In 2011 when I first become severely unwell my parents didn’t handle the situation in a helpful or positive way. At this time in my life, they had never responded helpfully to my being unwell, telling me that I “had to just get on with it” and that I shouldn’t take time off work because “everyone has to work and we don’t want to give it to you on a plate” – thankfully DWP were kinder and more empathetic to my situation.
After a constant torrent of angry assaults, and threats I chose to sever contact for the better of my health and recovery. They were making me worse, more ill, ironically. I was very upset that each time I ended in hospital and they asked about my parents I’d eventually say, “I don’t have parents” to just shut down the conversation and divert from any further probing questions.
I didn’t understand why they didn’t love me, and I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t care for me unconditionally like a parent is supposed to. I felt like a trophy child who only existed for the parts of me they could gloat and boast about – “oh isn’t she doing well?”. Yet there was never a “I’m proud of you” or a “well done”- it just was, or it wasn’t enough.
The result was a lot of hatred, hurt and anger towards them. Why me? Why couldn’t I have parents who loved me? Why couldn’t someone have noticed what was happening at home and reported it? Why couldn’t I have been taken into care, to a safer environment? Why couldn’t someone just love me for all of me, my imperfections and all? Why did I have to be such a failure and get so many mental health problems? It’s my fault they don’t love me.
And so the tug of war continued. It was me, then it was them, then it was me. To be honest, at the time I had no idea who or what it was. I just knew that I was trying to manage and cope and survive the best I could – and that meant bulimia. That meant dissociation. That meant self harm. That meant hiding from the world and living in my own dark lullaby of suicidal ideals and if not that, an emaciated existence, and for some reason I took to listening to Professor Green, particularly Read All About It, and Astronaut.