Family, the people who you expect to support and love you, no matter what. So, then here’s a question for you, what happens, when your family turn their back on you in your greatest, darkest hour of need? That was my experience. I found myself suddenly surrounded by circumstances way beyond my control; surely, it’s the one’s you love that draw close by your side. I would have loved for that to happen.
Rushed to hospital after attempting end of life, family were called not at my request but because the friends that found me thought it was in my best interest. That makes the situation much worse, my parents come from a generation that have a ‘pull your socks up and get on with it’ attitude.
I felt even more rejected and abandoned and this lasted for 9 months. My sister lives overseas, she was the one who understood and was non-judgmental, but living so far away this increased my loneliness. It took mediation with my mum to finally accept this was my life and we took steps to try and be more open and honest. We were both terrified and angry at ourselves because in some way had let each other down. Our relationship has got stronger from this, we respect each other, try and talk things through and accept that we will not always see eye to eye.
No one can see the inside of a person, or what is really going on. Family often want to be a protector, but that can often be a hinderence to someone going through mental health crisis.
Some of the lack of understanding is still there within my family and friends, but whilst I have been attending Designs in Mind, they can see the change in me, and recognise the illness. I hope, one day, to be free of the loneliness that depression and anxiety’s brings. I have talked to others about their experiences and asked the question…
How do your family and friends support you with your mental illness?
“Both my husband and close friends have been supportive and accepting. Only one long time friend has disconnected. Don’t know why. I’m lucky Different members of my family have had different reactions.”
“My brother thinks I’m lazy and very rarely speaks to me. My mum appears supportive but talks about me behind my back saying she shouldn’t have to look after me at my age. My ex mum-in-law wants to keep me down so she can tell people she is my carer and brag about how much she helps me. My sister is wonderful, she doesn’t judge me at all. She lets me moan to her just like sisters do. She doesn’t treat me any differently and for that I’m eternally grateful.”
“My family don't get bipolar AT ALL! I have mum who does but she's 87 and lives 200 miles away. Friends are all great I am very upfront about my bipolar and tell most people all about it! We must educate right?”
You are not on your own, remember that. Take care.
On February the 11th 2018 we launched a crowd funding campaign. We want to start a conversation about mental health that is powerful. No more treading on eggshells. We are not invisible, we do not want to be hidden away. Our work in the studio and shop is #SmashingStigma every day, and now we are going to be a little noisier.
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As part of the campaign we are also looking for more blogs about mental health stigma, so please get in touch if you have a story to share.