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Her illness, my illness

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I promised earlier to write about my grandmother and how she has affected me, so here it goes. She's actually my only grandparent alive and I feel like I've always had special connection with her. I was her "chosen" grandchild. Read forward and you'll understand  what I mean by that. She was my first touch with mental healt problems and how broken mind works. 

I've got lots of lovely memories with my grandmother. I remember parks, bubble baths, weekends with her and feelings of being enough and accepted the way I am. Like every grandmother would do, she spoiled me but I remember best how she made me feel about myself. 

I was around ten or eleven when phone harassment begun. She called me several times a day. Easily twenty times a day. She would tell me things about Bible and God and what would happen if I didn't have faith. She also thought I was being sexually abused so she kept asking me about that. She told me men are horrible, they would just abuse and rape and use you. You can imagine how confused I was at that age and how much pressure she put on me having to deal with her s h i t. I would always agree her because I didn't know what else to say.

Grandmother was delusional so she kept checking on what was real and what wasn't. She thought my father was in danger, usually kidnapped and assaulted. She needed confirmation whether it was true or in her head. When I told her nothing was true, she said her neighbours were telling these lies. She was always scared of her neighbours. At very young age I understood how scared she was. She needed me to guide her through her imagined fears. It gave me great anxiety but I thought she had nobody else.

She would also come to our house in the middle of the night with her spare key and grab me into her arms and started blessing me. I was so scared. She also thought my mother and her family were evil so she would attack my mother too calling her a whore. She always kept asking me if my parents had divorced or if my mother's family had died. The situation was chaotic and horrifying. 

Afrer that I asked my father about my grandmother and he told me she was mentally ill with manic-depressive illness, schizoaffective type.

I wanted to understand my grandmother's behavior so I started to study mental illnesses. I read my father's old study books and asked lot of questions about her past. I didn't stay over weekends anymore but I visited her with my father and my little sister. Usually she was not on her medication and visitations ended when my father called an ambulance to take her to psych ward. We had to witness that several times. Usually we waited at the parking lot and saw her taken by paramedics. She usually stayed few weeks in a hospital and then she was okay for a month or two. 

Nothing really changed other than got worse. She would eventually stop taking meds and got worse everytime. When she was manic she thought God was talking through her and the words were meant for me. She wouldn't sleep at all and she would be ringing doorbell in the middle of the night because she wanted to see me. I didn't answer her phone calls anymore so she started to walk to our house to look for me on a daily basis. 

One time she came to our house when I was alone with my brother. I was 14 years old and I was babysitting my 2-year-old brother. I didn't want to open the door because I wanted to protect my baby brother from what I had gone through. My grandmother kept banging the door and the windows. My brother was crying and I was panicing so we hide in a closet where she couldn't see us. I can still remember like it happened yesterday.

Grandmother fell ill with postpartum depression when my father was born. I think that's why my father and me have played such a big part. Being harassed by her must have affacted my anxiety levels. Those times she has come to our house and I have panicked, have so many same kind of features than my panic attacks nowadays. Like an urge to hide from some invisible threat. I am afraid of windows and I jump whenever my phone rings or somebody knocks the door.

I've always thought that I am the one who heritates grandmother's illness since I learned bipolar disorder usually runs in a family. I'm not sure if it was because I was grandmother's favorite or if I've got same kind of symptoms. We (me and my father) used to deal with her illness by making jokes. Well, those jokes are not that funny anymore now that I am manic-depressive. I can't stop comparing my illness to hers. I am only 34 years old so I can't imagine how bad my condition could get in future. I see me when I look at her. I will probably be different but I've lived too close to her illness.

Even though my grandmother put me through some terrible things I sympathize her. Her life hasn't been easy. I think about her at my age and wonder how same we are. My father has never been able to deal with my illness. I guess it's just too much. Too sore. I am afraid my family won't be able to deal with me when I get really sick. I am afraid nobody tells me what's real and what's not when my delusions come back next time.

I know this writing came out little ranting but the topic wasn't easy and I haven't really processed this much before. I kinda just wrote as fast as I could so it would hurt less.

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Wow, My friend I am so sorry that you had to experience depression and mental disorders at

such a young age.  However, I don't believe yours will get as bad as hers because we now

have better drugs than we had back then and now doctors understand mental disorders

better now than when your grandmother was being treated.  Try not to let the demons of

your grandmother past to  effect your present.  I know it want be easy but you do have a

advantage you know what to expect and you know all the signs of mental disorders.  So

you can jump on them before they get to far and advance in your mind.  I hope that you

have a much better experience with your mental disorders than your grandmother experienced.   

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