My family’s frustration with my mental illness

by Nida Fatima, India

I have fought every day for 10 years. I also had physical trauma previously. So I fight mentally and physically, too.

Since I was born I was treated as if I was ignorant and not mentally ill. I felt the boycott from my community and suffered isolation from my family.

My bipolar disease was diagnosed when I was in a teenager. At that time my father had to handle me and tried to keep negative people from me. Because my father was told by a psychiatrist. I don’t know how I understand things without knowing or told by anyone. If my family understands and talks to me in a polite and humble way, it can work as healing.

Except for my father, though, others in my family, don’t understand my illness or even know what it’s called. They think I am trying to ruin my life when in fact I live with an illness. They often say, “Why not leave the medicine? Just forget your past and live in the present.” This hurts me a lot.

I am a domestic violence sufferer also because no one understood me, so I couldn’t justify and explain myself at the time. I was very frustrated always and reacted like a crazy, aggressive person and made impulsive decisions.

Tell me how I make them understand that every single hour is a battle for me, and how hard it is to manage mood swings, aggression, isolation, and family ignorance all at once.

Today my husband, like my dad did before, takes care of me. He loves me and cares for me the same as my father.

In my manic episodes, he suffers so much. I know him. He never reveals that he might be hurt which made me hurt. Counseling helped me a lot. And writing helps me to cope with my condition and heal the desperation inside.

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