How mental illness affects family relationships

December 14, 2019

It’s not uncommon in mental illness, for the child to be made to feel like they have got the power to make the parent feel better or worse or even that they are responsible. for what happens to the parent. I think it depends on the person and the family, because if you’re made to feel like you’re responsible for whatever happens in the house regardless, whether it’s your mother, or if there’s food on the table, or if your homework’s done. You could use that to the good of the family, which would help benefit your parent if they do have mental illness. So, they feel like, your child can also help as well as you. I mean, talking personally like um- I think housing’s a big issue in terms of like, how it is. Not so much the actual house, the size of the house, more like the space and how tidy it is. Them feeling lonely, you wanna create company for them, you wanna… Help them with… You know, things that people your age necessarily, like, are not like, normally responsible for. These things all impact from an early age, if you grow up… poorer with a rubbish diet with crap schooling, with a poor social system around you, on a very tough estate, these are all risk factors of going on in later life to having poorer mental health. And we know that You know, that’s well evidenced and well researched. It’s like if you have to take care of all those things from quite a young age, before you do things that other children your age have to do like homework and organisation outside of the home. If, like, you have to tackle those things first before you get to that, and I think that’s… it’s harder for some young carers to take care of their responsibilities out of the home. Even with like, such simple things as like, school work and stuff like that, because so much comes first, and so much is more of a priority before that. I think, with my mum, like, cause I dunno… She’s got like, this really bad spending habit. Like, she doesn’t understand that she can’t spend her money on whatever she wants to and it’s like it creates problems for the whole family. Cause like, I’m pretty sure if she didn’t have a mental illness she wouldn’t spend her money on the stuff that she did. So, like, financial difficulties are probably one of the biggest things for our family. Especially as, none of them can work, because of her illness. Yeah. Also, the thing that mum got was sometimes, just feeling like she can’t, she can’t do stuff for her children. So, like, even like, moneywise like, they can’t go on holiday because she’s ill. and then she feels like she’s to blame and that can make her very down. So, that’s something that in social work we probably would say is disempowerment. So feeling, that you don’t have control or power over your immediate family. Cause as mums and dads, the jobs is to be in charge to be in control, to look after the family, to look after the children. Not to be ill. Isn’t it? And that’s really tough. I guess also feeling lonely is another one of these? Because like, my mother, like, has to sometimes like go out and… Cause my granny, she’s like eighty… Eighty six of something? And… And my… my uncles they just like come over and leave like, a huge mess, and obviously my grandmother can’t really clean it up. So, my mother has to go there and then my father doesn’t feel very happy, because he’s being left alone. And you said about creating a big mess? I mean, we haven’t really talked about where we live. Our physical environment. Is that important? If you’re mentally ill, you can’t take care of your housing properly and you have to rely on other people. (Offscreen) Yeah. And, you don’t want to bring people over, cause your way of living is like, completely different. Like, really disorganised, because the person in charge of it is disorganised. Absolutely. Absolutely. There’s also not getting the social support that you need. (Offscreen) Yeah. You just begin to bring yourself up, because you know, like, you know that you’re in charge and you know that you’ve got responsibilities. And like, it’s more or a personal thing than like… Like psychiatrists can’t help with that, they can’t do anything. I mean you can… you can put them on benefits or whatever, but there’s still like a roleplay. Like the mother can’t be a mother, because of her mental health. So, their children have to kind of take charge and bring… Like, keep it together. (Offscreen) Like practically as well. Not just emotionally. Sometimes, I get into arguments a lot with my mum and I feel like it’s my fault a lot of the time as well. Cause like, I dunno, like sometimes I just kind of forget that she… She does these weird things, that really get on my nerves and I forget that it’s not her fault. And like… And then later on I realise like, wow I shouldn’t have said that, like, I feel so bad. And then, I dunno? When you blame yourself, do you actually think you’re right to blame yourself? (Offscreen) Yeah. Do you? Do you all agree with her? I don’t agree with you, because it’s so easy to kind of feel responsible. Because you’re in that environment and you’re always around her, and it’s someone that you love. Well then you have to also bear in mind that there are other factors, that causes her to, you know, have the mental illness. And there’s also other things, like biological things, that’s going on in the brain that you have no control over. So no matter how nice you are, or caring, and you know, no matter how much of an angel you are… (Laughs) You can’t actually change the mental illness. You’re just one little factor in the- No, not a little factor, it’s a big factor, cause you can completely change their mood as well. Like, like you can just sit down with them and their mood will completely change, regardless of what’s going on in their brain. (Offscreen) Well, are there times when you sat with her and her mood hasn’t changed? Yeah, multiple times, but at the same time like, it’s also changed fifty percent as well. (Offscreen) Well the thing is, I wouldn’t put yourself… I wouldn’t say you’re responsible, because you can’t really change… You can change her mood, cause, you know obviously she loves you, but, you know, if she does have a relapse you can’t blame yourself, because there’s other things. There’s more to it. You know, you have in that relation… good relationship with her. It’s good and you know, that’s what… we talk about the environmental factors… it’s one of those things, that kind of improve her mood, but it’s just one of the other things that there are. It’s so easy to say… It’s easier said than done isn’t it? But, just keep reassuring yourself that it’s not your… It’s not your fault, you’re not responsible for her illness. It’s other things, that’s out of your control. (Offscreen) Yeah. You can only do so much sometimes. The important thing to take onboard is just because you’re loved one isn’t taking a message onboard that’s obvious to you, it’s not your fault. Basically. And sometimes, we all need help. Okay? It’s not just someone in the family but, …you need… other professionals to come and help you out and give you support.

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