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This mornings’ question within the “Questions To A Parent With Mental Illness” challenge, which one of my daughters set me. Seems to be very interesting, and, at first glance, not too taxing. Which is a good thing.

So let’s see how my response actually shapes up…
DD 7

Good morning Honey,

Thank you for your question and thank you, after the last coupe of questions, for asking one which doesn’t appear, at first glance, to be too difficult or taxing to answer.

That is not to say that I didn’t like or appreciate your last couple of questions.  Because I really did honey.  I felt that they were very important and needed asking and answering.  It is just nice to now have a question which is a little less intense.  If you know what I mean.

So what about today’s question?

I think the first thing that I should admit to, is how difficult it can be – sometimes more so than others – to actually bring yourself to see anything positive about something which does so much damage.

Because that is what mental illness can, and often does do.  Bring so much damage – especially to relationships.

Not only because very often people fail to recognize the person behind the mental illness, but because so very often it is very hard to know which behaviors or actions belong to the person and which belong to the mental illness.

And honey just as this applies to the negatives, it also applies to the positives.  And so the truth is that so often it is hard to know which positives belong to (or come from) me (and of course you – although it is clearer with you) and which come from the mental illness.

And I guess, since I am being so open, I need to admit that all too often (and whilst I can only speak for myself here, I would suggest that others like me can relate to this) I all too quickly take ownership of the stuff which probably only results from my mental illnesses and which I would probably never do, if I didn’t have those mental illnesses.

But, that having been said, there are positives and so let’s look at just a couple of them…

The very first thing which comes to mind is that I believe that it has, in some ways, brought us closer.  Or at very least (and perhaps more accurately) provided an extra, different, way in which that closeness can show itself.

And I really want to share that with you and to let you know how I have been so very touched, so very blessed, by seeing a different side to you as a result of my mental illnesses.  And as a result of you being willing to and wanting and having to deal with them and the results of them.

Honey, here is I think a common recognized pattern in life.  Adult has child and becomes parent, parent provides for child until child is old enough to have own family.  Child (now adult) has own family and provides for them. And so the cycle continues.

Of course I am over-simplifying things honey.  And of course it doesn’t always happen that way.  Heck, nowadays a lot of children are becoming parents and they haven’t even reached adulthood.  But generally that cycle exists and generally within that cycle the adult child doesn’t expect to have to look after his or her parent for some time to come.

But that has not been the case with you and I honey.  Because of my mental illnesses there have been and are times when you have had to step in and to take on a caring, more responsible, even a pseudo-parental role at times.  And honey this has given me a chance to see such a strength and such a different side to you.  And that is a positive.

The second positive, which comes to mind, is that the presence of my mental illnesses has taught us, I believe, to look beyond that which we first see or that which we first hear.  Nothing is ever (or at least it is very seldom) as clear-cut or as simple as it may at first seem.

And so this has given us the need and the opportunity to discuss things more, explore things more, consider things more. And your willingness to do this, to not jump to conclusions, is a credit to you honey.

Honey, I said above that one of the difficulties with this question is that it is often difficult to know what belongs to (or comes from) me and what belongs to (or comes from) my mental illnesses.  And that this applies to both the negatives and the positives.

With you honey it is a little more clearer.  And whilst having to deal with my mental illnesses may have introduced you to new situations, new considerations, you have responded so very well to them and I am so very blessed to have you in my life.

Thank you, and I mean this with all my heart,  for all that you do honey.

With much love.

Dad

Please note: It seems that instead of publishing this post, as I had thought I had done, yesterday.  Somehow it got chewed up in the system.  This has resulted in my having to rescue the draft version – half of which was missing – and to repair and retype a lot of it.  So apologies for it not being published yesterday.

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