Sunday, January 13, 2013
Who Would Have He Been Without Mental Illness?
I often wonder who my Dad would have been if he had never been mentally ill.
He mastered in art at Brigham Young University. His chosen medium was oil paints, but enjoyed sketching with pencil.
He was a talented gardener. His garden was huge, and bountiful. He never asked for help because he enjoyed doing it so much.
He liked walks before his Parkinson's became severe. I was always surprised how long and far he could walk.
The man knows his scriptures.
He had a beautiful wife who loved him unconditionally.
He has 6 children who are responsible and hard working people.
It looks great on paper. But it is hard for me to separate these facts from his mental illness. For me and my brothers, each of these accomplishments are surrounded by mental illness.
His art took a turn for the disturbed.
His garden and his animals was his love. He found comfort and joy in the solitude of his farm and not in the presence of his family. He made financial decisions that supported his animals and not his family.
The man knew his scriptures TOO well. He felt he was ordered by God to retranslate the Book Of Mormon. He literally had hundreds and hundreds of pages he had written with odd and bizarre writings he believed were from God.
He neglected and took advantage of his wife's generosity and love. I know my parents were in love. But I wonder how it would have been if my father could have loved my mother completely in the way she deserved.
The relationship between his children is broken, or maybe it was never there to break. It is hard to reach out to a man who doesn't desire your company. He wants to be alone in his head. We were neglected, forgotten, and disliked when we would stand up to his warped ideas.
If you have loved ones who are mentally ill, you are not alone, even if it feels like it.
Talk about it, scream if you have to.
Put a name to it. It's mental illness.
People will judge your circumstances. They don't know what's happening and they don't understand. Let them go and move on to what you need to do to take care of yourself.
There will be people who don't believe you. Turn away.
Knowledge gives you power. Ask questions and question everything.
You have no control over this. You are along for the ride, but you can decide the direction you want your life to take.
Release your frustration, your pain, your anger.
Forgive. And then forgive some more. And forgive again.
This will most likely never get better. But you will!
You can read my brother's words about our father starting here.