I recently met with my psychiatrist and psychologist on the same day, my psychiatrist is generally AMAZING and is very big on talk therapy, unlike other shrinks I have seen who pull out the script pad the minute you walk through the door and then kick you out again.
Having both appointments on the same day was unintentional but it turned out to be very useful as I had some time to think about my discussion with my psychiatrist and then explore that further with my psychologist and had a bit of an epiphany.
Apparently, despite all the denial it turns out that I actually do have some deep seeded unresolved ‘Mummy Issues’ after all, but don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful upbringing. Growing up my much older half-brother & sister lived with their mother interstate and I lived the glorious life of an only child there was never any abuse, my parents were (and still are) happily married and I don’t ever remember them fighting. I have never doubted that I was loved – in fact I was doted on and spoiled rotten but perhaps that is a big part of the problem.
I didn’t grow up with siblings so I wasn’t teased at home and when I entered school life and the bullying began I couldn’t understand why other children could be so mean, intentionally harming others simply didn’t make any sense to me, the kids laughed at me because I was fat, tripped me over and called me names, I was devastated.
When I told mum she just said that it wasn’t true and that I was beautiful but she was my mother and she always said that, but the kids at school had no bias’s so why would they lie? Besides the evidence in the mirror was pretty damning. I soon decided I couldn’t trust anything positive my mother said because she HAD to be nice to me.
When I came home in tears Mum’s efforts to cheer me up involved giving me a hug and pretty much anything that I wanted and I wanted junk food. I was allowed to drink as much soft drink as I wanted from as far back as I can remember and I started drinking coffee at around age 7 we actually had a “chocolate drawer” in my house accessible and filled to the brim with a variety of fun size treats. So when I was around 8yrs old and too young to grasp what caused weight gain in the first place, I was consoled for being teased about my weight with chocolate treats or trips to McDonalds.
I don’t quite know how mum, who was frequently on a ‘diet’ or joining assorted weight watcher style groups, didn’t realise that all the “treats” to make me feel better were just adding to the problem. She maintained at the time that I wasn’t fat, and to this day claims that because I am smaller now as an adult it was “just puppy fat” but photo’s don’t lie and my current body shape is due to an eating disorder so frankly Mum…. Sigh…
My mother treated me like a little adult from early on, she thought I was mature for my age and spoke to me as such. I knew right from wrong, my core values were solid and so I was given very few boundaries and expected to make the right decisions.
I never wanted to disappoint my parents, but of course like all children I wanted to push the limits, the desire to try new things and experience the thrill of danger is strong. I quickly learned that if I simply chose to lie about my actions I could get away with pretty much anything I desired, I was the master of my own destiny and as I became a teenager and hormones and hypomania began rearing their ugly heads, all good intentions and common sense went out the window.
I finally found friends as awkward as me, we did drugs, I shaved my head, had sex and partied all night while I “stayed over at a friend’s place” and then I came home and did my homework where no one was the wiser. At 14 I got sick of the continued bullying and started losing weight, by 15 years old I had developed full blown anorexia and was filled with psychotic paranoia, I was terrified of food, counted every calorie, exercised constantly and thought my parents were trying to poison me. Yes, my parents were worried but I lied to them, I said I was fine and they seemed to believe me. I told them I must be having a growth spurt, I pretended to eat before they got up, threw my school lunches away and became a ‘vegetarian’ so I could make my own dinners.
They only took me to a doctor once, a GP. My BMI was about 15 and she told me if I didn’t eat I would end up with a feeding tube and I simply lied and told her I wasn’t afraid to gain weight and I would eat more, she reviewed me a week later so I water loaded before the appointment and so when I was weighed I was deemed to be ‘making progress’ I lied and told her I felt much better with more weight on me and that was the end of that. Case closed, nothing to worry about and no psychiatric assessment at all.
Of course my weight continued to drop, I wore baggier clothes and when the school worried I denied any problem to them and myself – nobody was going to make me fat again. I was being asked to see the counselor daily and just skipped school instead – I never even met her. When they pushed the issue and had a meeting with my mother behind my back I was furious, Mum felt guilty and I just stopped going to school altogether.
At 15 ½ I got a full time retail job and Mum and Dad went along with it.
I started dating a 30yr old just after my 16th birthday and they smiled as they shook his hand, I left home a few months later so that I could be alone with my eating disorder and they helped me move. No one ever put their foot down, or even really tried – they were always super supportive, always trusting my judgement.
Mum still prides herself on having a ‘friendship’ with me, she had always wanted to be my friend not ‘just my mother’ but sometimes kids need to be treated like kids, they need to be given firm boundaries and told “no”.
Yes, it turns out that I am harbouring some parental resentment there after all. I love my Mum very much and I know she did her best and what she believed was the right thing to do at the time, but I can’t help but feel that maybe if she had said “No” more often when I was little I wouldn’t have been as plump, perhaps teased a little less and not gone on to develop an eating disorder. Maybe I wouldn’t still be dealing with one now at 32 if I had gotten actual psychological help when I first needed it and maybe my bipolar would have been recognised and diagnosed earlier and some of my manic self-destructiveness could have been prevented.
That being said, I have certainly learned a lot from my experiences and if all of that stuff hadn’t of happened I probably wouldn’t have met my husband, been knocked up at 17 and have the amazing family I have today.
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