You don’t say this to someone who is ill

This is a joint post, we are both forming it. Anon will write in italics, and her carer will write in bold.

We don’t know why, it’s just how it turned out 😛

As our previous posts show, things have been incredibly difficult here.

Anon is hallucinating, depressed and openly suicidal. Alongside this shitstorm we have had a ton of other issues pop up…repair work needed for the house, our bank cards breaking (meaning we’ve been unable to pay for anything) and needing to travel to a bank to sort it, money stopping being paid to us for no reason and, especially, one of our dogs developing a behavioural issue meaning she can’t be left alone.

Long story short we’ve been feeling like shit, and I wanted to phone my parents and talk to them, talk things through and get their support…this was not meant to be.

Sometimes my parents can be supportive and understanding about the difficulties we face, but other times when I try to talk to them about my illness they ignore me (anything I say is followed by several minutes silence), change the subject (to ANYTHING) or simply say over and over “aw, that sucks.”

Not helpful, especially when you clearly don’t mean it and aren’t listening -__-

Anyway, on this particular phone call Anon was again trying to get them to understand how much she is struggling at the moment, and was also trying to talk about the reality that we might have to rehome one of our dogs. Not because we don’t know how to work with her issue, even though it is difficult and time consuming, but because Anon is not well enough to do so. Currently we can’t leave the house, and we need to leave to get Anon help.

Anon’s dad responded to this (and they have known we may have to rehome our dog for several weeks now) with, “What? Give over.”

Further into the phone call Anon’s mum stated that Anon should not own pets because she is mentally ill (I’d just like to say that Anon is a fantastic pet parent and goes out of her way to give any animal that lives with us the best life possible).

This is preceded by a long line of shitty advice I’ve been given by my parents, such as:

–> to try harder and add more strings to my bow

–> that everyone has ‘down days’ but they all manage to pull themselves out of it (SHE HAS SEVERE DEPRESSION DUE TO HER BIPOLAR >__<)

–> she knows the hallucinations aren’t real so they’re not a big deal (sure, she knows they’re not real when I talk to her and reassure her, but she finds them terrifying)

–> that my illness is ‘just a phase’

–> that I just need to get over my fear about the (seriously scary) medication side effects, my mum has asthma and she’s had to take strong medications before

(newsflash it’s not the same when I would be on them for years, almost every single one has weight gain as a side effect, none of the ones I’ve tried have helped and some have life-changing [potentially fatal] side effects!!)

–> way back when we first started dating, a CPN suggested I keep a star chart for Anon to show her ways she was doing well (eg. she gets a red star for eating meals [she had an eating disorder at the time], a blue star for taking her medication etc)

Her parents didn’t say anything at the time they saw the chart, but later emailed Anon saying “he’s deciding when you can be happy and when you’re not.  It’s not pleasant for us to see”…uh no, Anon had such low self worth she didn’t think she could do anything right, and I was trying to help her see how amazing she was in the tiniest of ways…

 

All wonderful examples of what not to say to someone who has such a debilitating mental illness or, let’s be honest, ANY mental illness!

I used to be terrified of my parents.

I couldn’t talk to them about anything serious because they didn’t help me when I needed it as a young teenager, and they were always aggressive. Now they have way, way less of a hold on me, and I am not afraid to argue back and tell them to piss off when needed.

Even so, the things they say still hurt her. Being told she shouldn’t have pets (when she puts hours into our dogs everyday) was ridiculous.

Sorry for the confusing layout, this is more of a rant than anything because I’m annoyed. Of course I love them, but people you love can still annoy you!

 

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