‘Living With A Loved One’s Mental Illness’ Guest Post By Anita

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Your Story is a series by WonderfulWoman where you will read inspiring Guest Posts from women around the world. Here they share their experiences, stories and things that matter most to all women.

Today’s Guest Post is by Anita. Anita is a 41 year old mommy of 5 firecracker kids. When she’s not busy managing her home and family, she runs her husbands clinic, manages several network marketing businesses and of course, Blogs about all of it on livinlikeamotherblog.blogspot.com

Living With A Loved One’s Mental Illness

It took fourteen years for me to figure out what was wrong with my mother. It hit me like a bolt of lightning at the age of 34. Her symptoms started when I was just 19. I remember frantically looking for my phone, spending hours with my good friend, Google. I had no idea if I was right or not, but it was the closest I had to the answer. So many thoughts came to me…how could I have not seen it before? How did no one else know or care to put the pieces together?

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Life became a roller coaster of confusion the day my mom showed signs of a mental illness. She was a recently divorced, single mother raising me those fourteen years ago. Then one day she told me she may have breast cancer. She waited so long to tell anyone, as if it would go away, that by the time we saw a Doctor she was told it was too late. She had Stage 4 cancer and might have a few months to live.

My mother is a strong, Filipino woman who raised me to see all things positive in the world. She didn’t believe those Doctors and decided to go through Chemo and fight the good fight. Chemo lasted six months, followed by Radiation Therapy and another six months of Chemo. But guess what? She lasted longer than those few months she was told she had left. It was an amazing victory for us! Long story short, she had an augmentation and that was that.

So we thought.

It was the happy ending of a Chapter in our lives, but opened a new Chapter that changed both our lives forever.

Mom started talking to herself, or so I thought. In her mind she was talking to many people and they were telling her odd things. I would watch her sit in a dark room and talk, laugh and cry, while no one was there. Ok, so here I am 19 years old, pretty uneventful and calm existence up to this point. What could I think? Mom was losing it, but that’s just a teenager talking. Like, ok, who do I turn to with this? The sad part was, I had nowhere to turn.

I turned down College to take care of my mom. I worked two jobs because she couldn’t and shouldn’t be around others. I had to constantly keep an eye on her, making sure she didn’t do anything outrageous. I watched her whole appearance change and get this…I started believing some of the things she was saying.

I believe I had this experience so I could share it with others. It was terrifying, misery, confusion, doubt, and I had lost hope. Im not going to go into ALL the crazy details of those years not knowing we were dealing with Szchizophrenia. I’ll save that for a book, but I will tell you what I’ve learned.

People do not know where to look outside of the Internet

There are lots of people talking about mental disorders but don’t really, truly know where to begin. I talked to tons of close friends about my mother and no one even thought to suggest a mental disorder. Sometimes symptoms can be brushed off and ignored. It’s hard for people to accept someone they love may have a condition.

School’s should have mental health guidance for children

There is not enough help in our school system for our children to access more information, get advice and learn the signs. Imagine if there was a program to raise awareness so we can better help our youth.

Being aware of the signs or how to ask the right questions can save someone’s life

PTSD, Panic Disorder, Depression, Personality Disorder. We hear about it but do we really know how to help someone who has it or is dealing with it in a loved one? It’s tough…it’s tougher when you’re dealing alone. The signs are out there, we have to learn how to spot them.

Drugs will never help my mother, nor will she ever believe she has a disorder, even though I finally had her diagnosed with it. So we will continue to watch her live in this world she has made for herself, as painful as it is. She will watch her grandkids grow and they will know the best ways to interact with grandma.

What not to say

It took me all this time to adjust and finally accept what is happening. Now I look forward to doing what I can to help give her the best years of her life left.

Connect With Anita

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Comments (10)

  • Neha Bhardwaj 2 years ago Reply

    Mental health is really important, hence, neglected by most of the people. We must help ourselves by taking care of it, and help others in treating theirs as well.

  • Marie 3 years ago Reply

    This is a very well written post. Everything is very concise and clear. Thanks for sharing.

    Also visit Depression Brisbane

  • IKYA BAILUNG 4 years ago Reply

    Thank you for sharing this blog.
    IKYA BAILUNG recently posted…3 Surprising Insights about Success and HappinessMy Profile

  • sandeep sharma 4 years ago Reply

    thank you so much for this every family member needs to read this and this is realy appreciable.

  • CrazyFitnessGuy 4 years ago Reply

    nice post it was very well written keep up the good work

  • Jenny 4 years ago Reply

    Wow. What a sad, but inspiring story. You are such a strong woman to go through this and then to share your story. This will help others who may be going through the same experience. Not only with understanding it, but knowing they are not alone. I’m so happy for you that you have answers, but I can imagine that it is still a struggle.
    Jenny recently posted…Super Bowl Party: What To Bring & What To WearMy Profile

  • Phill Slater 4 years ago Reply

    This was a really interesting post. As someone living with mental illness, anxiety and depression in my case, I spend so much time battling through each day that I forget about the impact I’m having on my partner and our children.
    Phill Slater recently posted…My journey from here to there (12th Jan-18th Jan 2019).My Profile

  • Thanks so much for this. As someone who also lived with mental illness in the family, and now work in the field, I really appreciate your sharing of your experiences, and very much relate to them. Thank you!
    Aaron (@1dish4the4road) recently posted…My Big Brexit Rant… (Finding Some Solace in THE FRENCH HOUSE)My Profile

  • Sunday 4 years ago Reply

    Thank you for this post. It’s an all too common story that the signs of mental health issues aren’t recognised for what they are. You’re right, kids need education about this for themselves, or to understand better what might be happening for adults around them. I was the first person in my family to recognise in my teens that my grandma wasn’t just eccentric, but that she had symptoms of mania. She’d lived her life experiencing mood swings, delusions, confusion and volatile relationships and no-one else understood. My mum also seems to experience depression and anxiety which has diminished her quality of life progressively, but the stigma and ignorance surrounding these issues means she feels too ashamed and embarrassed to even consider that there are things that could help. It’s a painful journey for everyone, you’re obviously doing your best to learn and support your mum. I hope you focus on yourself too, and can enjoy what you can of your beautiful mum.

    Anita Burke 4 years ago Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! You are absolutely right, people with these disorders go through so much pain and confusion inside of themselves. I want to continue writing about mental illness and speak on it through my mothers eyes. Being a voice for them, like your sweet grandmother and mom, will open eyes and understanding on the subject. I always encourage others to tell their stories for those reasons. Much love….Anita
    Anita Burke recently posted…Living With A Loved Ones Mental IllnessMy Profile

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