Friday, 4 December 2009

Family History

I have been thinking about which parts of my background I can share, and I have come down firmly in favour of keeping as anonymous as I can. None of my family are likely to read this blog unless I direct them to it, which I have no intention of doing.

But if at any stage they should get wind of it, I would not want anybody to feel threatened by what I have written. I know that some of the family are sensitive on the issue because a few years ago I wrote an autobiography and sent it to some agents. I got a reply - I can hardly believe it now - from a top agent, who said he might be interested but that he would like me to put more of a sense of time and place into the book.

When I asked one of the older members of my family for details of my parents' background, my father's business and so on, this person went ballistic. He was convinced that I would be compromsising his privacy (no, it is my autobiography, it is not about you), and was so upset that I decided to shelve my hopes of publication. Actually, I intended instead to turn to novels, short stories and poetry - I am still writing as much as I can, whenever I find the time.

This story about myself refuses to be shelved though. Probably because where I came from impacts so much on who I am, it needs to be excised through a good airing. And I am vain enough to think that it may help others to learn about how I became psychotic, and how I recovered.

My wider family aside, I want to protect my children as far as I can from the stigma of mental health issues. I really couldn't bear the possibility of them being taunted in the playgound for having a schizophrenic mother.

Readers, you might wonder who I think I am that anybody might be interested in my problems, but I live in quite a close knit community and people do seem to know an awful lot about one another, some of which information gets distorted by being over-shared.

So, I will say that I had a miserable childhood, which was not however, all bad. I had a good education, at least until my teenage years. My family had some peculiarities (whose doesn't?) but now that I have grown up I am quite glad that I come from the background I do. After all, my childhood is probably the best qualification I have in my claim to be a writer - I have been gifted with some tales to tell.

Also, anybody's childhood could result in an adult breakdown, especialy if the young person concerned had as little support as I did. And if that person used cannabis, as I did, then the danger is compounded.

So, families, do not blame yourselves if one of your number suffers a breakdown. Life is full of unfortunate happenings. It is how the person recovers that matters, and a great deal of that is to do with how they are treated - not medically, but in the attitude that others show towards them.

The chance of fully recovering from a serious breakdown in this country is very low compared to some so called lesser developed places - because here we are seen as outcasts when we suffer a mental illness. The mindset of others towards us really takes away any hope we have of being a normal person in society again - because we fear that other people will never see us as normal.

Of course, in my opinion nobody is entirely normal - I mean there is no blueprint for what makes a human being. That is another matter, however. In fact, I have to sign off now. I'm determined to only blog once a day - so the family are not neglected - and today I only allocated myself twenty-five minutes to do the job, which are now up. Pity, I could happily witter on for hours.

I like blogging on this subject. I feel like that person in the Greek myth who shouted his secret down the well because he couldn't hold on to it any longer. The one with the asses ears. If anybody out there reads it, good, if anybody benefits, then even better. If not, the process is cathartic for me in any case. Win-win.

No comments:

Post a Comment