On Having A Mother With A Mental Illness

I love the city at night. It shades the ugly and highlights the glamorous. 

Mental illness scares me and I’ve been living with a mother who is diagnosed as bi-polar, schizophrenic, and depressed for my entire life. What scares me is that I carry her genes. What if I end up like her?
For the first seven years or so of my life, I remember my mother as a hard working woman who pitched in with the household bills by running a daycare or working outside of the house. She was always a mother who dealt out chores and kept the house tidy. Sure, things got cluttered from time to time, but it was never an embarrassing situation. There were issues of doubt and mistrust between my mother and my father during these times, but outside of that it was a typical low middle class household. 

Things spun out of control when I must have been… 7 or 8? A memory that continues to stick with me is when my father, cousin, and aunt took my mother to the mental hospital for the first time. I didn’t understand what was going on and as was to be expected I was beyond upset. Little did I know that wasn’t the last time I would have to watch my mom carted away to the looney bin. 

I didn’t have a great relationship with my father as a child, due to the fear my mother instilled in me about him. I ended up staying with a second cousin while my mother spent her few weeks being treated. 
I say treated, but what did that really do? Doesn’t treat mean to fix? Over my short life span, I can count my mother being in the mental hospital three times. And if those visits were supposed to fix her, they didn’t come close. In fact with each passing year she continues to deteriorate and dive deeper into her mental illness.

I’m not so sure I believe in her illness to the extent she does. I think she takes advantage of the assistance that is offered to her because she is diagnosed “mentally ill.” She lives off welfare in a tiny studio apartment that is paid for by the government. She “can’t” keep a job, and when she does land the lucky chance of employment, it never lasts as far as the first conflict. We all deal with conflict in our lives. Most of us get past it and continue to live our life. Mom doesn’t. Mom almost literally, runs the other direction as fast as she can. 

I wish I could have known my mother better when I was young and before I was around. I wish I could know if she was always like this, or if it slowly came on. I can’t ask her because she doesn’t understand that she has an issue. She is willing to admit it for help, but not willing to admit it to fix it.

I really want to know what she used to be like to know if I’m going to end up like her. I see her in me sometimes. I see myself putting off tasks and procrastinating. I’m always very critical of myself when it comes to those things because I’m never sure if it’s a sign that I’m acting like her or just a normal act of being a human. 

For most of my life I’ve checked myself back, always chastising myself for acting like her. At this point in my life, I don’t even think about it anymore except on occasion  And on those occasions  it wears on me.
Sometimes I’m not even sure what brought it up or that my mood is affected by her. And I know that isn’t healthy. And is scares me. I’m not sure if I sure get checked out by a psychologist, or if that will make me more worried about that one thing. 

I don’t ever want to be like my mother.

This isn’t the best way to feel about the woman who brought you into this world. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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