Opinion: I have never told my mother I have a mental illness #timetotalk

Time to talk day

I am writing this as I read the post on Time to Talk day by Caron . These are just my personal opinions and personal experiences and should be taken only as so.

I have suffered from Hypomania for what has been the best part of my adult life; I am 25 now. I probably had it when I was a child but my mother just put it down to being  “full of energy”. Friends have also told me that I probably have ADHD and maybe some form of Autistic spectrum disorder, but neither has been confirmed. It is what makes me, me though.

I know my mothers’ attitude towards mental illness of all kinds is that you are then defined by the mental health issues that you have and that that is all you are about and nothing else. My mother would react in a way that would stop seeing me as the woman I am and start seeing me as a Hypomanic person who is ill. She would become overprotective and assume that I was on the verge of a crash every day. I have had general conversations with my mother on the issue of Mental Health and she has always been dismissive of treatments and has always been one of “just get over yourself”. I mentioned a friend of mine had mental health issues and her reply was “oh do they now” ” oh really” in a very dismissive fashion. My mother is of the opinion of “just stop” and “don’t do that” as opposed to seeing that some of the time it is just not possible to control the emotions and actions.

I would love to tell my mother, but I am 95% certain she will react in a way that is dismissive and will be “well that’s just rubbish”. It hurts me but I am almost certain that this will be the case.

My Hypomania got me through my University degree and it can be very beneficial to me. I will over-concentrate on things, but then I was over-concentrating on my studies and Dissertation in particular. The problem is when I “crash”. I know that it will come and I know how it will come. I have managed to develop coping strategies but I still “crash”. It can be scary and it can be unnerving for some, who are with me when it happens, but again that is a part of me and my closest friends know how to react when I do crash.

Like Caron said the exercise keeps me from crashing so heavily. I love doing my ballet and I do it once a week every week and it fits on to my meticulous scheduling that I plan for myself. I have fed it in to my coping strategy. I know it is not a possibility for all though.

I have though found coping with hypomania to be easier than I ever could telling my mother I have hypomania. I have come out to my mother and she has been accepting. I have though not told my mother I have a mental illness. I know how she would react and I know it will be unsupportive and dismissive.

I hold down a job and I attend conferences I have on the outside a “normal” life. A life, which is satisfying and I know my mother would instantly think that I am going to be unable to work and lead my own life.

This is the biggest problem stigma and stereotype. I cope but I know my mother would lead me to not coping.

* The author is known to the LDV team but their identity is being withheld. .

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2 Comments

  • Geoffrey Payne 6th Feb '14 - 2:07pm

    It looks like you are dealing with your condition very well. Parents may be concerned that it is “their fault” although Wikipedia does not suggest this is the case; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypomania
    A good book to read is Provocative Therapy by Frank Farrelly…

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 6th Feb '14 - 11:24pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I hope one day that your mother gives you the confidence to be able to share this with her.

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