I thought it was my fault Print E-mail
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!!!

Jarvis Walker     Arlec

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Featured Articles

The 'Forgotten People'

by Anna Malbon from the Progress Press October 22, 1996

WHEN nine-year-old "Tom" was asked to draw a picture of himself with his mother be drew her trying to strangle him.

Tom entered the world of adults too early. If he was ever immune to the complications and pain of life that adults try to shelter from children, he says he can't remember.

Bulletin Board

I had to struggle extra hard

Her doctors did not bother to enquire about my father and I.

They only listened to her stories ”

“ I grew up thinking - Nobody wanted to help. Nobody wanted to know.”

Hi, I had a mentally ill mother. She passed away last year. I literally grew up hanging around mental hospitals because my Mom's condition was a cycle that always ends in a mental hospital. When I was younger, there was a long period when I cried my eyes out every time I was separated from my mentally ill mother because she had to stay in a mental hospital. After I grew older, my Mom's mental illness became impossible for me to bear.

Literally, my Mom's mental illness ruined my life. I think. I had to struggle extra hard for everything because of my big handicap at home. There was no support at all from anyone other than my father. Nobody else wanted to know about it. My mother's own cousin even said to my father not to bring my Mom to their place. I grew up thinking - Nobody wanted to help. Nobody wanted to know. My mother's own sister has been complaining since 2000 and her last complain was on 5 July 2014. This particular aunt keeps complaining about the same thing. That she had to take my Mom for her weekly injections and complained that my father and I was not around to do it. Then, she goes on to say that she saw my Mom beat me up with a cane. When she said that, I asked my Aunt, you saw my Mom beat me up with a cane? She said yes and than, she walked away.

I feel very sore with this aunt. Number one, the period she was complaining about was when I was still schooling and my father's and my mental health had deteriorated so badly that we had to leave the state for our own sanity. Before joining my father, I had to live alone with my Mom and my baby sister for almost a year. My aunt who lived a few minutes drive away did nothing when my Mom beat me up every day for months until my father managed to cut the red tape to remove me. My body was full of bruises and I was terrified to go home after school. Nobody helped. Not the neighbours who can hear all my mom's shouting at me, nor my aunt, nor my grandparents, nor my school's teachers. Someone should had intervened for a 12+ little girl. No adult helped. My father was trying his best to get me away to stay with him. Nobody helped him.

On XXXXXXXXXXXX, my Mom's sister let slip she saw my Mom beat me with a cane. And yet she did nothing! My aunt even had the cheek to say that my Mom beat me up because I said I wanted to go live with my father. The way my aunt said it was like the beatings were wholly my fault. What is wrong with the picture? You have a 12+ girl being beaten up daily, you are an aunt who knows something is going on and did nothing. Yet for years later you complain about having to take your own blood sister for her injections. And, I do not think she did it for longer than my own experiences. Probably only a few times because my father and I had to travel frequently to see to my mother. Due to the cyclic nature of her illness.

I have been going with my father when he took my mother for her weekly injections as a little girl, knee high, ever since I can remember. My own aunt is so calculative. There was a nurse that visits my Mom to give her her injections. But, the problem is my Mom will not let the nurse into her house that is why the intervention is needed. I have lost count on the number of times I had to go with my Mom for her injections as a little girl.

Her doctors did not bother to enquire about my father and I. They only listened to her stories and full stop. I think my Mom's doctors are the most heartless people I have ever met in my life. Until today, I do not like anyone who officially practices psychology because those doctors etc... contributed to my life being ruined. That is how I feel. I have been scolded by my Mom's medical team and they even dumped my Mom on me after I just turn 18 and there was no other adult around. And, they knew the situation. I was terrified because my Mom was a very violent. My Mom has pitched me, beaten me up, she has biten me with her teeth, she has smashed my head against the table and threatened to beat me with a piece of hard wood. I experienced all these as a little girl at the tender age of 12+ I had to learn karate to protect myself from her violent ways. And, when my Mom was home, I would lock my room's door and place a chair against it. I was that terrified of her.

All our belongings can go missing because my Mom is good at that sort of thing. You never know what is what with my Mom. It is like having a criminal live under the same roof as you.

My aunt kept repeating to me that on my mother's death anniversary I will have go visit her cemetery. I live in a different state from where my mother's cemetery is located. And, my aunt knows that very well. However she repeated her question to me until I said yes. I hate being forced to do something against my will because I have been forced to do things against my will my whole life.

My life is in ruins because of my mother's mental illness and people like my aunt is perpetuating the troubles for me after my mother's death. When I was 12+, my mother's mother said to me that it is my father's job to take care of my mother. In other words, my father's job and mine. And, they never lifted a finger to help. Just helping a little, my aunt has been complaining about the same thing for more than a decade. Unbelievable. Shameful.

Even though my father and I lived in a different state from my mother, we had to travel up and down every weekend because that is demanded of my mother. Sometimes, we had to travel after school and upon our arrival, she won't let us in and we had to travel all the way back. And, my father will not let me sleep at home as it is a school day, I had to go to school. My education was very important to my father. My mother could not be bothered if I succeeded or not.

I have seen more than any of my Mom's relatives have seen with regards her mental illness but people whom I just met behave like I have no idea about my Mom like they are the authority on her behaviour and her illness. Goodness gracious.

Despite this huge handicap in my life I persevered with my studies. My Mom did not give me any moral or emotional support at all. In fact her mental illness cycle will peak just or during my important exams. In other words, I had to deal with my exams and on top of them a mentally ill mother. By my final year in university, I could not take the pressure of exams and a mentally ill mother's break downs anymore.

When I was in my teenage years and early adult years, I was suicidal. I had to call Befrienders a lot. Thank God for Befrienders.

Before XXXXXXXXXXdate, I do not wish my experience to be experienced by anyone else because it is torture. However, after feeling how hard hearted my aunt is. A so called holy person, a church goer, rich person who has successful kids and grand kids. And, she can talk like it is my fault that my Mom beat me up and she (my aunt) had to take her (her own sister) for her injections when I was a kid. I really wish that my aunt must reincarnate as my father (a few lifes) so that she can eat her own words. If my aunt reincarnates and is put in my father's shoes, she would really deserve it. Hope she learns compassion through it all.

Why can't the world give children of the mentally ill a break? I am so fed up with all this troubles that stem from my mother's sister's attitude towards my father and I. After all shel lives a great lives. Rich live. What is wrong with these people? I really cannot stand them. This is my story.

After I wrote the above - I am more myself now, and I totally forgive my aunt and everybody who did nothing to help my father and I. And, everybody else who were heartless towards my father and I. However, I still think that by living a few life times as my father (my aunt) - would do her some good. But, knowing her character, she might become a psychopath and pose a threat to humanity. My father is a very, very kind soul. My aunt is a hard hearted, prejudiced, narrow minded, one tracked mind person.

How I cope? Trying my best to keep out of their way, and hang out with positive people. There are plenty of great people out there. Nnaami is included :)


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