I was “going mental again”. Once, she casually asked, “do you remember when you were depressed?” in the middle of a family meal in a packed restaurant.

My mental health became yet another stick for her to beat me with. It became yet another way I’d let her down, and something she could hold over me, and bring up in any situation she pleased in order to silence or humiliate me. Maybe it was my punishment for refusing to give her the juicy details she wanted. Maybe it was my punishment for daring, for once in my life, to have feelings, to admit to having a problem, or for confiding at any level in someone outside the family.

I am not an emotionally open or expressive person. If you’ve read any of my blog you’ll be aware of this. People I have considered close friends have often referred to me, without malice, as unhuman and robotic. And, taking into account a number of factors, including the way medication and getting help in general made me feel and the way my mother had reacted, I decided to stop getting help and stop expressing any emotions in my day-to-day life. In making that decision, I closed myself off even further.

There are great black holes of emptiness inside me, where other people would have feelings.

Now, my mother is dying. Or at least, she says she is. To put this in perspective, she’s been saying that she’s dying for most of my life. It’s never happened yet, but it’s the kind of prediction that comes true eventually. And all she talks about is death. How she’s going to die in pain, how terrified she is of death, how this is the fault of everyone in her life, as if we all have magic wands that could cure her of her illness and we’re just refusing to wave them out of stubbornness.

And I feel very little. I’m struggling to come up with any kind of sympathy for her. When I was ill, I was expected to comfort her and look after her and apologise to her. Now she wants me to do the same because she’s ill. And I just can’t find it in me. I just can’t bring myself to hold her hand and dry her tears and listen to her problems. Not anymore.

She says I’m cold and unfeeling and heartless and cruel. I can’t bring myself to care.

There is a distant niggling worry that this is an attitude I’ll come to regret. That she will die and I will be overcome with grief and remorse and wish that I’d done everything she asked and agreed with her more.

But I feel that there is so little space in which I can exist. So much of my life is filled with her and her problems that I’ve had to make my own personality wafer-thin in order to just fit into the family. It just can’t be scraped away any more.

 

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Hello

My name is Laura. I was once told that I have cyclothymia. This blog is mostly where I write about living as a person with extremes and instability of mood, and the history of a life that led to the development of those symptoms.

I complain a lot, I'm very repetitive, unreliable, and I tend to contradict myself.

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