The Burden of Living with a Psych Patient
Being brought up by a parent who was suffering from suffering from Major Depressive Disorder seemed to be the most unfortunate things that ever happened in my life and those of my siblings. However, there was a lot that I learned and it helped me to build strength and appreciate, love and have the need to care other people. Life wasn’t easy as a child. By the time I was born, my dad had already been diagnosed with the disorder. It is one of the worst forms of what psychiatric conditions taught me, and can easily lead to major family breakdown.
There are many memories that I can recall about our family, but the worst of all is that I developed hatred for my dad when I was young. He was usually abusive and I hated how he treated mom. There was a lot of domestic violence in our home and living together with dad was a real nightmare. One of my siblings has recently being diagnosed with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of our turbulent childhood.
However, whenever I try to recall all this and remember how my mum stuck by him and taught me to appreciate and love our dad, I can’t fail to realize the importance of caring for people with mental illnesses.
There are multiple times when we had to flee from home because of him, but soon mum would find a way of reconciling with dad and we would get back home. She really loved him and from her description of how they met and shared their first love, there was a clear indication that she wasn’t ready to leave him no matter the situation. Today, they are happy together.
Coming to Terms and Understanding the pain of Psych Patients
Dad was usually worst when he got panic attacks which were usually as a result of anxiety. He usually had many dreams and was a very ambitions person. Whenever he was responding to medications he would have great plans which he would start executing.
Problems usually started when he foresaw the progress that he was making on whatever venture that he was working on and would thus become more anxious of the success even before he would realize it. This would change his moods and soon he would become maniac-depressed.
The results were never exciting at all. There are times that he would decide to go out and celebrate his ‘success’ and would come home drunk and quite violent which would trigger chaos at home. In other instances, whenever something that he was working on failed to materialize or tried to show signs of stagnation, he would often blame my mum for the bad luck. This too had severe consequences. There was an instance that he tried to kills my mum. Vividly, I recall how that day he had woke up as usual, being on a weekend, he was supposed to work half-day. He prepared himself, we had breakfast together like normal people and then he proceeded to work.
When he came back home in the afternoon, he was a different person. He felt suicidal because a lottery ticket that he had bought didn’t win, yet he had planned to buy a home with the proceeds of the lottery. This reasoning made a war to break up and my mum was badly hurt. Luckily, our neighbor Simon, who was also a family friend, heard the commotion and rushed to rescue my mum before he called his friends who later took dad to the hospital. He was sedate and later discharged the following day.
However, after he arrived home, he refused to take the drugs and claimed that he wasn’t sick. By evening that day, hell broke loose when he came with a hammer and tried hitting mom on the end with it. Were it not for his co-worker who had come to visit, my mum would be no more.
Care for Patients with Mental Disorder is Necessary to help one Heal
Life may have been harsh but my mom taught us resilient. She taught us to take care of dad and to love him. She used to encourage him to take drugs and would at times accompany him when he went out for short walk or to visit his favorite golf club. Also when he went for medical appointments, my mum ensured that she went with him. This helped to make my dad feel loved especially in instances when he had low esteem and suffered social withdrawal.
My mom’s efforts were critical in enabling us build a good relationship with dad and especially love him despite his psychiatric conditions. The positive approach was also vital in enabling dad to take his medicine regularly and discourage him form skipping the psychiatrists’ appointments. That helped dad to live positively and be able to work, thus seeing us through college before eventually retiring to the rural home that he had built.