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For as long as I can remember my mum has been a distant figure in my life due to her drink and drug habit, I remember always asking my dad is mum coming to visit me today? Where’s my mum? My Dads reply always was, no she’s not, I’m sorry ,but all you need is me, I’ll always be here for you. Then he would give me a big cuddle that always made me feel better.
Unfortunately when my mum did come to see me she was always drunk. Every time she came near me I could smell the alcohol on her and I ran to my dad. Even to this day I hate the smell of alcohol. I don’t have many memories of my Mum being there when I was a baby. As I got a little older I started to realise she wasn’t like any other Mum, all my friends seemed to have the perfect Mum who waited in the school play ground for them and gave them a big hug when they saw their child. I always felt that was missing.
From when I could remember I felt very abandoned by my mum. When I was born she was more interested in drink and drugs then her baby girl, she would say I will come see you today, so I would sit in the window for hours waiting for her and yet she didn’t turn up. I remember once she came to see me, I remember her walking in with a can of beer in her hand and I instantly felt fear, I hated seeing her like that. I was playing with my toys and I clearly remember I went up to her and asked her if she wanted to play with my toys with me, she said no. I couldn’t understand why. After that I didn’t see her for ages. I longed for a Mummy, and all I ever really wanted was for my mum to give me a protective hug to be held tight but that never happened, and it left me full of grief.
I always believed I would have my dad the protective and loving father he was but that all changed the day his drinking changed him. He started to become more of a stranger then the Dad I knew. He started drinking every day and would spend more time in the pub then at home with me. I was about 13 at this time so I still wasn’t old enough too look after myself but I had to, I had no choice.
Suddenly I had to grow up long before I was ready; my childhood was taken away from me because of alcohol abuse. Now my Dad started drinking I had no idea who to turn to, I didn’t have my Mum which made this feel ten times worse, I couldn’t understand why my Dad was doing this, I remember feeling like it must be me and thinking my parents should of never had me, they can’t even look after them self’s. My Mum had chosen alcohol over me and now it felt like my Dad had chosen alcohol over me. This left me incredibly hurt.
I didn’t see how I could get through it.
I don’t know how I managed to go to school and act like everything was fine when it was really falling apart, but yet I smiled and got on with it the best I could. It felt like I was living two lives’, a normal happy school girl on the outside, and a very different home life. Once I got home from school I had to deal with my dad’s drunkenness. Sometimes if he wasn’t home I would go to the local pub to see if he was there, then he’d leave me sat in the pub for hours on my own whilst he went to the other pub. Every morning I would wake up hoping the day would be different, but it never was. I had to look after my father, in denial about his addiction, time after time I kept thinking this is the bridge, but it just ended in failure and left me feeling hurt and let down yet again. I couldn’t understand how or why my Dad would put his daughter and his family though this hell.
I learnt I had to accept my father’s addiction for what it was; I couldn’t help him he had to help himself. I admit I really didn’t want to accept it because that would mean I had lost the caring, loving father I knew him as, and that left me feeling incredibly sad. I admit I have blocked most of the memories from my early teens out because their too painful to talk about so I never opened up to anyone. As I’m getting older they are getting easier to talk about, but I will always feel let down by my parents and nothing can take that abandonment feeling away.
My parents drinking made me such a people pleaser… if you love me I’ll love you back… and I spent a lot of my time reading their moods so I don’t get them angry or upset. Sometimes my Dad is great to be around sometimes he really isn’t.
I moved in with my Nan when I was 16. I remember thinking finally a normal life where I can feel looked after. At first this was the case but as time went on it was a lot different to what I though it would be, my Nan started to change, everything I did wasn’t good enough. The one thing I’ll never get over was my nan saying to me , ‘you’ll end up like your parents’, hearing these words felt like someone had took any hope I had of my future. I remember the day she said it we where sat there watching Davina McCall who do you think you are? Davina’s mum was an addicted parent but later on Davina developed her own habit, personal I totally admire Davina for her courage and strength and can completely understand how easy it can be to fall into the same habits as your parents. You have to keep an eye on yourself all the time. I look up to Davina a lot with everything she’s achieved. I will never get over my Nan saying that to me.
I will always have that fear of ending up like my parents, and I always have to keep check on myself to make sure I don’t. I appreciated everything my Nan did for me but I still can’t forgive her for not giving me that emotional support I really needed.
The thing with addiction is that it affects everyone in the family and my Nan was very stubborn and never showed how she really felt which I found hard. I like to talk about it, but I knew it was hurting her just as much as it was hurting me, at the end of the day it’s her son. I moved out of my Nans at 18, at that age I thought it was the best thing to do, maybe I thought it was an escape, but looking back I wanted to get away from what I was feeling. I started to feel down at my nans but never showed her, I was good at hiding how I really felt, I always have been.
My Nan wasn’t bringing me any comfort at all and I felt like she was bringing me down, so I threw myself into the unknown, living alone little did I know I actually wasn’t well myself, I didn’t tell anyone but I began to have panic attacks and distanced myself from everyone. I couldn’t talk, couldn’t make myself understand that I was hurting. A month went by of living alone and acting like I was coping but I wasn’t at all I was feeling extremely down, I couldn’t understand why I felt like this. I rented a house, I had a part time job and was starting a college course I wanted to do, but I still felt full of anger and pain, on the outside I was calm, but inside I was screaming and hurting like hell.
I had lost my family…… well that’s what it felt like, but they all had let me down in so many ways I was better off without them. I wanted the family I never had so badly. I wanted the protected cuddle of my mum that I never had but I couldn’t and it wasn’t fair. Nobody did anything to ease my pain all I got was you’ll be ok but what I really wanted was someone to hug me and tell me it was going to be ok, but I felt I didn’t trust anyone around me.
After years of bottling everything up and acting like I was fine, I had looked after myself from 13 and looked after my dad for a bit too, and worked from the age of 15. I was much older now, and at 19 my lowest moment was a month after I had moved into a house on my own. I hadn’t told anyone how I had been feeling as it felt like everyone was happy and that I was just going to be a burden to them. I was miserable as hell… no one will understand…. I kept thinking,. Buying things for the house is suppose to be done with a mums support and guidance but I didn’t have this and it made everything seem so much harder I didn’t enjoy house shopping at all. I just acted like I did to please everyone else which I was so used to pleasing everyone else but deep down it was killing me. I wanted my family around me and having to accept this felt almost impossible but I had to.
I was ready to surrender, it was like ‘I can’t do this anymore I can’t pretend I’m ok’.
I was always known as the strong one. The one who kept it all together with a smile and helped others but when I said I wasn’t coping and I needed help no one paid any attention.t I just couldn’t be the strong one anymore. I remember one day my friend came to see me and see if I was ok as she could tell I hadn’t been myself. When she saw me and asked if I was ok I just broke down and said I didn’t want to be here because sadly this is how I felt, I had never told anyone I was having those thoughts she took me to the doctors and he gave me anti depressants but I still had to sit in a house on my own with these feelings and I didn’t know how to cope with it. I don’t quite know how I got through it, night time was the worse whist the rest of the world was asleep my head became noisy and loud,’ what’s the point id think to myself ‘.
I didn’t want to go to work or college and what made it even harder is I had no one there to give me the strength to go. I had to push myself too; I think my depression definitely made me push people away. I’ve always felt if you can’t trust your parents who can you trust. I was hardly eating, and wasn’t sleeping at all. I feel if the people around me were there for me and had listened to me when I tried to tell them how I felt, I probably wouldn’t have been as ill and yet no one seemed to notice how much I was suffering. I just did what I always knew…which was to just get on with it.
My closest friend would say it will get better but inside I didn’t believe her at all. The next few months where very dark I didn’t even recognise myself. I stopped doing everything I enjoyed. I wanted my old self back. I remember one night I was feeling very low and everything just seemed to be going wrong. I had so much fear inside of me and just felt completely exhausted of everything.
Then I suddenly found a message Davina had sent me on twitter she said’ I believe in you’.
Reading this really picked me up. I remember thinking I can either let this emotional pain that I was so full of destroy me, or I can fight back. Now every time I feel I can’t do it I read this message. I’m not going to say I’m completely healed. I have lost my way a bit and have carried so much emotional pain around, but I can feel that I am on my way to where I want to be. There are things I still desperately want to change, and I know I have to accept them. I know I can use my experiences to help others who have been in similar situations and show them no matter how low you get or how hard it feels you can get through it and become stronger and better than ever.
One thing I have learnt is through your hardest times you learn who really is there for you and sometimes you just have to be there for yourself as no one else is going to be.
I have trusted the wrong people. Now I know how strong I can be when life throws the hardest situations at me.
It’s ok not to be ok all of the time.
I used to be afraid to ask for help as I saw it as a weakness but now I see it is not weakness at all. I don’t bottle things up, and the people who care will listen.