I began my journey in seeking help in maintaining my mental health over ten years ago. At first I dealt with it alone, well not entirely, I had one dedicated friend who was awesome. My family however was in deep denial. It wasn’t until my suicide attempt this past fall that I realized my illness doesn’t only affect me.
The big shift in my perspective came when my mother said to me while I was in the hospital. I was in intensive care for two days and nobody came to visit me.
I was angry at my family for obvious reasons. During on of our many tense phone calls, my mother said: “do you know what you did to your brother?” My brother is not speaking to me. I guess my attempt upset him. My mom has started networking with people who have family members with mental illness, she’s started reading books on the topic, and has made a one-eighty from the years where she tried to convince me I could pray away my illness. This, only after I tried to end my life.
What I took away from this experience is an understanding of why my family reacts to me the way they do when the rain pours in my life.
They worry but they will never tell me “I’m worried about you.” Their worry and anxiety presents as anger and distance. It’s not that they don’t care, they care too much to see me, see what I’m going through when I’m at my worst. When the sun shines in my life they come back. When they don’t have to see me struggling.
I used to yearn for them to be different but I accept them for who they are and how they express their emotions. To their credit they are changing in small ways. My illness doesn’t just affect me although I walk my journey mostly alone.