This is an attempt to write out what the core cause of my mental illnesses are.
To repeat the situation I have been diagnosed with:
These are not diagnosed but I suspect they could be:
I was born and raised by a single mother. My father had some sort of addiction problem and did not stay involved in my family. I have an Aunt who was involved in my life up until I was 12 or 13.
My mother was a member and follower of Christian Science as was my Aunt and Grandmother. I guess that made me a follower too?
My Mother also toyed with beliefs in psychics, astral projection, and the belief that people were bugging our phone. Of course there is a conflict between the religion and these beliefs so I am certain that these conflicts were raging in the mind of my mother as well.
Anyway, due to these issues my mother was somewhat distant. I can only remember the portions of my life when I was older but she was not too involved in my daily activities. She was not oppressive but because she was not participating in my daily life she was not supportive either.
I did not go without food or clothes.
I can only assume that some of these behaviors occurred while I was an infant and a toddler. I have read about attachment theory, the bonding between an infant and a parent that helps develop some core feelings in the child.
Many of these feelings become automatic. (I think…) As children we only have one source of security and when that is not available either physically absent (the mother or father who have gone, died etc.) or emotionally absent (not attentive, not reflective, not emotionally involved,) a child does not develop the normal and proper trust.
Where do you turn when you are in need and the person who is supposed to support you and tend to your needs is not there?
These needs go beyond food, water, hugging, etc. They include things like attention and emotional support. Providing opportunities to explore, the chance to be an individual, and the option to think freely about the world.
I don’t think I was able to ever become secure in who I was and what I thought. Quite the opposite, I was insecure about my thoughts, my looks, my clothes, basically about me. I occasionally stuttered when I was with other children. I was nervous because I felt inferior and I felt that I would be mocked for what I had to say.
My mother was distant. She is an excellent artist, and excellent painter and drawer (is that a word?) but not once did she ever offer to teach me how to do any of these things. She was not interested in my growth in art. I recently asked her about it and she said, “You never showed any interest”
When I was old enough for little league, it was not my mother who took me, it was my aunt (who was now married and her Husband, a wonder guy also went along) who took me to little league try outs. My mother was just along on the car ride.
When the games happened, I would ride my bike to the games and of course back from the game.
My mother always provided the money needed. I never went without cleats or a glove. She always just handed me the cash to go get them – generally get them on my own or often through a neighbor’s mom.
Religion also has factored into this. It has nothing to do with what you believe or don’t believe, it has to do with the conflicts it created in my mother’s head and then the world I lived in.
Believing in Christian Science and in things like Psychics and Tarot Cards are in conflict with each other. It is also difficult to have the family participating in a religion while you don’t quiet believe in it – fully – I think.
I am not sure what she believes quite honestly. I know she thinks there is a god. She believes in doing her Christian Science Lessons (Study of the Bible and the CS books) but I do not think she ever was able to get over the guilt of having conflicting beliefs.
When I turned 13 or so we stopped going to church. I was fine with this as I really did not feel comfortable there anyway. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I decided that there was no god but in my teens it didn’t matter much to me at all. However I was not socially comfortable at the church.
I found that the Christian Scientists where quite nice but at the same time, I felt snobbery. This maybe just my social phobia coming through or it was that they were snobs. I am not sure. I just didn’t really like going there.
I can remember my Aunt coming over to visit on some Sunday’s. There would be a box of Winchell’s donuts and they would drink coffee. The conversations that I would listen to always seemed dominated by my mother who would talk of odd beliefs and tell tales of things that – well quite honestly I think they were tales of things she had imagined.
Most of these conversations ended up with them arguing.
To bring this back to me, these events were constant in my life. My mother only participated in my life when it a fuck up of mine. She became active when I got a bad grade but she wasn’t really active when I got a good grade.
I had no secure attachments to her. I could not depend on her and later on I found her a detriment to my growth. I could not feel good about myself as I had no reflection that I was good. I was not comfortable being me as my mother was not comfortable with herself, with this world, and ultimately with me either.
When I turned 18, my mother told me I had to get a job or do something to start taking care of my self.
She had not seen to it that I knew how to do anything. Not only did she not teach me to draw, she did not teach me how to ask for help, how to see a guidance counselor, how to go to college, how to get a job, on and on. I had no clue about anything in life. None.
I am not doing much better knowing things now.
That sounds ridiculous but now as an adult when I see teenagers out and about, I see things that I never was able to do. For example I watch them at the ice skating rink. They are able to talk to each other. They are able to approach someone of the opposite sex and be quite up front about their approach. I could never ever ever do this – even now
I am envious of their ability to like themselves enough to present themselves. To take a chance that they are good, and are just like everyone else.
I never feel good being me and I am not sure I ever will. I wish I could be sure I am OK, normal, smart enough etc.