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I don't know how to respond?

My mum is giving me a hard time about my mental illnesses, she's never been very understanding, I used to send her fact sheets about mental illnesses in general and specifically about my illnesses, things like what not to say to someone suffering from a mental illness, why you shouldn't say those things and how to help someone with such illnesses, until she said they're boring and told me to stop, but recently she has all of a sudden decided that I'm completely not mentally ill and I never have been.

-she was yelling at me quite aggressively last night for not being able to sleep for Two days and I said “it's a symptom of mental illness, I thought you knew that...” and she said “you're not mental!!” and she has been saying it a lot lately, another time I replied with “denying it won't make it go away” but she still keeps trying to convince me I have no problems at all and I'm “normal”, she even said “you're not crazy, you don't have schizophrenia or autism!” that made me so mad, I think that was just an incredibly disrespectful and ignorant thing to say. Not just disrespectful to me, but to anyone who has any mental illness and anyone who has any kind of autism. So I just walked away, and wrote a note. I chose a blue pencil, and I wrote about some of the evidence that proves I suffer from mental illnesses, like how a psychiatrist said I needed to be admitted to hospital and I'm “clearly suffering”, how the mental health professional at the hospital actually called her, and said I needed medication and psychotherapy, and she responded to the note with “you just love to say you've got problems. People who really have problemns try to hide it.” (I did hide it from her, I've had depression since I was Fourteen and only told her about it this year, I'm Nineteen next month.) I never talk about my illnesses voluntarily, I only ever speak about them if she brings it up, I was ashamed of my illnesses for years because she had taught me my whole life to be judgemental toward anyone who wasn't “normal” but once I learned the facts about mental illnesses, I learned to accept it, and I realised how stupid it is to be judgemental of anyone, especially when you don't understand what they're going through. But I guess my mum just refuses to accept it. She said “okay, how about this!...-” (as if she was about to finally say something I didn't have a logical answer for) “You're not doing anything to get better.” -I've been seeing psychologists and psychiatrists for Four years, I go on forums to get help, I do reasearch, I talk to Kidshelpline, I have Four journals that are pretty much just me beating myself up every day trying to get better. And she says I'm not doing anything. I just replied “I have an appointment with my psychiatrist next month...” and she said, “well it's not working. You don't even talk to him, you're not trying!”. I said, “He said that I have selective mutism. I can't speak to him because I have an illness called selective mutism.” then my highly abusive sister said “if you really had problems, you would want to get better.” meanwhile, her suicidal friend who is the main victim of her abuse, refuses to talk to any mental health professional because my sister brainwashed her into thinking that would make her less normal.

So all of this is effecting me negatively because I don't know how to respond to such nonsense and what they're saying makes me feel horrible inside.

I keep thinking about my delusions, and how people trying to tell me my reality is wrong is upsetting and won't work, so I think maybe I shouldn't try to tell them that denying my experience is wrong, but I have no idea what to say to them, my mum is the type of person who will not allow me to say “I really don't want to talk about this”, no matter how many times I say it she demands answers, and she just yells and yells and I can't handle being yelled at. This makes me so frustrated. and being told I'm just faking it or something is doing the opposite of helping. Like, if I was so apparently “normal” (I've really grown to hate that word) why on earth would I say I have mental illnesses?


Re: I don't know how to respond?

Hey @neko,

I'm sorry to hear that your mum and sister aren't being supportive at all. It sounds like you've put in a lot of effort to try and provide your mum with info about what you're going through, so good job on persisting with that and with getting help even despite the unsupportive atmosphere.

Is there a way to make it so that you don't have to discuss it with her? What specific questions is she asking and not accepting 'not talking about it' for?


Re: I don't know how to respond?

Firstly @neko I am so sorry you are in a situation where you feel you have to justify your depression and justify the work you are doing to manage this. You are fighting such a hard battle in the first place and it is clear this situation is causing you a lot of additional stress.


The thing that stood out to me from your post is how many great things you are doing to look after yourself: seeking help, maintaining appointments with your psychiatrist, keeping communication open by choosing methods that work for you, staying interested in your diagnosis and treatment, and using coping strategies. Wow. Even writing that all out impresses me again!


Do you think there is something in particular she is concerned about that means she is hesitant to accept your diagnosis? Would you consider having her involved in your mental health plan in a small way? Such as taking you to appointments or coming with you when you collect medication. Do you think that is something you would do and she could be open to?


What you feel is what you feel and that is always valid. No one should be made to feel like their own feelings are wrong because someone else chooses not to acknowledge them. Like Dr. Suess said 'there is no one alive who is youer than you'. Smiley Wink


Re: I don't know how to respond?

Hey @neko


I too am sorry you're in an environment at the moment where you aren't being supported throughout your battle with mental illness and that your mum (and sister) react the way they do towards it and you. However as @Kit said in her post, your feelings and thoughts are valid, no matter what anyone else says or does. They are still your feelings and they are perfectly okay to feel and have. 


Good on you @neko for coming to the RO forums for some help and all the other ways you are trying to help yourself. That's something to be really proud of! It's difficult to help yourself sometimes when you're in the midst of depression and mental illness but you are doing it and maintaining it all despite that and despite the additional struggles you are having with your mum. So, give yourself a big pat on the back for that and to remind yourself, perhaps write something about it in your journal. A positive affirmation regarding seeking help and support and trying to get well and all the work and effort you're putting in!  


As for responding to your mum, maybe it would be good to take a step back from the situation. It sounds like you really want you mum to understand and accept what your going through but if she's not able to do that and it's effecting you negatively then perhaps, the only way to respond is to create some distance. How would you feel about that and do you think it would help you? Sometimes we want people we care about to desperately understand, I know there were many times during the course of my illness that I just wished my parents would accept it. Eventually they did and it took a lot for their eyes to open and for them to realise but the best thing I could do in the meantime was accept they weren't going to be my main sources of support.


You obviously know within yourself that you're doing your absolute best, there's no harm in being mindful of that. Keep reminding yourself, that the situation really sucks but that it isn't your fault your mum reacts the way she does and it is okay to feel confused about it all. It is okay to be frustrated too and upset. Just don't put it all back on yourself. The reason your mum can't accept things isn't to do with you but her own issues and how she perceives mental illness. 


Know at least we here on RO accept you for who you are, mental illness or not. And we can always be here to talk and support you, whenever you need. All you need to do is ask and you've done that today so I'm really proud of you @neko and I hope you're proud of yourself too Smiley Happy 


Re: I don't know how to respond?



How're you doing? 

Re: I don't know how to respond?

Hey @neko how are things going for you since the weekend? 


Reading through your post I can see you already have some awesome self-care strategies in place, and it's great that you seem to be quite in tune with your needs and emotions. It sounds like you are quite frustrated with your family at the moment, and feel like they really aren't listening to you and what you are experiencing. Do you find speaking with Kidshelpine is useful for you? Headspace are also a fantastic resource and also have support for parents and family, as do BeyondBlue. 


What resources or information have you provided your family with in the past?


Re: I don't know how to respond?

Hey @neko, I'm really sorry that you're mum and your sister have been treating you so poorly about being mentally ill. Stigma and stereotypes about mental illness can be really crappy to deal with, especially when they're coming from your family. 


I really want to emphasise what other people on this thread have been saying in that what you're feeling and what you're experiencing is completely valid. Dealing with mental health issues and trying to find some kind of recovery from them is very rarely a straight forward journey, so the fact that the treatment you've been seeking hasn't resulted in what your mum defines as "normal" absolutely isn't your fault. It sounds like she and your sister have pretty impossible and harmful standards of how people should behave, so I'm glad you've recognised that.


@Butterfly Wings mentioned the idea of you getting some distance from your family, which I think would be really helpful. It might not be possible to do that on a long term basis if you're living together, but even taking a bit of time out for yourself each day to find your own space might be useful. Self-care would also be a great way of creatig some distance for you mentally/emtionally. If you need some ideas about some self-care thing you could do, it might help to have a look at this thread here.


Just remember that just because your mum and sister perceive your journey negatively, doesn't mean that you're doing anything wrong. Everyone's process with mental illness is different and it sounds like you're doing incredibly in seeking support Smiley Happy