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To expect my DPs to acknowledge my mental illness?

27 replies

DollyPartonsBeard · 27/06/2017 16:37

I live with bipolar disorder. I'm in my mid forties, only child. I was previously 'well-managed' on medication for most of rhe ten or so years since diagnosis. I have a great psychiatrist and GP who are very supportive. I live with my partner a few hours away from DPs.

I have been very ill for over a year, and have had to leave my job in a demanding profession that I will not return to. My AIBU is that my DPs will not acknowledge that I live with serious mental illness. My DM will ask a perfunctory 'how are you?' during phonecalls but does not comment or even make 'listening noises' in response to my answers. I try not to get bogged down in clinical minutae, and try to be positive, so I might say 'I've been a bit flat but the new meds seem to be working' or something similar. I try to make her feel included - but not overwhelmed with the sheer horror of living with a severe depressive/ mixed episode for over a year. She will usually respond 'Oh,' at some point and that's the cue to move onto the Pie of the Week deal in M&S and never mentioned it again.

My dad has never acknowledged my illness. He occasionally sends me Facebook quizzes (Only a Genius Will Get 10/10 - that kind of thing) but glazes over if I ever answer anything other than 'fine' if he enquires how I am.

The whole situation leaves me feeling very emotionally isolated and ignored. Historically in our family there is a 'less said about that, the better' attitude, and any attempts to bring things into the open will be met by horror, silencing or accusations of me always being difficult and ungrateful and spoiling things. I had severe depression as a teenager while living at home and it was roundly ignored, with mental health issues seen (I think) as evidence of weak character and low moral fibre.

I don't really know what to do. I manage my expectations of their responses now to avoid hurt and disappointment, but it's just WEIRD that it can't be discussed. I've tried to gently let them know it's not a taboo subject and while my DM happily likes and shares mental health anti-stigma stuff on FB, it's something that clearly only happens to Other People. AIBU and WWYD?

OP posts:
Greyponcho · 28/06/2017 11:45

almostajill double standards, eh? So frustrating isn't it?
Like when my DM offered zero support or acceptance when I had depression, even though she had it a few times herself. It hurts & don't blame you for going NC with your 'family'

stinkingbishop · 28/06/2017 11:54

OP I do feel for you. I think you're right in lowering your expectations. It's sad you have to do that. But if you expect silence, then you won't be disappointed when you get it. It's a platitude, but you can't change other people, just your own reactions.

I would however grasp onto the FB straw. In her own clumsy way, your mother posting things about supporting MH is her saying she's trying to accept and be nice. Maybe just react to it with an occasional like or happy face to encourage her.

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