On the family section I posted a bit about how my kid sis was planing her own 18th birthday for herself and by herself. She didn’t tell any of the family this is what she was doing. I do realize that in the past many of her birthdays were forgotten by all of us. Some of us still feel guilty for completely forgetting her 17th. She took it in stride and said… “hey, it’s OK, mental illness comes first.”
When the parents would forget to pick her up at school because they were looking for me, she pulled off her wet clothing after walking home and said, “It’s Ok, mental Illness comes first”
With myself and one brother finally stable and the other two brothers finally getting professional help to be stable, my parents have been busy but calming down. But my kid sis was planning another birthday alone because “Mental Illness comes first.”
The parents were more then surprised when my sis did admit that if she ever did get married, she was going to elope and not tell anyone so she wouldn’t bother anyone. Because mental illness comes first. Our Dad almost cried. Last year she didn’t tell ANYONE she got accepted into U.C. Berkeley because she didn’t want to cause a fuss. I was just stabilizing and mental illness comes first.
These past few days our parents have been trying to see a lot more of their youngest child and only daughter. She says she’s confused because they aren’t seeing her to discuss J preservation, they aren’t calling her to check on me or give Mental Illness updates, they aren’t taking her to informational lectures on mental illness, they aren’t doing a review of crisis management…
She got irritated because they wanted to see her alone and ask her about her. She came home really freaked out by that. She kept huffing and saying, “It wasn’t even a mental illness update meeting.”
This family has been fighting mental illness for so long, we don’t know how to do much else. That’s no way to live. Yes, I know our parent’s don’t want to get complacent or miss something. Two sons stable, two sons still in need of care.
But I’ve been trying to promote this idea of leaving the Sz and MI books on the shelf and just hanging out for no other reason then… Why not? Have at least one meal a week and don’t even mention mental illness news or updates or resources websites. Don’t even talk about CBT or new therapies or med combo’s. Or maybe go do something fun and leave the MI education at home.
The kid sis and I do that all the time, I feel a great relief when we can just hang out and talk about sandwiches and books and anything but MI. But it hasn’t happened with the family in a very very long time.
I have been trying to change her saying to “Mental Wellness comes first” That includes everyone of us. Not just the diagnosed, but the undiagnosed and the caregivers. It’s not just ME trying to heal… it’s the entire family trying to heal.
It’s care givers not having to be on crisis guard all the time, it’s parents realizing that it’s OK to take time off from the fight. It’s getting on with life and not letting any mental illness consume and erase normal events like your only daughters 17th and 18th birthday.
Mental illness shouldn’t come first… life should.
Mental Wellness… This is what I’m going to be working on.