I worried about passing on mental illness to my kids. So much so that I almost didn’t have any, but I’m glad I did despite my worst fear coming true. I did pass on mental illness. Pretty much my exact mental illness but on steroids. Or maybe my illness was also on steroids (I have some memories to that support that) but because I was the last of ten kids I just had to deal with it. My daughter did not “just have to deal with it” because we were very present parents and we knew she was struggling with someone from the time she was very, very young. So young that I didn’t believe it could be mental illness. I think it was.
I’m sorry I gave her this. It’s not fun. In fact there is no part of it that makes it worth it. Like nothing. And the stigma is so real. I’m amazed how few people ask me how we are doing. How so few people can talk about it. How even the words feel like a betrayal of who we are. When someone has cancer we never think of them AS cancer. I think it’s different for mental illness. So often we become our mental illness in the eyes of people. I understand why. I do. Mental illness is integrated in our being in a way cancer doesn’t, still mental illness is only a fragment of who people are.
I’m tired. I’m tired of trying to help a sick person be well when there should be a whole fucking system to do that. I’m tired of failing all the time. I’m tired of shitty resources and tired of mental illness.