Having a family member with a mental illness

Hey, I’ll probably update regularly because I’m off school because of my mental illness, so I have a lot of free time.

My family has a history of mental illness – exactly what, I can’t say for sure. My grandpa on my mums side shot himself a year ago, after a lifetime of uncontrollable anger and abuse towards his loved ones. It’s hard to think about. My mum thinks he either had depression or bipolar disorder, but it’s difficult to say. My mum then acquired PTSD from her childhood as well as depression. Whether she would’ve developed depression¬†if her childhood had been stable is hard to know, but I’d like to think that she wouldn’t have.

I think genes are obviously a contributing factor, as you can see from my family, but environmental factors are definitely equally as important. My situation was nowhere near as bad as my mums, but throughout my childhood I had to deal with my younger sister having a complicated physical illness and all the attention being on her whilst trying to make sense of my mums difficult mood swings. I also had a unhealthy, slightly unstable relationship with my best friend throughout primary school, often coming home in tears. On top of being an extremely emotional child, I think it all got to me a bit too much.

My sister was very unwell when she was born, and had to spend a lot of time in hospital. I was two and a half, and probably didn’t know anything apart from the fact that my mummy had gone. That was all I really knew in my subconscious I think, because I had a strong dislike for my sister until I was about 10 or 11 and grew up a bit. When she was five, and I was seven, she had a huge operation, which I won’t go into details of. All I’ll say is it allows her to live a normal life with little complication, which is amazing. However, she was ill for years afterwards, and I didn’t receive the emotional attention I really needed.

I am saying all this purely to try and make sense of where my problems are rooted, not to try and gain sympathy or anything. I know there are so many people who’ve had it worse, and that my childhood was relatively happy.

In the next post I think I’ll talk about my symptoms and day to day experiences. Have a good day x


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