I have been working on this post and I keep starting and stopping. I’ll be honest I have written several drafts, I’ve lost count of how many. After some reflection I have figured out the reasons I am having such a hard time with this one. First is that I am concerned with my family and respecting their feelings with what I share about my thoughts and feelings about my dad and his illness. Secondly, every time I write something I feel like it is all surface level and I don’t want this post to be surface level. I want to be completely authentic, I feel like he deserves me to be raw and I feel like I need to do this to heal myself. I also want anyone who has a family member that suffers with a debilitating mental illness to know they are not alone. I want people who suffer with mental illness to know that they are loved but it may be difficult for us at times too. Most of you do have people that care, but sometimes we have to separate ourselves for our own self preservation.
“You will never truly be free until you’re living in authenticity” Christy Ann Martine
Here is some history so you have a little understanding of my relationship with him. My dad passed away in 2017 and he suffered from schizophrenia for my entire life so I never new him any other way. My mom and dad were divorced when I was about 5 years old, so my time with him was spent on weekend visits for most of my life. But because of his illness he was not always emotionally and sometimes even physically available because he would withdraw from society at times. So most of my weekend visits would be spent with my Grandparents or aunts and uncles. I love my family and am so thankful that they kept me as part of the family and didn’t just let me drift away. I feel a closeness with both of my parents family’s and feel blessed that I have such a wonderful support system when I need it and I hope that I have done the same for them. But, I am realizing in my own self reflection that in order for my own mental health I withdraw at times as well.
“Appreciate those who don’t give up on you” Unknown
I have some guilt for not always being there for him. Don’t get me wrong there were times in my adult life that I stepped up to help when he needed it, but I did not have the bond that I would have loved to have had with him. I am so thankful that he has such a large family and that my grandparents, his brothers, sisters and even a cousin stepped in when he needed somewhere to live and needed extra care.
Another reason this is a hard post is because I have so much to say and I try to keep my posts to about three paragraphs and there is just no way to do it with this subject. So, I have decided that I need to do this as a series. I am planning to share facts about mental illness, I will be doing some research about help that is available as well as my thoughts and feelings about my dad. I am hoping that I can get some of my family members involved so they may heal as well. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I would love any ideas you have for future posts. Let the healing begin…