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Did you have a mother with MH problems?

(28 Posts)
dangermouseisace Sun 14-Aug-16 19:49:10

I'm curious as there seems to be many people posting here with bad experiences of parents with MH problems.

I worry about my kids. I know they love me. But I'm nearly divorced from their father and wonder whether it would be better if they lived with him and his trollop sorry partner rather than me. We split up because he was having an affair…financial problems from him before that, but he doesn't have any MH issues. I can't help but feel that even if I am 'well' it is selfish for me to have them, as they may well be better off with their dad who is definitely more steady/reliable. When I'm 'well' I'm probably more sensitive to their needs than he is, but when I'm not I'm just awful. As there has been a lot of unwell over the past few years I am concerned that being exposed to that sort of thing for too much of their lives is not good, that a steady life with fewer extremes would be better. ExDH partner likes my kids and I know she wanted her own but I think she may have missed the boat on that one. Therefore I know that they would be well looked after.

I am genuinely curious. My mum had MH problems and dad didn't but I would have rather lived with my mum given the choice. I don't want that to influence any decision that I make. I know that ex DH was thinking of going for custody of kids around Christmas this year as my solicitor told me and I'm thinking that I could well be being selfish having them with me.

BrainEater Mon 15-Aug-16 23:34:06

My parents both have mental health problems. They are great parents and always have been. Wouldn't want to have grown up with anyone else.

happyfrown Wed 17-Aug-16 00:50:40

its such a relief to hear some one has same thoughts as me

my mum has mental health problems but so damn stubborn she never has and will not admit it and wont seek help. life growing up in her home wasn't nice, no love or affection, she was cold. no conversation unless it was to tell us how much we do her head in etc.. she was numb most the time and like a bear with a sore head the rest. we were just 'around' the house go to school, come home sit in my room as the atmosphere down stairs was awful, go to bed and cry (for no reason which now I understand was depression)

the sad thing is history has repeated and sadly I have no connection with my eldest 2 ds's, unlike my mother I admit I need help, do seek help for my mental health.
I too think they would be better off with their father as most days im so low I cant argue with them to brush their teeth, change underwear and so on, house rules and manners, I feel a failure. where as the dad would be ontop of it. they would go on holiday and days out whereas they would never get that with me. im swallowed up with guilt that I would give up my dc, that im a bad mum. but I feel a bad mum either way.

as with my upbringing I would of JUMPED at the chance to be brought up by my dad, he's side of the family were always laughing, having family do's, out down the pub, we'd play snooker, darts have coca cola (which was like goldust with mum)
never wanted to go home on a sunday.... unfortunately dad didn't want us on a permanent basis. sorry to rant on but I couldn't express it in short.

happyfrown Wed 17-Aug-16 00:58:04

I truly believe if I lived with dad and was around love, and people who cared and shown emotions, lived life to fullest I wouldnt be suffering today? although I will never know x

Disabrie22 Thu 18-Aug-16 01:13:09

It's hard and isolating growing up with a parent with mental illness - the best thing you can do is try and break the cycle with medicine, therapy and aiming for balance.

dangermouseisace Thu 18-Aug-16 11:04:37

kids want to stay with me at the moment…though they might have changed their minds by the end of the hols the way things are going hard and hollow LOL

I'm trying to improve things but it just seems that maybe this is just how it is?

TopazRocks Thu 18-Aug-16 15:15:12

I'm not sure what to make of my (both dead now) parents, but certainly they had MH problems in both their own families, and my mum was definitely adversely affected in her parenting style by her own experiences of having a father who was mentally ill. She was a very anxious person in many ways. My dad was of the school that he couldn't allow himself to be 'stressed' - as if that is under conscious control!! - and had lots of stress-related illness and, i think, problems with anger. Several of his uncles and aunts had MH problems and/or committed suicide. He found an uncle hanging when he/dad was 18 - that has to have affected him.

I've worried about my depression etc affecting my dc. Luckily they were older when i became really unwell but my eldest - in mid-20s - is having help with anxiety and depression. It upsets me - to a point - that this has happened. But as mental illness is so common, it's a possibility for anyone in spite of family Hx. I do feel sad for my son and concerned about him - he's having good care though and is getting better - but in a way I'm just glad he's gone for help.

dangermouseisace Fri 19-Aug-16 13:13:48

Oh my goodness topaz finding something like that is my worst nightmare.

Glad your son is getting help and I hope you are too.

Kids are off for a week without me- I was meant to be going with them. I've been so useless. I've had middle one shout/scream at me more than once "you're not listening to me!" And youngest is blaming herself for me being unwell (she hasn't been sleeping) I've assured her that it definitely isn't her fault but it is really worrying.
Their dad is always v busy with work, has problems with honesty but is always able to keep going, does well professionally and is in a steady relationship, has routines etc. I feel like I've spent most of the past few years unwell, much of that as a reaction to relationship with their dad, but that's in the past and there is no excuse for being like this now. I keep thinking I should have a conversation with him about him having the kids. He lives in a different city so it would mean upheaval for the kids. I'm petrified that the kids are getting damaged by me.

happyfrown Fri 19-Aug-16 18:41:15

im afraid ive cracked and have had that conversation with my ds's dad sad I just feel unfixable, im terrified ive damaged them already. the dads family live in france so it would be a complete up route too, but there are hundreds of loving family waiting there whereas here
both me and ex-p don't have family (well we do but they might as well be in space) only reason why he aint moved over before is he didn't want to leave his boys behind. I must come across as a complete shit mum but I do love them, so much that I want the best in life and that's not what they're getting. I don't know if im doing the right thing and my head is everywhere right now.

dangermouseisace Fri 19-Aug-16 18:48:35

are you getting any support at all happyfrown?

bigfriendlygiant Fri 19-Aug-16 19:02:20

My mum has moderate - severe MH problems : periods of wellness and periods of being poorly.
My parents are still together and my grandparents lived on the same street until they passed away when we were all adults.
It was very hard growing up with a parent who had an invisible illness that I didn't have the maturity or knowledge to understand myself nor explain to friends. However, I was incredibly lucky to have a strong support system in place and a safe place to go when mum was at her most poorly.

I really don't know what's best for you and your children - sharing residency with your ex-H? Do you have other family who can support you and them? I think having our support network and staying close to mum was probably best for our family.

One thing that I believe would have benefited us as children is being educated and informed to what was going on. We were "protected" but it often left us in the dark and not knowing why mummy wouldn't see us.

And one last thing, despite a hideous teenage rebellion and a shaky early 20s, my mum and me (and my siblings) have an excellent relationship. We all cope much better with her poorly periods and when she's healthy, she's fabulous. I wouldn't want to change anything about her... and I'm sure your children feel exactly the same. flowers

myownperson Fri 19-Aug-16 19:06:28

Oh dangermouse, it's so weird when you read someone thinking your exact thoughts. I have deliberated over this a lot recently. I have started to accept my feelings are NOT my fault. But that doesn't make any difference to how good a mum I am being. It would feel dreadfully unfair that I lose my children. But again that's not relevant to what's best for my children.

Here are my thoughts. I hated, absolutely hated, growing up with a mum with mental health problems. But her problems made her behave horribly. Mine don't. Crap at times, but not mean. But despite her behaviour, my worst fear was her walking away. Something that was a real risk. I don't want my DC to feel abandoned ever.

Like you I know when I am well that I am very good for my DC and aware of their needs.

My approach - and this is all much newer to me than you, is to try create some back up. I have a very young child, so have contacted health visitors. I have no friends or family anywhere nearby. My husband has good contact which helps me cope better when I'm with them. Although I hate the time apart dreadfully just now, I know there is another good influence in their life, I know I get a mental rest. He is no more perfect than I am. His flaws are different. My children need us both. I just bloody hope I'm getting that right.

One day I am determined I will cope better with life. I don't want to take steps now that cannot be undone. For the good of my children, I don't want to do that.

I need to edit my messages! Another long one. smile

MrsHardy1 Fri 19-Aug-16 19:06:44

Very quick reply because I'm at work but hopefully I can offer a bit of reassurance. My mum had severe MH issues and while she was very difficult I'd have never chosen to live with my dad instead (who has always been more 'stable').

myownperson Fri 19-Aug-16 19:08:29

Cross post with happyfrown. Sorry flowers

happyfrown Fri 19-Aug-16 23:19:42

no dangermouse I don't really get support, which is probably why things have turned out how they have. most peoples reply on here is more or less saying don't give up on your children, I hope you find a way to heal your thoughts. just wish my reply could have been more like other posters sad x

myownperson Sat 20-Aug-16 07:04:34

happyfrown I'm sorry, it must be tough reading these responses. Nobody knows your situation like you though. It doesn't matter what people think about their own situations. You are clearly very concerned about what is best for your children. You sound exactly like a very loving mother in a very tough situation.

You may well have worked out what is best for your children. And you should not feel bad at all for trying to do that.

But....I would worry about you having no support in life or with that decision process. I wonder if there is anyone you can get some support from? Is shared residency with exP something you have talked about? Would that give you the break you need to cope better? Are you getting as much help as is available with your mental health? Have you talked through these thoughts with anyone?

Please do ignore my questions if you prefer. I'm sure you have thought hard about this. flowers

dangermouseisace Sat 20-Aug-16 09:30:03

Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences. Turns out there are a lot of us out there with similar thoughts/experiences.

bigfriendlygiant it's funny you mention that knowing what is going on is important. After I was in hospital last time a social worker did some work with the kids around that. I hadn't even mentioned to the kids being unwell again until I had to make my excuses on Thursday. myownperson creating a back up plan is extremely sensible.

happyfrown have you and your ex properly decided that is what you should do? Are you at least getting some help with your mental health?
Since I posted social services have got involved again- and I even told them that the kids are better off without me and given them concrete reasons why but they have suggested that might not be the best idea and have said support might be more appropriate. I didn't think that there actually was anything... I'm sure our last social worker would have agreed that the kids were better off without me straight away though!

ohdearme1958 Sat 20-Aug-16 20:48:14

I did. In fact my mum died in our local psychiatric hospital the last time she was sectioned. She choked on her lunch, a mouthful of fish and chips. Nothing could be done to save her and we switched her life support off 4 days later. She died 18 years ago aged 58. The same age I am now. I adored her. I still do. Yes there were times when her ill health got in the way of the way she wanted to mother us. And yes it took me quite a while to become a well rounded adult. BUT when my mum was able to be the mother she wanted to be she was the best mum in the world. No one else had one like her and no one ever will. She was mine and always will be.

Were SS involved with us due to my parents being divorced when I was 14? No they weren't. My granny and grandad were always there for us, we would live with them when my mum was in hospital. It was the way in those days and I live my life now the very same way. Family first.

Number4OnTheWay Sat 20-Aug-16 20:55:12

I'm realising that my mother did have mental health issues, however she was of her era and it was shameful to have any problems.
I started down the path of depression when my DC were young and decided to get help. I've been in private therapy for 4 years now and am determined to raise my children with a 'healthy' attitude to mental health, anxiety and help.
My mum thinks it's shameful I'm in therapy and it's something I should be embarrassed of and something I should hide from people. Its obviously a cause of contention between us sad

ChunkyMonkey4321 Sat 20-Aug-16 20:59:56

My mum has MH problems, her mum before her and me too. To be honest, when I was a teenager there were probably times when I thought, if my parents were divorced I would rather live with my dad. Mostly because he doesn't talk so I imagined I could do whatever I wanted. I had a very strained relationship with her in my teens but it's much better now. I'm also very concerned about the effect my mental health has on my children. It's difficult. They love you no matter what though.

happyfrown Sun 21-Aug-16 20:06:22

dangermouse & myownperson

ive been involved with the health care professionals for at least 5yrs, they say I am my own worst enemy, im quite aware of my health and that I need parenting classes, which I have done 5 of since my 2nd ds was born. ive run out of steam trying to get them to help.

I told my ex he NEEDS to take the ds's, im not coping they aint getting the best upbringing and he has more support over in france. if we had shared residency he would palm them off back here every time he needed to go shopping or out on the town etc. im not doing this to swap roles I need him to have full care. they may hate me when they get older I just don't know. i do know my dcs will be the death of me through guilt of not being a better mum. my head is so sick of thoughts sad
i have borderline personality disorder.

i had them young, kind of on a whim partly to spite my mum and i craved some one to love and vice-versa, my ex promised me the world and a comfort blanket, taking me away from my numb mess of a mum and horrid home - instead he turned out to be an alcoholic drug taking arsehole who left me at home to cope with the dc while he retained his lifestyle. i cracked after 8yrs and told him to do one. (he is off drink and drugs now) as far as im aware, i do ask the kids if he was drinking whilst in their care, they say no.
i can imagine people swearing into this thread saying im a failure. your right i am.

emmalees Sun 21-Aug-16 20:13:50

My grandmother was sectioned multiple times when I was a teen
My sister was sectioned multiple time
My mum said she had manic depression and was on anti depressants since she was 11. Imo she they could all be female Aspergers but misdiagnosed as borderline / BPD, all had strong abuse As children

My mother was cold negative critical never happy. I always said if live with my dad if I could.

happyfrown Sun 21-Aug-16 20:24:45

sorry that ''palm off'' bit came out wrong, cant put in words right but i don't go out on nights out because it don't entertain me and even if it did i have kids and don't want to put them on anyone so i can go out.
i take them everywhere if i need to get things done, i don't rely on no one. but im pretty sure he wouldn't be so keen. and part of me feels he shouldn't get it so easy as ive done everything on my own! selfish i might come across im sorry.

myownperson Sun 21-Aug-16 20:26:26

I'm not sure what to say but I'm sorry things are so difficult.

dangermouseisace Sun 21-Aug-16 20:40:05

ohdearme I'm so sorry that you lost your mother in those circumstances. I'm glad that she managed to be a brilliant mum despite her difficulties.
chunkymoney that is my worry- that kids love their parents no matter what…that I could be absolutely horrific and they'd still love me but I'd be doing them harm...
happyfrown apologies first if anything comes out wrong but I'm having a brain fail day (well most days are)
You are not a failure. You have looked after your kids, you have kept them safe from a father who was abusing substances. You have attended parenting courses, you have said you are struggling. Bringing up 2 kids on your own is hard, especially if your own parenting has been sub optimal.

From what you've written though, it seems that you would be the better parent. Ok ex doesn't abuse drink/drugs now, but he has shown in the past that he is not able to put the needs of the kids first. You have shown that you have.

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