Wednesday, 23 April 2014

How do people react when someone 'comes out' about mental health issues?

I wrote this post in draft a while ago when I was very angry but I have expanded it and removed the expletives. I haven't changed the points because even though I may seem unsympathetic to the difficulty of being in a situation where someone discloses to you that they have mental health problems, the frustration of the person doing the disclosing is no less real just because it might understandably be an uncomfortable subject for person receiving the information.

The good thing about my current state of having given up on life in a big way, is that I don't see the point in hiding it from people anymore so when I talk to people I haven't seen in a while or new people and they ask me things, say; how work is going... I will just tell them I've been out of work for a while because I have mental health problems/depression. If they run a mile that's fine. I will have succeeded in pushing someone else out of my life... and if they don't run a mile, well at least I won't have to pretend I'm a normal person with them. And it is surprising how many people will then confide in me that they have had mental health problems too. 
There are various reactions really and having reflected on this briefly, I have noticed that these reactions could probably be categorised into groups where a person's reaction may fall into one or more category. The types I have noticed (so far) are:

Awkward Turtles
Denying Doofuses
Nosey Parkers
Frustrating Fixers

Awkward Turtles are those who initially look like they wish the ground could swallow them up. They may struggle to form some sort of response and when they do respond the content could come from any of the other groups in its approach but seasoned with awkwardness in tone and expression. Subsequently they may avoid you or act strangely around you forever onwards. For example, my Father in law. I only told him I was depressed because he put me on the spot about why I was off work on sick leave. There was a painful silence and his face turned a peculiar shade of crimson. He then asked if I knew what caused it. I gave a brief explanation and said it was a complicated condition of which depression is just one aspect and he then changed the subject completely. Now when I see him talks to me with a tone one might use if someone has just died and asks: “How are you feeling?” or "How are you feeling now?" instead of “How are you?” which pisses me off big time because it's highlighting to others in the room that there is something 'wrong' with me and the 'now' suggests that he is waiting for me to get better.

I get angry and say: “How are you feeling?” which probably just confuses him more because he means well. He just doesn't get it. Besides, it's not really any of his business how I'm feeling and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't know where to look if I actually told him how I am truthfully feeling. I don't think he really wants to know either so why ask?

Denying Doofuses are the people who can't accept that you are ill and wish to tell you that you are not. Or can't accept that something might have caused you to become depressed. I believe they do this to protect themselves. Some people, like my Mother in law for instance, have a need to believe that everything in the world is wonderful and evil doesn't exist. My mother and mother in law both tick this box. My mother, we have talked about in recent posts so I won't go on about. She just can't accept that her efforts weren't good enough and me being mentally ill makes her feel like she has failed so she needs to deny any 'nurture' issues and convince me that it is all my 'nature'. My mother in law doesn't deny that I am depressed but she blatantly refused to accept that I had anything but the best childhood because I am a 'nice' person when I told her that my parents weren't exactly brilliant. She has a need to deny that anything bad even exists in the world. This was very distressing when it happened. 

It's hard to have gone through a process of accepting that the past happened after having blocked out so much of my awareness of the neglect and abuse for many years, to then be able to verbalise it in some small way and immediately be told it didn't happen and have someone tell me that my parents didn't do anything wrong when they don't know the details. And then even if given some of the more 'easy to accept' details, like basic needs not being met, for that person to still reject what I am saying and refuse to hear it. These Denying Doofuses are just protecting themselves and I understand why someone might need to do that but it still makes me so angry. Child abuse happens. Could it be prevented or stopped in many cases if adults didn't need to protect themselves by denying it?
Nosey Parkers are the ones who are not just interested in a supportive way, but are just plain old morbidly curious past the point of considering what might be appropriate or inappropriate to ask someone. My mother falls into this category as well. She feels that it's OK to ask me every detail about my mental health just because I told her I am depressed (again, only because I was asked directly why I am not working)... Who did you see about it? What did they say? What medication are you on? What dose? etc etc. It wouldn't occur to her that I might not want her to ask me these things. I find it extremely triggering to be honest. My mother violated boundaries she shouldn't have when I was a child. I am very protective of my boundaries now. I keep her at a distance because any sense of her imposing on me brings up a lot of feelings that are extremely difficult to handle. The worst kinds of feelings. Ugh. Let's move on swiftly...

My friend P also falls into this category. She knows that I have Dissociative Identity Disorder, although she hasn't met parts as far as she knows. I've told her before that I don't want to be asked 'what caused it?' yet she just can't help herself. Her curiosity about 'what happened' to me outweighs her concern for my well being and she repeatedly hints at, comments about or just outright asks what it might have been.

Then we have the Frustrating Fixers. Fixers are a hard bunch to deal with because they really do mean well and may actually have a good understanding of mental health issues but just can't hold back from telling you how you can get over 'the depression'. One friend advised me that if I eat healthily and exercise I will get better. I spent my whole life trying to do that. My mother in law seems to think the sunshine will be the answer to all my problems. A bit of sunshine wouldn't hurt but it certainly won't fix what is broken in me. I have been going to a support group recently and here I am provided with all the advice anyone could want, from 'cut out caffeine' to 'the past is in the past'. Some of the advice Fixers give can actually be spot on, but I find fixers irritating because I don't like being given advice when I haven't asked for it; it verges on denial of my feelings and it sort of merges into the Nosey Parker category for me. It also makes me feel hopeless and worthless because it feels like I am being told I'm doing it wrong and should try harder. That's what I interpret it as. There are exceptions when advice can be welcomed. I am usually more receptive to advice from my therapist, T (usually) and in the moment, Adam can be helpful but that is more 'encouragement' rather than advice. If I am lying in bed at two in the afternoon and Adam encourages me to get up and dressed, this is helpful because it is encouragement when I need it.

I don't invite people to try to help me and again, I am protective of my boundaries and those who want to tell me what to do jump over that line, plus can easily offend. I mean, maybe I do need to make sure I get dressed every day, but I don't want to be told that. I already know it. It is not the knowing of how to go about functioning that eludes me; it is the ability to bring it to mind in the moment and then having the desire, motivation, presence of mind and energy to do it that is lacking. I could write the self help manual for depression myself. It's not the knowing, it's the feeling like there is value in it and being able to do it in the moment and someone at a support group telling me I should get up and dressed in the mornings is not going to help me the next morning when I'm lying in bed feeling hopeless about life. I am aware that for others, advice is very helpful. It just presses my buttons unless it's the right person at the right time.

My instinct when people act this way is to just agree and act like they are being useful but being how I am lately, I might respond that I don't really see the point in doing anything because I don't see the point in living. This is obviously going to make things awkward and it's a defensive response (even if it is true). I spent a lot of my life not being allowed to feel anything bad about things I should have felt bad about. Now when people give me advice to help me feel better, a big part of me feels like they are telling me I am not allowed to feel this way. I am protective of the reality of how it is now. I am very sensitive to any suggestion that this didn't come about for a good reason and frankly, at the moment I just think I need to feel bad. Why shouldn't I feel bad? I mean, in a way, my whole life was a lie I had to believe at the time and now I don't but I need to feel bad for all that has happened.

Last but certainly not least are the  Accepters, plain and simple. These are people who aren't freaked out by your information, don't feel they have to understand it or fix it or change you. They may know all about it or may not know the first thing about mental health issues but it doesn't matter because they react the same way that a person might react if you told them you had a bad kidney or a knee problem. It's simple. I like the experience with these people. The ones who don't feel the need to start giving me advice on how to get better but just talk about it frankly, the same way you might share experience or conversation if someone said they had a bad leg and you had also had a bad leg or knew a bit about what it's like having a bad leg. You might be a bit sympathetic but you wouldn't change how you treat that person really, except perhaps not asking them to climb a mountain with you. But you wouldn't really think of them much differently. That's how it should be with mental health, but it often isn't. They might ask questions but none too invasive and they don't feel the need to provide any sort of pathetic sympathy or graveness in their tone. To them you are still pretty much the same person you were to them five minutes before you told them you have depression or whatever you have; they just have a bit more information than they did then. They might think differently of you in some ways, but not in a negative way.

The other day I was talking to a girl I've met a few times and she was asking how I'd been (I couldn't remember why but she asked in a way that suggested she knew I'd had difficulties) and when I said I'd been off work with depression recently she was really great. She was sympathetic, in the same way she would have been if I said I'd been off work with a broken leg. She was an Acceptor through experience I suppose because she told me how she'd had struggles with anxiety and we were comparing notes. She didn't try to advise me but she did talk about how it is for her and the difficulties in her thinking and in this way, I felt good because of being able to share experience and she had empathy. We both talked about the things we do to try to overcome our daily issues and the hurdles we experience. Neither of us was telling the other what to do but it was a positive conversation and I was the same person in her eyes and she in my eyes, just someone who I now knew more about and could relate to even better. She said if I ever want to meet up for a coffee and a chat to let her know. I wish there were more people like this in my life. Funnily though, I am reluctant to meet up with her. It was a positive experience to interact with her and I almost feel I should leave it at that so that there is no risk of it being ruined. It feels good just to think about this nice person who doesn't know much about me but knows a bit and was OK with it. I guess I'm scared if she got to know me in much more detail she wouldn't like me anymore.

So those are the kinds of reactions I have encountered so far. Maybe there will be more. Maybe you have experienced others. Maybe people's ways of responding to mental health can change over time. My husband's responses these days might go into a further category for those who are so drained by the continuing state of depression that they can only seem bored, disappointed and deflated. But that's another story.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Go away, why don't you want me?

Being depressed makes me push people away. I have probably done this a lot my whole life when I'm struggling to function. I find it hard to manage being around people; even the thought of the effort required to meet friends is exhausting, having to put on the happy mask. At the moment I am just finding people so irritating to be around. By now I don't have many friends anyway and most of my family is completely self obsessed so there is not a lot of effort needed to avoid seeing people if I don't feel like it.

I felt very let down by my friend who is probably my most friendish friend. As in, she knows more about me than my other few friends, I see her the most (which isn't much) and I don't have to put on too much of an act around her. She has always let me down really. I went through a period some time ago of wondering if I should break up with her because we saw each other loads and then when she met her partner, she started cancelling our plans every time there was a chance she could see him. She's pretty self absorbed too. She likes to always get me to tell her how I am and my news at the start of our meet ups to free up the space for her to spend the rest of the 90% remaining time to talk about herself. Often it doesn't bother me because it's a welcome distraction and I don't feel like talking about myself anyway and she's too nosey about what having DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) is like, how things are going with clinical psychology...and always, always...what caused the DID and often I don't want to even think about that stuff. But sometimes it just bugs me that she does that thing of getting my bit over and done with. She actually recently told me that this is what she does so she can feel free to talk about her own stuff, not that I hadn't already figured it out. But clearly she thinks that's fine. 

But yeah, I had a big birthday and she was the only non family member I invited but she didn't come in the end because she wanted someone to give her a lift and then leave the party half way through to bring her home so that her dog wouldn't be alone. My sister was organising it and was not so patient with her as I would be... she sent me a text saying: “I'm sorry, I didn't realise it was her birthday party, I thought it was yours!” In the end my friend was getting so stressed out about getting home by 7pm and driving me up the wall needing to know exactly how I was going to arrange it, that I told her if it was too much trouble I didn't mind her not coming and we could meet up another time. So she didn't come, but I did mind after all. I felt offended that her dog is more important than her friend actually. I mean, she leaves her dog all day to go to work Monday to Friday. Just because it was on a Saturday, shouldn't have meant she didn't come. 
That was months ago and we still haven't caught up. She sent me a text in February saying was I free on the 20th March at 2.30pm because she could fit me in for an hour coffee date. I just felt pissed off about that too. Why do I have to be slotted into her schedule that way? I'm clearly very low on her list of priorities. I cancelled that date in the end because I didn't feel up to it but I said could she give me 'some dates' when she's free. I saw her at a wedding recently and she said she'd try to get a couple of dates to send me. I just thought: “Fuck off. I'm not your charity case.” But I just said: “OK” because I also like her and want her to be my friend. I decided long ago that an unreliable, self absorbed friend who I enjoy being with when I do manage to see her is better than no friend. I may change my mind about that. 
But having been avoiding human interaction for months, with a friend like her, it's very easy to see how little effort she puts in to meeting up with me. It can be surprising how easy it is to distance myself from people; I mean, it highlights how people just don't really seem to notice. I have been avoiding everyone by not arranging to see people and not initiating contact with people. But then I feel lonely because I see that people don't appear to miss me either. I get angry that it's been so easy to remove myself from the lives of my friends and family. I feel like I wish they would have made more effort to notice me. But then I don't want to see them anyway, so what am I complaining about? For instance, I woke up today (Sunday) alone because Adam is away and I felt sad that the people who know Adam is away are probably out enjoying the good weather without me even entering their minds to wonder if I would have liked to spend time with them. 

That includes my mother, who contacted me the other day to see if she could call round for coffee but I was going out to the shop and didn't want to see her. I said that Adam would be away at the weekend so maybe the two of us could go out or she could come round then but she didn't respond to that and Sunday afternoon is upon us. And she knows about the depression now yet it still wouldn't occur to her to even let me know if it didn't suit her and send a text to see how I am doing. Yet, I'm glad not to have to see her and if she did text me to ask how I'm doing, I'd feel annoyed and wish she'd mind her own business. So no one can win with me can they? And in all honesty, if I felt motivated enough to go out and enjoy the sunshine too, I'd do it on my own because I much prefer my own company to anyone else's at the moment. Yet still, I feel so painfully alone too. What do I want from people?! If they make an effort, I feel annoyed, often patronised and intruded upon and I wish I could shut myself off from the world and live like a hermit. So I do that and then I feel lonely and resentful of the same people for not caring. 

I don't know what's going on in my head. I want relationships but when they are there I want to run away from them. Is this all to do with having an attachment disorder? I am pretty sure that I do have an attachment disorder but I only really saw how it played out with my feelings about my clinical psychologist and in the past, with Adam. I thought that nowadays the main issue with me not having friends was not a lack of wanting friends, but a lack of the skills or normality needed to develop friendships with normal people. Perhaps all along I have been ambivalent about even wanting relationships with people. I know a part of why I tend to back off when people are wanting to be friends is because I feel like if I let them get to know me any more than they do, they will start to find out about my mental health problems and this sadly, does scare some people away. But maybe it's not just that. People cause pain and I have had too much of that, so I try to protect myself from pain by avoiding people. But as they say, no man is an island and attachments and relationships are seemingly a human need and that's where the loneliness comes in I suppose. What can I do? Alone, I'm lonely; not alone I'm angry and defensive.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

I have a tab up there at the top of the blog for dreams but I'm not sure what I'm doing with it. Sometimes I write my dreams down on paper when they seem meaningful, other times I don't. I thought I'd like to start a blog for my dreams but at the moment I don't think it's realistic if my frequency of blogging here is anything to go by.

My dream styles vary: there are the mundane ones that include fragments of the day's events, conversations and things I've seen and the ones that are muddles of strangeness and bizarrity (first made up word of the day?). Then there are fascinating vivid adventures that could be made into movies (I really should be writing those down). And then there are the ones that seem to be telling me something about what's going on in some part of my brain that I'm not fully aware of: symbolically. I really appreciate this tool my dreams give me to help me understand myself. I know some people don't think dreams can have meaning but I don't doubt that for me they do and in a very significant way. Many times in my life I have been able to identify what's bothering me after having a dream that plays out the issue in some form of analogy or other for me to look at when I'm awake. The feelings about what's happening in the dream are always a good clue as to what my issue is.

There are phases lasting from days to weeks, in the types of dreams I have too. There will be a period where almost every night there is a dream that seems meaningful, then they will stop and the dreams will be more normal stories and mish-mashes and then there are phases where I don't really remember the dreams at all. I also have phases of sleep where my brain is working on a lot of stuff: but more practical everyday stuff. Like it will figure out the answer to a problem or remind me that I have to do a certain thing. And there are the ones that interfere with my day: they are short, vivid dreams of actions or conversations that I can't then tell if actually happened the next day. I will be convinced I put something somewhere only to not find it and eventually remember I dreamt it.

Anyway, to get to why I'm here. Today in my session with T I talked about a dream I had last night and she suggested it might be useful to note it down and I think she is right. I should record my dreams more. A family member recently told me about a fascinating dream I told them I had once but I had no recollection of it and I though that a pity. Seeing as my sleeping life is often much more interesting than my waking life, I might do well to journal it to look back on rather than journalling my everyday whinings. It's something I love about being me actually: the way I have an amazing dream imagination and that I remember my dreams; and there is not much I love about being me, that's for sure. So I should embrace that I suppose. Eek, I feel bad for saying I love something about me; I'm hearing the voice telling me I'm ridiculous to even think there is one thing to like. So here is the dream. It's not that interesting in itself but it was symbolic to me and I'll try to explain what I thought it meant.

My mum was throwing a birthday party for me in a house (not a house I know in life but in the dream it was one I knew... mine or my mum or sister's perhaps). She was preparing lots of food and there were lots of people there: my sisters, friends, people I don't know (although in the dream they weren't strangers), people from my old church. I went into the next room where a film was being projected onto the wall (something about a girl and demons and evil spirits but this doesn't seem relevant) and I fell asleep even though it was all still going on around me. While I was sleeping I vaguely heard people in the kitchen singing 'Happy Birthday to You' and when I woke up after a while, someone next to me had a plate and was talking about the food. I remarked that I didn't know there was food and they said that there was food, in a way that suggested it had been out for a while and everyone had eaten.

I went into the kitchen to find most of the food gone and the birthday cake eaten. There were just crumbs and left over bits of food on the table. I felt angry that no one had woken me up for the food or the cake and that I had missed the party that was supposed to be for me. I looked for my mum and asked her why she had let the party happen without me there. My mum said something to suggest they just hadn't realised I wasn't there, as if that was completely reasonable. I expressed that I was annoyed that she hadn't saved me any food. She told me I was being ungrateful and rude and had a bad attitude. She was very cross with me and then gave me the cold shoulder. I was holding some straggles of lettuce/salad leaves that I'd picked up from the table and I slapped them against the table in anger and I think I said something angry. Then I felt ashamed that I had lost control of myself and shown people how angry I was. I was ashamed because I could see no one else understood why I was annoyed and they thought I was being ungrateful and inappropriate and had a problem with my attitude.

As well as being angry I myself also felt like I was being ungrateful. I thought: they didn't have to have a party for me. It was nice of Mum to do it and I should just make do with what was left over. I got two bits of white bread and shoved the salad leaves in between them and ate them and I thought that it didn't taste too bad actually. I just ate the sandwich and thought I would just have to make do. But I felt alone and despairing. I was looking about at all the people, wondering who I could go to who would understand my pain but everyone was just absorbed in the party and I knew they wouldn't understand. There was one guy who I thought would understand my pain (a guy from my old church: one of the only people who didn't cut me off when I left, but who I don't really talk to despite that because him keeping me on Facebook seems like more of a condescending grace on his part rather than an actual act of mutual friendship) but I felt I couldn't talk to him because he seemed to have his own pain and I knew mine would be too much. So in essence, I felt alone and despairing even though it was 'my' party and I was surrounded by people.

This is what it symbolised to me:

The birthday party is me: my life; me being born and being alive. My mum preparing the birthday party represents that my mum looked after me as a child and cared for me throughout my life (not always very well, but she did put in effort to doing it). But in the dream, the party wasn't really about me was it? I fell asleep and no one even noticed because the party was more about them having a good time. No one was interested if I was having a good time... or even awake for that matter. That is like my life as well. My mum brought me up and cared for me to satisfy her own needs. She didn't really care if I was happy with how my life was going. I mean, she cared, but only in that I had to be happy to validate her feelings of being part of a 'happy family'. If I wasn't happy, she didn't want to accept that. And if I expressed it to her, she was angry with me and chastised me for being ungrateful, just like in the dream. T added an observation about the salad. In anger I slapped the salad leaves on the table, but then I felt ashamed and then I made a sandwich with the salad and ate it. I didn't think much of that bit of the dream until T said: "You swallowed your anger". I supposed that's true isn't it? The salad in a way represented my anger. I expressed my anger by slapping the salad down and then I suppressed my anger and gobbled up the salad... swallowed it. And I do feel ashamed at my anger and I feel I am being ungrateful for being angry too.

Let me explain why I said my mum didn't really care if I was happy as a child. My mum makes no secret of the fact that she had an unhappy childhood and all she ever wanted was to have a 'happy family', so that's what she went about to create when she married my father and started popping out kids. Her love for me as her child was really a means to an end to satisfy her own need to be in a 'happy family' whatever that looked like to her. Perhaps her efforts at being a good mother were so that she could feel loved by her family. That's all very well and until about a month ago I thought that was not something to hold against your parent.

Because why does anyone have kids really? It's largely a selfish thing isn't it? You have them to satisfy some need you have to be loved or to have meaning in your life, or to create something you can manipulate, but still you love your kids and do the best for them and want them to be happy and healthy and that's all fine if you really do put their needs first. But what if there is something your child isn't happy about or what if they are sick? It goes wrong when your child's lack of perfection disrupts your idea of what your life should be like so much that you have to deny that there is anything wrong and chastise them for telling you about it.

Recently I have come to reflect on the times in my life from childhood throughout life until very recently when I told my mum that things weren't right and how her reaction was that of anger and denial. It has hit me like a tonne of bricks that my mum wants a happy family so much that she has punished me or denied reality to my expense. In the dream the denial is represented by her going ahead with my party despite me not being there and the anger she had when I confronted her about this was like her anger when I have talked to her about issues and her likely anger if I told her how I feel now. There are a few occasions that stand out to me from my life that showed how my mum couldn't accept reality: once when I went to her in tears and said I didn't think my father loved me. I said that because he acted like he hated me; he despised me. He ridiculed me, called me names, ignored me, treated me badly... did everything a person might do if forced to live with someone despicable and unworthy of being treated well. I guess I hadn't really thought through why I was confiding in my mum that I thought he didn't love me but I clearly hadn't anticipated that she would shout at me and tell me not to be so ungrateful and give me a lecture about how he worked long hours in a hard job to put a roof over my head. I felt so ashamed for having been so ungrateful and for having had such awful thoughts about my father.

Another time, my mum got called up to my school because I'd been found out for self harming. I always blamed my school for not helping me after that day. There was a suggestion of counselling but it never came to pass. I have felt so angry for years that they knew there was clearly something very wrong with me yet they did nothing more than tell my parents about it. But what about my parents? What did they do to help me? Why did they never get me any help? Why did I never feel angry with my mum for not helping me then?
Oh there have been other occasions. I think I learnt pretty quickly not to show emotions to my parents, unless it was gratitude, admiration or 'happiness'. I would get the odd interrogation from my mum where she would accuse me of being depressed. But it was never said in a way that would make one feel comfortable to confide in her. Not that I was even aware of being depressed most of the time when she said it. By that stage in my teens I was quite adept at not feeling anything. I wasn't even allowed to be physically ill. I mean, I had stern lectures from my mother about it not being acceptable that I was having stomach cramps and diarrhoea several times in every day. I remember one specific lecture was when we were driving home and I was in agony with cramps and she said I clearly wasn't praying enough because if I was I would be healed by God. It was never an option to go to the doctors to check I was OK. If I had a cold for more than two days I would have been told off for my lack of faith, so you can imagine how much tolerance there would have been if I actually had known about and talked about my psychological problems?

I would also get told of for studying too much. Yes, you read it right... too much. This was also an attitude problem because I should not be putting so much effort into things that weren't God's work. One day I let slip that I hadn't felt supported through my school studies and my mum really made me regret saying that. After a similar 'We put a roof over your head' lecture, she barely spoke to me except in a cold and chastising manner for several weeks. Again I felt so ashamed for how ungrateful I was.

Things never really changed, even after the church. Like I said, I learnt not to show my emotions for the most part but I remember once in my early twenties, when I was going through a really hard time it all bursting out in a flood of tears in front of my mother. I had no money to buy even bread or milk (I'm not exaggerating: after about half way through university I decided I never wanted to 'owe' my parents anything so I didn't ask them for financial help and my student loan and part time job earnings were barely enough to cover my rent and university fees), I was failing my degree, being bullied, I'd just left the church and a million little things were going wrong too. It all came out at once one day... about the money problems and that I was being bullied and didn't have anywhere to live and all this stuff. My mum listened then said she would help me. She said we would sit down and work it out together. I felt better; I wouldn't be on my own with it all. I waited for the time to come that she would help me but it didn't come. She didn't mention it again. Ever.

And so I learnt once and for all that I love my mum but she can't handle my unhappiness. There have been things I can't avoid. I know how it irks her that I am not well often... although at least now she can't blame my lack of faith in God. She used to talk like a parrot about how her side of the family were so genetically robust and any of my illness couldn't have come from her. Then when I got diagnosed with, wait for it... a genetic illness, she refused to believe I had inherited it from her side until she had a blood test done that she couldn't deny and then she was mortified and truly apologetic. She found that hard to handle.

So to recent days. I have not shared anything about my mental health with her where I can avoid it. I don't mind telling her about my physical problems. I guess I feel safe that I can say those now. However, recently she asked me direct questions which meant I would have to lie to her if I wanted to keep my mental health secrets so I told her I have been depressed. She wanted to know more, more, more. So she didn't get angry or deny it or anything. But did she? Is it a coincidence that she seems annoyed with me every time I see her since? Is it a coincidence that she has recently given me her other well used speech entitled: "The mental problems in our family are all genetic" although now renamed: "YOUR mental problems are genetic". And am I imagining things when I feel like she is giving me a silent treatment and that she is expressing her anger at me by not responding to my texts or contacting me and making narky comments and giving me freakish glares when I do see her?

Well you know what Mummy? If you're angry at me for trying to further shatter your delusions of a happy family, I'm as angry at you for denying all the unhappiness that I lived with for my entire life. I'm angry with you for making me feel ashamed for having feelings that should have been taken notice of. You could have helped me. You could have helped me to be able to know the things I had to not know and you could have acted for me to make things different so that I could experience what real life is and what being a child should have been about. I'm angry that I am only now learning how to feel emotions without channelling them into something less dangerous. And now there is so much anger, I don't know if it's ever going to end. And it's all very well me saying it here, but the fact is, I can't ever tell my mum how I feel because I know how she would punish me.