Very Personal Story

19/06/16
Dear diary,

I’m going to start this way. Things I’m going to post today were very difficult and sad for me for many years. I only understood things better when I face them all 3 years ago. I denied them and push them all to the back of my head for many and many years.
This post won’t have any images as I don’t feel like putting one just because that time of my life had been very black. This post is going to be long… For some people can be hard for some can be silly but this is my life.

Things are totally different now… I’m glad that I went to college… People I met there shared their stories so did I… That time I made up my mind that I wanted to write, but courage didn’t come till later. Girl who I will call Sweetie Pie … encourage me so much.. She gave me faith and she became my friend… friend that I needed at the time. Friend who would chat to me about weather,about everything without being judgemental. I believe that things happened for a reason, always.
Well, so time to start…

My mum has schizophrenia. She was diagnosed only 10 years ago, but please don’t think that she has had this illness only for 10 years.

She is sick for as long as I remember. I was reared by my Gran as my Mum gave me away when I was 3 months old. She took me back just before I started school. I was around 7 at the time.

I was mad with her when this happened as I had a settled life with my Gran and suddenly my life was turned upside down. No-one even asked my opinion. I started living with my parents and sister (who was 3 at that time). I was scared. I didn’t know them (I had only seen them from time to time when they visited my Gran).

I lived with my family for a while when I started noticing my Mum’s different moods. I was blamed for things I was doing, no matter if they were right or wrong. I was smacked and punished for almost everything, even for being 5 minutes late home from school.
Everything I did was wrong, bad. Mum was always at me to do more or better. My heart was broken as I couldn’t fit in to this life. I would dream of living with Gran again, but that did not happen as once I told my parents this and you can only imagine what happened…

During my Mum’s good times, she was fantastic, so happy, playful, and full of good sprit. There were no fights in the house. Everyone was very pleased. There were lots of parties, which I loved. That time Mum always looked glamorous and interested in how she looked with hair and make-up done. She had a happy face
But when Mum had bad times, she always was angry, very loud and aggressive in language and punishing me, not my sister. I always wondered why. I told myself that it was probably my fault, that I wasn’t good enough. I started thinking that if I disappeared, they would be happier without me. I didn’t understand what was happening at that stage but I did understand later…

When I was 10 years old my Dad left and Mum wasn’t in a good frame of mind as she was pregnant with my brother at that time. After this we had hell at home…
He left us there with her even yet he knew that she couldn’t cope anymore.

I remember Mum taking us to a doctor with her and I remember it was a psychiatrist. She wasn’t long in his office. He gave her medication and that was it. Mum also had food disorders (she didn’t eat she was so thin) I worried constantly about her.
I watched her for those years and I knew if she was taking medications she was fine but as soon as she stopped she was a different person altogether. As time went on she started taking more and more of the medications. She started to sleep a lot and she wasn’t able to do a thing.

I had to do all the housework, babysit my siblings and go to school. School was hell. Like I said in my introduction I was reared in Communism times and it was all about your status. We didn’t have one. We got labeled, so sad.. Well I don’t care any more but it did hurt at the time. More about it in later on.
Mum would leave us alone for nights as she was working nights. I had the responsibility of looking after everything and in the morning go to school. After a while I had a breakdown. I took one of Mum’s tablets and wanted to die.
I was so surprised to wake up next day only with a headache and dizziness. Of course Mum didn’t even notice that. I also self-harmed but that wasn’t noticed by her either… My “Top Class” school wouldn’t get involved in that too… That’s mad how people denied things.
I am ashamed now for what I did to myself, but at that time it was the only thing that gave me instant relief. I was terrified to tell anyone what was happening behind our door as I knew that I would get punished as a result.

I learned how to live with it and how to please Mum and that was the only way I could survive. We were living away from family, from Dad, and Gran as Mum didn’t want to socialise. The only adults I saw were two neighbours who came every day for coffee. I think they knew what was happening in our house but were in denial as often was the case. People are afraid to name things.
As the years passed, no-one asked questions about what was happening to my Mum?

I still wonder, years later why no-one investigated my Mum’s case. She was going to a doctor. Maybe she wasn’t telling him the truth. I cannot understand why her family didn’t check if everything was okay with her as she wasn’t in touch with them.
I still can’t understand why I was the only one who saw all this. I knew from living with my Gran for years that normal family life wasn’t meant to be like this. My siblings didn’t see the difference as this life was normal for them and I was the one who was always put in charge, not them.

In my early 20’s I left home and got married. Mum was getting worse and I couldn’t do anything to help her as my family didn’t believe me. The law in Poland says that a sick person needs to want to get treatment and if this is not the case, nothing can be done

I got married to May, I met him in the neighbourhood. He was and he is very handsome lad. Firstly I treated him like my friend. I didn’t trust anyone. All my friends were mad after him but he picked me. We start going out eventually.. Slowly I start trust him. Things where great. During that time I attend hairdressing collage. Again, same story school was picked for me. Not what I wanted. Mum’s choice. At the time, I want to scream and cry but I’m so thankful to mum now.

Me and May got married after 3 years of knowing each other. I was hoping to be happy that I can have love, happiness and great life. But reality was different.. My husbands family didn’t accept my status and family that I came from. Not that they where wealthy people. They just judged me at the start. That’s all. I don’t know true reasons of judgement as there is lack of communication but I hope that one day things go clear. I like research so it’s very hard not to be able to find answers.
I’m also super sensitive to things and even foods. I can also sense different situations in life. Only lately I learned to recognised and do something about that.

After we got married .. We moved to my parents in law. Things didn’t work out.. We moved again.. Life with May was very challenging. I love challenges.. We had great times as young couple would but there were lots of things that didn’t sound normal… But again I didn’t know the difference… I didn’t live with anyone accept Gran and Mum. I know what to expect from them. What was happening in my own home was different but yet very like my earlier life with Mum. They say LOVE IS BLIND and that’s so true. I use to live in denial till 3 years ago. The collage I went to opened my eyes for so many aspects of mine and other peoples lives.

Well, I will tell you more later.
When I was 25 , I made my first no maybe my second serious decision in my life. Moving..

I came to Ireland, I was hoping that with some distance, all my old problems would disappear, but they didn’t. After I had been here a year I went home. I was very excited and full of hope. I was shocked by what was waiting for me.

My brother was in an institution for young people, as he got in trouble with the law and drugs. My heart was broken as my little baby brother that I had reared was in jail. On top of this my Mum was telling me that she was seeing things, that someone was following her and that the water was poisoned. I knew she has a mental health problem. These were symptoms of paranoia and hallucination. I knew that my Mum had schizophrenia.

I appealed to everyone in my family, neighbours and I was told that I had a mental health problem myself and that Ireland must have had a bad influence on me. No-one believed me. I went to a doctor who told me that he couldn’t talk to me about my Mum without her being present. Mum believed that she was okay and that there was something wrong with me. I felt that she hated me even more than before.

Unfortunately my sister made my Mum believe that I was the one at fault. I called the police as she was very aggressive with me but she had backed down by the time they came and they could do nothing.

After week I came back to Ireland and tried to live a normal life but I couldn’t. At times I questioned my own mental health.
I was getting phone calls from Mum’s neighbours in Poland and my husband’s family telling me that when they met my Mum she was dirty and heading for the lake. All I could think of was that I was here and she was there. I couldn’t do anything even if I was there because of the Polish Legal System. I also spoke to my sister when she came to Ireland about my Mum’s condition but she was in denial.I think even years later she still is, she never accepted mum illness.

Every day and night I waited for a phone call, to tell me that something had happened, it was awful feeling. Eventually my sister’s boyfriend (at the time, now husband) went with her to Poland and told my sister that Mum was behaving strangely. They took her to his place in .the village and brought her to a doctor against her will. She was admitted to a hospital and diagnosed with schizophrenia.Spent there few weeks and she was put on medication for schizophrenia.

I was sad but relieved at the same time that things had finally been sorted and that I had been right all my life saying that there was something wrong with my Mum.

I reasoned with myself too that my Mum’s behaviour towards me as a child was because of her illness. I was able to forgive all the things she did through the years. I got answers for my questions and gain eventually respect to my Mum. I invite her to me after all those years and we could start fresh.

That is why I have a better understanding now of what mental health issues mean. By telling this story I want you to be able to think differently about why sometimes people around you behave in a certain way and to realise that sometimes there may be reasons for their behaviour, reasons beyond their control.

People with schizophrenia or any mental health problems often face discrimination and rejection every day. Patients with mental issues have problems finding a job, getting married, owning a home or getting help from neighbours as they are seen as totally different to us.

A stereotypical image of a person with mental problems is that of a dangerous or aggressive person who is unable to work effectively. Schizophrenia or any mental health problems are not so terrible, we shouldn’t be afraid of it.

This is how I would try to challenge these stereotypes!
In our society, the mentally ill still face stigma. This is mainly due to the lack of knowledge among members of the public about mental illness. People are afraid of schizophrenia, afraid of contact with a sick person.

Here is what a mentally ill person with schizophrenia would say “I am a person with schizophrenia, and I want to talk about it. This disease excludes me wherever I am. I appear to bear the badge “mentally ill.”

It would be great to stand against the stigma and discrimination of people with schizophrenia or other mental illnesses through the education of many social groups like students, patients and their families.

Everything depends on us whether we give that person a chance for a normal life in society. Also, many hospitalisations could be avoided if people were trying to treat sick people “normally”, like the others. They wouldn’t feel lonely and then excluded.
I hope I have given you all a clear picture of how it is to live with a sick person every day. But also I hope you understood that it is possible to do it, and that we shouldn’t be afraid of it. People with mental problems need our help and not to be treated as a stereotype or as someone with a stigma.

It’s difficult for a sick person to get back to normal life. If we try learn more about mental illnesses,and about the suffering of the sick and the symptoms of this illness it will help us to look differently at the sickness.

Changing the way of thinking, will help us to understand and accept people with mental illnesses, and so help them return to society and normal life. Because of my college and education I got clearer picture of mental health and I had chance to talk to my Mum about all this. I will talk later about depression also … I had opportunity to experience that in my own house as May suffer from it.

I always like to help people and that’s why I went to college to gain knowledge and to understand myself and others… It was excellent but sad experience for me to be able to come out of denial and start listening to others… as I could see how people have to struggle all their life’s and not always get help they need.

Thats the main reason for my blog, Listening to someone who feels not heard.

Thank you, for reading my story.

Ps. Today is Father’s Day. I want to thank a man who reared me for few years and who was always warm and kind to me but left.
Also want to thank a real gentlemen who had very hard life, never knowing his parents as he grow up in orphanage. He knew well how this is like having hard life and I think that’s why he was in my teens life. He show me how to be thankful, patient and calm. Thank you Uncle Anthony for looking after me from the heaven. I miss you so much, you were better then any dad.
Thank you so much to my biological dad to give me life… but still can’t understand where you are. Why did you disappear. Why did you not want to know that I exist…

Love Kay ❤️xx

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