Growing Up When a Parent is Mentally Ill and Refuses Treatment
Growing up with a mentally ill parent is extremely hard on a kid. In order to properly develop, kids need a stable environment in addition to their parent's love. If they have a parent who has a mental illness and refuses to get help - that stable environment isn't going to exist. When that happens, the kid is left with long term issues which could lead to them developing a mental illness if they are already biologically vulnerable. If they are not biologically predisposed, it could still lead to an environmentally based issue such PTSD or long term issues with trust and stability.
I grew up with a mother who was extremely mentally ill but refused any treatment as she believed it was everyone around her who was seriously flawed. Beginning when I was 3, she started to hit me and subject me to hours of screaming each day. It was nothing for me to be screamed at and berated for 4 to 8 hours each day throughout my entire childhood. She hurled vile insults at me - calling me trailer trash and heartless - for things as simple as leaving a toy out or not having a room that was clean enough for her liking. I would be taken to the doctor multiple times each month for imagined ailments, but when I showed obvious signs of having been sexually abused or when I was truly ill, she ignored me. I was treated very much like a punching bag or a toy instead of a child.
My life was ruled by her obsessions and paranoia. Until I was 16 when my dad taught me to drive, I wasn't allowed out of her sight in stores. It wasn't that she was afraid I'd be kidnapped or harmed - she was afraid I might speak to someone and tell them 'family secrets'. Those secrets included the way I was treated, my dad's alcoholism, my mom having a physical illness, or even any basic common thing that could be said in polite conversation. Additionally, my world was confined to our house and backyard - which was surrounded by 8 foot tall privacy fence. Books and computer games were my only escape...and truthfully the only reason I survived.
The result of my mom's mental illness on me was that by age 10 I suffered my first depressive episode. I can vividly remember sitting on the living room couch, looking out the window at the kids playing outside, and all the horrible things my mom said about me running through my head. All those horrible things, those were the reasons I had been taught I couldn't play with the other kids. I'd been taught I'd contaminate them and get them to do bad things if I played with them. Today, I struggle with multiple psychiatric issues. One of them is purely biological while the other have large environmental factors. I struggle incredibly with making friends since I never had the chance to develop those skills in childhood. Basically, I am going to have lifelong struggles overcoming the fact that I grew up with a mentally ill parent who would not get treatment.
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/human-person-child-girl-blond-767256/ by Pezibear