Monday, 6 October 2008

An overdue book

In a recent blog entry, Ron Unger asks if anyone knows about a book for people with mental health problems on how to "manage" their family. Personally, I don't know of any such book. I only know about tons of books for families on how to manage their "mentally ill" offspring, and I think, a book for people with mental health issues on "managing" their family is overdue, and I hope, it will be written, as Ron's blog entry suggests it may be.

I myself am in the - as I choose to see it - lucky position, that my parents both died quite a long time ago, before it became clear that I had "mental health issues" that would require professional intervention, and that the only family I have left are some French(wo)men, whom I've never had any contact with.

In one of my first therapy sessions, my therapist asked about the whereabouts of my parents - of course the ulterior motive was to get them involved. (Or maybe that was just my "paranoia", instantly smelling a rat?? I don't think so.) My immediate, (survival-) instinctive, and not at all thought out reaction was panic - to put it mildly - followed by an enormous relief when I, after some seconds, that seemed to last an eternity, spent in terror, recalled, that they were dead, and thus couldn't be involved at all. Phew!!!

I've pondered a few times over how my folks probably would have reacted. There's no doubt whatsoever, that my mother would have welcomed the opportunity to re-establish a relationship where I would have been totally dependent on her. When I was in my twenties, she once said, she thought it a good idea if she could keep me under her surveillance and completely cut off from the outside world for at least a couple of years, so she could put my screwed up head straight. Not that this was the only time, she'd say stuff like that. But it was probably the clearest statement on how she saw things, she ever made. - And the system seriously suggests it's all biological??? No what the system's polemics call "bad parenting" involved??? I just wonder.

So, that she abstained from asking me to see a professional certainly wasn't because she didn't realize something was wrong. But, unfortunately (for her - luckily for me) she wasn't aware that a more and more purely biological model was about to be adopted by the mental health system during the '80ies. The thought, that she might be blamed, kept her from seeking professional help on my behalf. "Freud" was a naughty word at our house. She would have loved the biological model! A potential NAMI-mother. Without doubt.

My father... I don't know. I never really knew that man, although he lived at our house, and was married to my mother.

And how did I "manage" this mother-terrorist long-term? Well, I withdrew, to my safe-places, both inside and outside myself, to Munich, and eventually to Denmark. The geographical cure - that didn't work out, not even when she died, since the problem remains the same, as long as it isn't addressed directly.

No comments: