Through a child’s eyes. Through a mother’s eyes
I noticed recently a report from The Care Quality Commission and Ofsted on Twitter that recommends to the government that children of parents with a mental health condition should be identified, in other words checked up on. This has got me thinking, as it is an issue that often is on my mind, do parents with a mental health diagnosis affect their children in anyway so that later in life they suffer with similar problems?
Here is the Ofsted report – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/258178.php
I come at this with two pairs of eyes two sets of understanding I am a daughter of a schizophrenic mum and I have two daughters and myself have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.
I have to say on first reading this report I was personally outraged, I felt shame , I felt stigmatised I cried I wondered am I a good enough mother? It’s one of my biggest fears it resonates around my head like a vicious whirlpool, I could never hurt my children, but there are others who believe I could ? HOW DARE THEY!!! But do I, are they affected do I need to move away from them? These are all questions I have asked myself, I have doubted myself, am I now a monster because I have a mental health diagnosis? And now you are thinking of coming to judge me, do you know how much shame I already feel without that being added to it, do you ? Stigma stigma stigma, attach it to me why don’t you??
My children are my life, my reason, my everything, I do everything to protect them, I watch them grow up and away into two gorgeous wonderful beings, like butterflies becoming their own person. I feel so much love for them, I always will. They are ok I know, I am so careful as a mother, I know what a bad childhood looks like, I know I have seen and I won’t repeat that. Lessons I have learned. Validate the hell out of my kids. Hug them often.
My childhood, my mum sectioned , taken away, overdosing, shouting, screaming, in bed, I’m frightened, alone, hiding, out of control, rocking heads, strange man, no one to help, no support, would I have been better out of that situation? Should I have had someone check up on my family? What would they have done? Taken me and my brother and sisters into care? Would that have helped? I don’t think so, that is not the answer. Children in care don’t do very well. When you have checked up on me and my family, what is the plan? How are you going to support me if I need it? Or are you just checking to tick a box? How can you possibly help ?
I know that my mum constant absences caused disorganised attachments which led to my fears of abandonment, which cause me to struggle as I do today, could you support people to stay with their parents is that the answer? Or are you just checking for the sake of checking? Box tick , tick box.
I know some children need to be removed but moved from bad to bad maybe, I do not know the answer to this. Maybe it’s what needs thinking about. How best help and protect. It’s hard.
I love this quote from the recommendations
“Adult mental health services and drug and substance misuse services play an important role in child protection. The point of our joint work is not to question the parenting ability of people with mental health problems, many lead perfectly ordinary family lives. ”
Yes I do lead a very ordinary life and just because I have a mental health diagnosis does not give you the right to question me. Don’t judge me by my label but who I am and what I struggle to do everyday, because yes life is hard for me but understand instead, see how much love I have for my children.
So when you come checking on me, I just need you to know, I may need support because you will make me feel so ashamed.
As for my question at the beginning do people with a mental health diagnosis affect their children? I think all parents affect their children to the good or bad and having a mental health diagnosis is not the point it’s how dysfunctional a family is, divorce, screaming in front of your kids, invalidating them and you don’t need a diagnosis to do that.
I wonder if anyone has any ideas, thoughts, solutions.