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Children of mental health parents or sibling


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I’m the oldest of five. I think my dad may have had an undiagnosed personality disorder. My siblings and I have all had our share of depression and stuff but being the oldest I seem to have come off the worst being the only one among us to have sought psychiatric help and been diagnosed with a disorder.

We are very close, other people have commented on how unusual it is for adult siblings to remain so close. I think it’s due to a kind of banding together to take care of each other when we were younger that has kept us together. We have travelled and lived aboard from time to time but always been in touch. Today, we have all settled down in the same town with our kids and our grandkids, and we all live within an hours drive of each other.

To answer your question. I don’t think anyone can predict how any family situation is going to effect the members of that family in the future.

From my perspective, that of having an ‘ill’ parent and being an ‘ill’ parent, I treated each of my three children differently because they are different. From time to time I tried to have some personal time with each of them on their own, we would go for a burger or small toy and cake shopping. I took that time to let them know that I loved them and that I really appreciated their help with everything.

And for the parent of kids where one of them is ‘ill’ or just very young, I suggest that you avoid putting too much responsibility for the young child onto one of the other children - being the oldest, I practically brought up my youngest sister to the extent that even today she feels more like my daughter than my sister.

I would check to see that no one is being stuck with the same job or responsibility day in day out, this can cause resentment. As a family, everyone is involved in the health and wellbeing of that family. Responsibilities should be shared evenly making sure that no one person is being over burdened. In my mind it's like wanting your kids to believe in Santa for as long as possible - they need to be just kids for as long as possible.

My mum took me to the doctor when I was about 13 because I was having cramps but no period. The doctor examined me and told my mum that I was the weight of a nine year old, he also told her to stop telling me about all her worries.

Anyway getting back to how my kids turned out. Not that long ago, I asked my oldest son, a fantasy artist, cartoonist and caracterturist, if he was okay and if my 'stuff' had hurt him a lot while growing up. He told me that he was fine and that I worry too much and then said, "So what's for dinner?" I don't see my middle son as much as I'd like. He's a police officer with a family. My daughter is with a guy she met online almost two years ago, she has an 11 year old boy from another relationship, she lost a baby, my only granddaughter, I have five grandsons. We all deal with stuff, we don't always talk about it, but we are together and that's the main thing.

I rambled on a bit but I hope it helps.

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Hi Linda,

First of all I admire you . As a parent of 7 children and raising them as a big family and trying to cope with your bi polar disorder. This has to be extremely chalenging. But you are doing it :) I am sure you would do anything for your children and protect them at all costs.

As you are aware I also have a autistic child who is 16 yrs old. I've raised him as a single parent since the day he was born. I was anorexic and bulimic when I became pregnant.... I had to decide to take beetter care of myself in order to have a healthy baby born. That in itself was an enormous feat for me . I chose to eat better, and gain the weight necessary for a baby to be born healthy. I had to take meds for a STD , because I fooled around a lot in my 20's , and also was tested for toxoplasmosis which came back positive. I had cats back then :eek:

He was born healthy, tested for the disease , and it came back ok. Thankfully he did not have eye problems and other issues that babies could have to mom's born with these illness'ss.

He was however, sickly the first few yrs of his life, just was not growing right, and the Dr's did not know why , he was tested medically. was born a good weight , but always was sick with bad colds and ear infections. So he was off the charts size wise. Very little boy .

Then his autistic behaviors started to emerge. I was teaching back then , and supporting my son and I on a meek salary, but we were doing ok.

It was not until 5 yrs ago that my illness took a turn for the worse , "again" I was stable for yrs , tried to hard at work, despite many times losing jobs , I mangaged to get other teaching jobs, and my child was placed in special preschool, and special dqay classess for his needs. I would spend as m uch time as possible when not working or doing normal household chores with him.

My focus has always been on my child and his needs which helped me forget about my own personal struggles.

5 yrs ago , things just changed for the worst and I just could not handle myself anymore very well. I went back to my old behaviors of self harm, became clinically depressed , and just wanted to sleep all day. My son was at school most of the time.

however, when I started severely harming myself , was when things went further down the potty>

I was good at downplaying my mental health issues, never discussing these with my child. But, the older he got the more he knew things were not right with me. My brother told him things about me, which was difficult for me to accept. it was not his place to tell my son . But, I had to depend on him and my sister N law to take care of my son , when I had to go to the hospital for serious injurious to myself , and then stay there for weeks at a time. However, I still downplayed the whole issue .

I still try and focus on my son's needs and interests . He has them and is obsessed with his certain interests . As you are aware of autistic people have their own obsessions to the point that this is all that matters in their lives. My son is also cognitively delayed, so he seems much younger then he is.

I do still focus on his needs and wants. He is a little spoiled in this matter. But his interests are so narrow . I entertain his interests and he wants me to watch the movies he likes too .SO , I am there for him as much as i can.

However, in regards to me, I do sleep too much. I do buy frozen foods that are easy to cook . My son can cook a pizza , mostly , and stuff. So I have helped us rearrange our lives that best suits the both of our needs.

I protect my child from the details of my personal issues , because I do not think it is helpful to disclose any information that is and would be upsetting . He does not need to know that mom wants to die, or mom severely hurts herself and now lost mobility because of it. He is not dumb though. Matthew tells me , I am scared about the November> November is when I tend to harm myself and become sick . I try to downplay it, tell him nov. is way far away and it may not happen at all .

I have family that helps me with my child when I do become unstable . But , still, it is very difficult on everybody. I do feel absolutely horrible about it. And when I do come back home, Matthew is very happy . He talks about his experiences at my brothers house mainly. I talked to him everyday when I was in the hospital. Reassure him i'll be fine, and coming home as soon as possible.

But, I really try not to go into detail about my personal struggles with him. It is not fair to do that , and it is not right either. I keep all of this to myself. I hear voices and take loads of meds. He knows I taked meds, but not what it is for.

He knows I have many burns all over my body, very severe burns. He thinks it was from hot water, he came up with that on his own, so that is what he believes. Which is fine to me. He tells me to be careful with the water.

I guess it is a little easier to have a special needs child to raise because the focus is always on him and making sure his needs are always met first and foremost. A child who is typical , would be more affected , I think . Because that child would be more in tune and it would be much more difficult to deal with .

That is just what I think. My son's special interests and narrow minded thinking helps take away the focus on my own mental health issues , which I do understand are serious by nature.

But trying to always make my son come first no matter what, helps . My brother , does step in and helps us, takes my son out to the library and Burger King on Wednesdays> when I am unable to deal with going out .

He also helps with the housecleaning , and gets paid for in home support services. I also have respite care . Every little bit of extra help is what really is the most important . I am lucky to have that .

I do feel badly that I have to be the way I am as a mother and person at times. My child is the most important person in the world to me. I shield him from my own issues , thinking that his is the best wya to go .


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my son was sexually assulted by anther kid when he was 12 yrs old... It was in our field behind our house. He came home and told me emidately after the incident occured. the police were called and it was all a mess .

I had an extremely difficult time dealing with it. I became so depressed and it sickened me. I felt guilty for letting Matthew go out and play with this kid. Even though I had know idea that this kid was going to hurt my child.

It was even worse , I believe , because I had been raped as a teenager at high school in which I had never come to terms with. With therapy I have now, and understand it much more then before.

I do know that when things happen to my son , it can trigger my issues badly , especailly when he was violated like that. the more details that came out the worse it was .

This is one example of how I just could not cope well as a parent. Again , I had to place my own personal feelings and issues on the side burner and deal with his as a parent.

My therapist does say I go into parent mode, and have to do this in order to take care of him the best way that I can as his mother. Forgetting all about myself , I have to in order to do what is best for my child at times, even if it is so horrendous and even if I had not dealt with issues of a personal nature.

I understand you , because rape , or any attack , is not easily shared nor should it ought to .

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