Mum & Child

Mental illness and my mum

Leaving the ward, two things I realised I’d newly acquired were A. a hypothetical diagnosis and B. my mum’s grief/mistrust towards me.

The first hit me right off the bat, and would continue to do so as therapy progressed and more issues came to the surface. Medications helped stabilise the highs and lows \, but writing in to the Dependant Protector Scheme for insurance coverage very surely did not.




Wisely, or not, my mum and I had also made a deal. I wouldn’t self-harm and in exchange she would concede to my request and find a place for me to get enough breathing room to recoup, before moving back in with my family. The deal didn’t work only because we had an awesome honeymoon period in which I stopped harming; but once things settled down I was obliged to move back home.

It wasn’t either of our faults. My mum was genuinely shocked to discover this self-destructive side of me that she’d never known. And I was still desperately seeking release from the pent up emotions and couldn’t get my needs met in healthier ways. Essentially it perpetuated our mother-daughter cycle of trust and mistrust, acceptance and grief, letting go and hanging on, push and pull, yes and no and silence. Silence from anger, hurt, betrayal, from not knowing how to help, from being told to leave off, from not caring, caring too much, and from just being so so confused.

Recently, my mum read some of my journal entries together with my dad, without me. I guess I feel left out that they’d resorted to reading them rather than communicating directly with me… I would have told them about the suicidal thoughts and impulsive urges. Maybe I would have felt safe enough to approach them for acceptance and understanding, even.

I masked my truths with more lies. Because they’d gotten hold of too much too fast, and it made me felt vulnerable and shy. But lying made me feel so guilty too. Like I’m feeding upon my mum’s deep grief over losing the daughter she thought she knew and making light of her newfound ‘acceptance’ of me. She deserves so much more than this. This me that’s unable to decide what I want from her, what I’m hurting from, what she can do to help. I want to say, “Mummy I need you, anything you have for me I’ll take” But I’m an onion with too many layers to peel. She doesn’t have the emotional capacity to tend to me, and I don’t have the strength to tear down my own defences to let her in.

So here we are again, fighting so hard against the backward pull of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and misdeeds that constantly threaten to wind-sweep us out into the vast chasm of disconnection.

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