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My second post of the day!  To be honest I am taking a break from tidying and re-organizing my study.  I have just changed to fibre broadband – which resulted in both the installation of a new telephone and DSL socket and a new location for my new router.

I am also awaiting delivery of a new printer.  So taking a break seemed logical 🙂

And so to today’s “Questions To A Parent With Mental Illness” Challenge question set by my daughter.

DD 12

Hi again Honey,

I think that today’s question is a very relevant one for anyone who has both a family and mental illness to consider.

And of course there are three main factors in considering how mental health effects a family…

1) It depends on how bad the mental health is.

2) It depends on the structure and closeness of the family concerned, and

3) It depends on how those two things interact.

And I think that these are important factors to be remembered both by me – in answering the question, and by you (or anyone else) in reading my answer.

Because the fact is that, in our particular situation, our family is geographically all split up. As you know, now that you are all adults and have stared your own families, I live alone and thus the family’s contact with my mental health is far more limited than it would be if we all still lived together.

Of course, this can also make it a lot more difficult for you all when I am going through  difficult times or having a bad episode.  Because your all not living here means that the ways in which you can respond are limited also.

That is not to say that I think my mental health does not affect our family at all.   Because I am sure that it does.  Although I would imagine that just how it affects you all is something which I don’t always get to see.  

For example, I am sure – and it is totally understandable if there was – that there would, in the past, have been a number of text messages or conversations – specific to my mental health – going between you kids which I am not aware about.  And, as I say, that is totally understandable.    

So honey please know that I am at least aware that it does, at times, cause you concern.  And honey I would also like you to know how grateful I am that you do have each other to talk to about these things.  Because I am very much aware, that not all of you are willing or able to talk to me about them.

But I think honey, that purely as a result of you all being older and living away from the family home now, my mental health has a much lesser impact than it does for other people and their families.  And honey I am so very much aware that there are families who have split apart and/or which have isolated and shunned each other purely as a result of mental illness. And I am so grateful that this generally is not the case in our family.  (But having seen the question for tomorrow – I will come back to that when answering that question.)

Which, I think, brings me to the last part of my answer…  

And that is to say that it is entirely possible – and perhaps my answer demonstrates this – that I am blissfully unaware of just what effect my mental health does have.

Certainly I have, in the past, experienced (or felt that I have experienced) a reluctance on the part of some of you, and even an out right refusal on the part of one of you, to discuss my mental health.  And honey, I am sure that you have each had good reason for this.  But it does limit my understanding of the impact my mental health has.  And honey perhaps that is the motivation behind that reluctance or that refusal.  So as not to concern me or worsen my mental health. That of course doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still concern me.  And I have to be honest honey that reluctance and that refusal does often make it was rather than better.  But isn’t that often the way of things?  Things which we do with the best of intentions actually having the opposite effect?  And aren’t I also sometimes guilty of the same thing? 

So there you have it honey.  I am sure that I will have other thoughts on this question. And given its direct link to tomorrow’s question (yes, I admit it, I already sneaked a peak when checking out today’s question) I will probably cover more of this tomorrow.  

Again, I am so enjoying these questions and the follow-up comments and conversations honey.

With all my love.

Dad.

Sure of You

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