Growing up you think you are normal, I thought everyone had to go to a part time pub cleaning job with their mum before school, I thought everyone got their benefits check on a Monday and got a chippy tea to celebrate, to then struggle getting food for the rest of the 2 weeks.
I thought everyone had a mum that was very involved. Always wanting you nearby, if not in the room, asking what you were doing and if you were coming downstairs to see them. My mum suffered with manic depression for many years of my childhood which effected me very profoundly. I would always worry what kind of mood she would be in that day. I would get home from school and she would still be in the same position as when I left in her chair staring aimlessly at the tv.
Often she would be happy to see me and would shower me in love. Sometimes she would look at me like I’d killed the cat. She would sit in mess, she would not be able to shower or take any care of herself for days on end. She wasn’t able to listen, listen to how my day went or what I enjoyed at school. Never stopped and had a deep and meaningful conversation with me, figuring out what kind of adult I would become. She would fill me with ‘I wish I could give you the world’ this was hard to hear being fed these empty promises. Hearing her talk herself down, ‘wishing she’d have done something more with her life’ was hard to hear. I felt like I was not able to get her out of her hole. Being my mum, my love was not enough, caring for her, cooking for her and helping her out with chores was not enough. I could never be enough.
I grew up wanting to cure my mum. I could not face that these issues were deep set and were there way before me and that actually, this had nothing to do with me. I felt isolated and I felt useless. I desperately didn’t want to become her. I felt deep deep shame. I am ashamed to admit that but I was. I loved my mum to the ends of the earth but she could not provide me a steady solid foundation needed to become an adult.
Instead of dealing with it head on, I grew up using coping mechanisms to hide my true self, my feelings. Whenever anyone was down, I would try and make them laugh, I always tried to see the positive side of things, whilst at home I was often waving the white flag and staying silent. It was easier, I would not even try to make my mum laugh or get her to see the positives. It was impossible.
I am resilient. I am not my mother and I can handle my own metal health by acknowledging when things aren’t great, I seek out a friend and let it out. Sometimes these relationships affect us for the rest of our lives but it is not for us to dwell, but to reflect and grow from those experiences so we can start to live our own life, not the ones our parents think we are worthy of.