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Re: Growing up with parents with mental illness

It's months, I think since I've been on this website. I have been so busy preparing my applicantion to the State Administrative Tribunal so that my family  will be able to address the issues that need addressing, finalising and putting to rest. In doing this now most of my siblings are openly not speaking to me as opposed to pretending to speak to me. I can wear this because everything regarding our father is about to be discussed before the tribunal so legally, clearly and including everyone that bothers to show up or be included in a teleconference or skype. This was not an easy thing to do because I knew my family would not like it, some will have to answer to 'loans' from our parents that they don't want made public. Others will have to answers as to why they didnt contact other siblings when 'the ceiling fell in' on the family home, and when our parents were on 'meals on wheels', alert buttons, when all they had to do was call. They would rather claim martydom, but I detect Munchausen by proxy. I really hope this is all coming to some sort of an end for our family. It's exhausting and boring to be dragged back into this drama. If anyone has similar experiences I would appreciate input, Im seeing another psychologist on Monday because I need to speak to a human being that understands and can help and guide me out of this maze.



Re: Growing up with parents with mental illness

Hope it all works out well for you. As I said earlier, we were able to organise consensual P.O.A., but I have had the experience of being a witness in a very long contested custody case for a friend, and taking a stance in doing so that very much put his former partner on the spot- so she now counts as an ex-friend. That was hard enough.
About the best advice I could offer is to be as honest and open as you can, try to show that you're acing in the best interests of your father, and avoid any reciprocal malice. My "ex-friend" tried to ask questions in court that would pull down my character and possibly make my testimony look doubtful, but thinking about it, I realised that if character assassination was the only defence she could use, it sadly underlined the truth of the content of my testimony.
I hated having to criticise her under oath, but I was doing so out of genuine concern for the safety of their child. It's hard, but if you can answer to yourself at the end of the day that you did what was for the best outcome and did so as truthfully as possible, then it was worth doing.

Re: Growing up with parents with mental illness

Thanks @Smc those were my thoughts that Im up for character assassination, but I have photos of the level of neglect and a housing inspector coming to give a report on the condition of our parents home. As they all claim they have done so much but they have done no more than you should. I understand my parents were difficult but you choose your level of involment and dont get to credit yourself when you actually with held information about how badly your parents were deteriorating for personal profit! However after speaking to the authorities they know exactly what goes in in these types of cases, and they know whose lying and who took the most for themselves. It's going to be uncomfortable but it always has been, this will just bring the truth to light and ask the main question, were the decisions made in your parents best interests, health and safety.

Re: Growing up with parents with mental illness

Hi there

This is my first post and in the same boat as you.

I grew up with my dad who suffered from paranoid personality disorder. After years of him 'not being quite right' and with his behaviour and thoughts spiriling over the last 2 years we finally convinced him to get assessed after a crisis. He was formally diagnosed 12 months ago .

Sadly he is not receptive to his illness and from what I can see is spiriling further. After consulting a local gp with a book of symptoms my dad has shown, he has mentioned that my dad could have paranoid schitzophrenia instead (hears voices affirming his delusions and more recently smelling certain scents that were made up).

My dad's delusions is mostly around jealously and that my mum is having an affair. He has had these ludicrous thoughts for 30 years now (the entire marriage) and often accuses her of being unfaithful. He will follow her around the house to check on her. He will also scream and call her names because he is certain she is going behind his back. It doesnt matter how much reassurance he receives he is still adament it is happening and often gets very emotional about this (going to bed without dinner, screaming, crying, not speaking the family and blank facial expression). He has lots weight in the last 12 months which isnt surprising as he doesnt sleep well and is so fixated on this.

As a young adult now living with my parents I feel extremely helpless knowing my dad is unwell and my mum being the target for all his delusions. It gets very frustrating balancing the two.1) being firm to ensure my dad knows it is not ok to scream and carry on yet calm enough to not escalate the issue 2) being there for my mum who has had enough

Being the sole carer in the family makes things really hard both in my relationship with my partner who lives with us, and juggling this with work commitments (I miss work events and conferences to ensure I am home to care for my parents in case something was to happen).

I am constantly worrying and have guilt when I leave for work and have recently started to have panic attacks when im at work.

Looking for others who are supporting their parents through mental illness.
1) How did you encourage your parent(s) in seeking treatment?
2) How do you balance your life vs caring for them?
3) involuntary treat - how effective was this for your loved ones? And when was it the 'right time'
4) Is there a personality disorder psychologist in melbourne that has been effective for you?
5) are there melbourne based support groups for young adults supporting parents with mental illness?



Re: Growing up with parents with mental illness

Hi @Ehmelle. For support groups, check out the organisations listed on this page. There's almost certain to be youg carer's groups in Melbourne, hopefully they can put you on to one that suits.

Involuntary admissions can be quite hard to get. In all honesty, psych units are overloaded, and can generally take only the most extreme cases. Getting a social worker involved might help. If nothing else, that would mean that there's someone else to back up your version of the situation. People with delusional  or psychotic disorders can sometimes present a very different face to professionals as a kind of self defence. It's hard for a professional to act on a problem that is carefully hidden by the patient. The hiding in itself can be part of the psychosis, as the person may believe that the professionals are trying to trap or harm them. (BTW, I mean psychotic in the psychological sense of delusional beliefs and experiences, not in the rather misleading horror movie sense. )

My Mum behaved in similar but not as extreme ways. I also remember feeling very helpless, and trying to be a go-between to sort things out after arguments. Not really the role that a child-teenager should be taking, and a very confusing and conflicting situation to be in. My Mum never really admitted she had a problem beyond "depression", which is hard, because if she'd gotten help she and my whole family could have had a much happier life. So I can't really pass on any hints for how to achieve that, but I really hope you do manage to persuade him.

Re: Growing up with parents with mental illness

@Ehmelle Hello, I really feel for you. Your first port of call is any local authority dealing with mental health. I'm in my mid fifties and finally am getting help through the State Administration Tribunal. From here my family will finally (not be forced to ) have to face facts about our mentally ill parents. It all came down to money in the end, misappropriation of funds, not attending to our parents best interests. For years I struggled to find help, but my parents would be too ashamed to admit to mental health or needing help, and my siblings are the same. Years of strange, destructive behaviour has taken its toll on all of us. Keep,trying with all the groups that help, if your GP isn't effective get another, you ask the right questions, but you can't force people to do what's best for them. In my case I have literally reported my family, no one is happy with me or what I'm doing but I know it's the right thing to do, allowing people to indulge in destructive unhealthy behaviour is wrong, I watched members of my family deteriorate through indulgence. "Don't rock the boat, anything for peace and quiet". This is an unbalanced life after growing up with madness it's hard to be comfortable with sanity, you have to grow out of it.

Although you present calm and very balanced, have you always had to be the responsible one?

Im sure there are support groups in Melbourne and this website is a good place to start, I wish you good luck

Re: Growing up with parents with mental illness

Back from the Tribunal, my application and concerns dismissed. I have no formal diagnosis and as no one wants to diagnose the elderly that's it! We were advised to 'get along' like some thing from a Disney movie or the Brady bunch. Next port of call nanny cam! 

Re: Growing up with parents with mental illness

I too have a parent with mental illness that is undiagnosed. My mothers reluctance to leave him when we were younger because he threatened suicide has resulted in her being very depressed, and my other sibling having schizophrenia. I have despite being severely depressed most of my childhood, managed to create a life for myself. However both my brother and mother are trapped in what is a domestic violence situation with insanity. It's heartbreaking. I am continually fighting to change things or accept things. I wish I had money enough to give them some independence. Sorry I've become sidetracked talking about myself. All I wanted to say was I wish you all the best. Keep trying every avenue you can. Something should work.

Re: Growing up with parents with mental illness

Hi JasmineJ - I have posted on this forum in the past about my experiences (many ongoing) dealing with a mothr who has schizoaffective disorder and my brother, who I believe as a result of our childhood experiences, may suffer from depression and have some emotional issues, and I believe much of his life has been unfortunately wasted.  I can identify with the experience of wanting to help the brother be more independent  this is something I would like for mine, but he rebuffs all offers of help that I have made.  All I feel I can do is be here to help if and when he asks for it.  Domestic violence as you would know is a horrible situation. Much of the harm is emotional as well as physical, and can have lifelong consequences as well as placing someone at risk in terms of their physical safety.  

The constant undermining, criticism, and abuse can destroy a person's spirit, self esteem, and sense of self - some women may come to believe and agree with the abuser's view of them as inferior and unlovable. Along with the threats and very real danger of harm that escalates  in the event someone wants or tries to leave an abusive relationship, some women may feel trapped and too scared to brave a risky, unfamiliar situation, especially if they have little resources or support.  Your family needs help but cannot do this all alone.  Has your mother ever spoken to a DV counsellor or helpline?  DV Connect or similar are anonymous places you can call and may be able to offer her both emotional support (in the first instance) and some practical resources and help (i.e. refuges, safety planning, and the like).  She also should see a GP and get some anti-depressants prescibed if that will help her stabilise enough to get the confidence to leave and/or cope with the situation.  Wish you and your family all the best.



Re: Growing up with parents with mental illness

Hello and hugs @Sally , @Jane1 , @Jasminej , @Sissy88 , @Smc 

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