Moodscope's blog



Facing an uncomfortable truth. Tuesday August 29, 2017

For the past ten years I have used my lived experience of mental illness to give talks to community groups, self-help groups, carers and mental health forums. I have also written articles, blogs, and given radio and newspaper interviews. I always pride myself on my honesty as I feel it helps others and reduces the stigma involved with mental illness. I would answer questions as openly as I could and I felt no topic was out of bounds.

Last week my daughter asked if I could help her with her assignment about parenting and mental health as part of her studies. As soon as I read her email I felt my jaw tighten, tummy feel uncomfortable, my chest fill with guilt and my lower lip start to wobble. This was not a good start.

I rarely write or talk about my parenting because I reasoned my children need their privacy.

I have had my parenting decisions questioned in the past but in last few years I had decided the past was the past and to concentrate on the present and future. This had been working well but now I felt the peace was being threatened.

I have so much guilt about my parenting that it could not be contained in one lifetime so I had buried the pain and the guilt into a box. Unlike Pandora this box was never ever going to be open. However, my maternal instinct that wanted to help my child created more guilt and angst.

Who am I? I thought I was this open and honest person prepared to reveal all so that the discussion of mental health and its stigmatisation can be as detailed and thorough as possible.

I was now thinking of my self-preservation as I did not want to open that box.

I think the hard part is not just remembering the bad decisions I made as a parent but the fact I am not as honest and open as I thought. The hardest part is the disappointment I read in my daughter's email. I let her down when she was a child and now I am disappointing her again.

After many tears and soul searching we made a compromise and she emailed me some questions, which I answered, it was difficult but I did it.

Have you had to face some unpleasant truth about yourself? How did you handle it?

Are there things in your past you would rather leave there?

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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S Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 12:54am

As someone with BPD I can relate with regret on immense scales. But I think for mental health issues in general for years people have been treated as simply of substandard character, poor ethical standards and lack of proper empathy since normies couldn't understand. I spent my entire life coming to terms with the fact that yes, I must just be a shitbag without enough consideration to behave properly, and control emotions for other people's benefit. Other people did it so simply, but because I couldn't often retaliated in kind. Mental health issues are almost like sounding posts for people to take out frustrations and their own minor insecurities on I think. It's why it's so hard to change the attitude, as well as visibility.

My BPD blog I am writing I face this same issue. I want to discuss how it's an illness, with a higher mortality rate than most cancers. 10 years average from the addictive stage of it if you don't get into 10 years of therapy. My life expectancy is currently 34 and all my life has consisted of has been disappointments and horrors. It makes you wonder - if that is how most of the world views it, does it meam that's what it really is? It's the doubt, because even knowing it's a disease, anyone with a mental illness will blame themselves for the troublee it causes. :(

You bring up a good and difficult point about boxes. When I really tried to change for people in the past I would get up every morning, sit on the toilet for 5 minutes and visualise all my inappropriate emotions going in the bathroom cabinet to deal with alone late at nightr. I managed it for a week at best, but it just got worse and I screamed at a mutual friend in public (not for the first time) and it was mortifying. But those little weeks, sometimes felt so good, only cause I single handedly internilsed my own issues to prevent provocation, and it wore me down. These sorts of efforts have to be communal.

I will never be a parent, but i always wanted to be and have huge mother hen instinct. So i undertand your feeling intensity on that. Oddly, i envy you that particular one too.

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 2:08am

S thanks for your thoughtful reply. You wrote "Mental health issues are almost like sounding posts for people to take out frustrations and their own minor insecurities on I think" I have never thought of it like that. I think a child expects the support and the best care by their parent so they feel let down if the do not get that. I feel very privileged to be a mother and the intensity of my response did take me by surprise.

S Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 4:30am

I meant more in general. People will laugh at mentlly illl people even if they;re just mentally ill and not infamously insane. When I was in the local hospital previous co-workers came to look at me like I was in a zoo and not even speak to me. I Realised it was an expression of their own fears. Anywho, I'm gonna have to leave the BPD blog for a while if at all. I have some changes of plans effective immediately. I wish you all luck with evertthing.

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 4:52am

Thanks S, I have not had anyone laugh at me, maybe with me. I find people more ignorant than anything. I hope everything is ok. Sounds very sudden.

S Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 5:56am

Quite sudden, but I realised iif I am this complacent my mental health (In a dangrous state) could have my dead in weeks. Also someone oncce told me "You're not eveen a real human who can take care of yourself?" It haunts me sometimes, and a sudden getaway from everyone and thing is a smart iidea. If i can't kee myself alive in a forest in midlothian, I probably don't deserve to be! Anyway, off no!w, Caroline has my intermittent email if you wanna BPD chat x S

Marmaladegirl Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 6:31am

S - if you are not well at the moment then getting away from everyone is NOT a good idea. You might feel like a burden or that all your interactions with others go bad, but my instinct tells me that being all alone with only yourself to advise you and support you could be a very dangerous decision. Remember that when we are ill we do not make sound decisions. Please stay around and seek help from others. Don't cut yourself off. You can get through this, just don't do anything rash. Lots of love MG xx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 8:05am

S I agree with Marmalade girl. I do hope you have a plan that involves getting help. Could you get a second opinion if going away is right for you.

Ach UK Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 8:40am

S The forest of Midlothian is a beautiful wild expansive place. A great place to walk and be at peace. Hope you have a big backpack and warm sleeping bag. I look forward to you coming back to Moodscope when you feel better. XX Ach.

S Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 4:36pm

It would appear my doctor agrees with you, as I have a serious chest infection coming on and I may need IV antibiotics if it gets any worse. Of course I suggested I could do this myself in the wild if necessary and he gave me a look between impressed and horrified. "Despite the fact I know you know how to do that if necessary, given your past issues, effectively suggesting "Shooting up like old times in the park" doesn't have quite the same ring to it?"

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:47pm

S Sorry to hear about your serious infection, I hope you take notice of your doctor. Thanks for letting us know. Take care

CHRISTINE Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 8:06am

S, I agree with you that most people laugh at people with mental disorders. This is happening to me for more than 14 years, since I was 23. The point is that I try to find peace in my home or somewhere else so I do not pay so much attention to them. They are bullying me. But they also do not have a clue of how hard things are for me.In my opinion we should see ourselves as we would see our best friends. Forgive our mistakes, embrace our insufficiencies, praise our small or big achievements. It is not easy, but I think it can be done. Making plans and try to understand ourselves better, with courage.

Leah Thu, Sep 7th 2017 @ 8:49am

Christine, Thanks for your comment. THat is sad that you have fund people laugh at people with mental disorders. I have found most people while ignorant are kind and understanding.I am sorry yo are bullied. I hope you have some kind friends. We are a safe place here full of understanding people. I agree treating ourselves as we do others is a start to being kind to ourselves, Thanks again for your reply. Leah

Molly Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 1:48am

Hi Leah, I cannot think of anything that might come back and bite me. But I have always been pretty open and would rather talk about the past than bury it. I don't feel it is healthy to bury things.

However, I don't have children.

My first thought was that things cannot have been that bad, for you to even write a blog about it. This tells me that you are not in denial about anything that might have gone wrong. You did your best for your daughter and we can only do our best! Whether it be, past or present.

Not much use on this subject but I hope you receive some comments from people who can relate. One other thought is that maybe you are thinking about the times you went wrong and not concentrating on the times you did good? No-one is perfect after all, it is impossible.

It is great you do talks/interviews etc on mental health, that shows what a very compassionate person you are. Love from Molly xx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 2:17am

Thanks Molly for your kind words. I think it is about another person's experience. I have acknowledged how hard it must have been at times for her. Some people tend to think about the bad times from the past and not the good times. The bad times from our childhood affect us as adults. The reason she was doing the talk was because most of the research concentrates on the child of mentally ill parents . There is not much research from the parents experience. I think burying something is ok after it has had a full examination. Take care Leah xx

Molly Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 6:54pm

Hi Leah, yes I do believe we all only reflect on the bad times. The bad times from my experiences as a child have had a big impact on who I am today. Although I think it is also the nature of the person in themselves. I was very needy, and didn't get what I needed. Others not so needy might not have been affected so much. I am of course looking at this from the other way round, ie my parents, rather than my children, that I do not have! I have many thoughts that might be well off the mark (not read the other comments yet) but the fact that your daughter even asked you to contribute, tells me that she might have put things to bed more than you have. In which case your guilt could go to bed? I sympathise with the fact that you were put in this position, however I have to disagree about 'burying something after full examination'. Without knowing what the issues were with your children, I will never be able to bury what happened to me. I have said what I have wanted to say, got the apology etc, but it will never be buried. One reason I did not have children. However, no parent is perfect, it is an impossible task. M xx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:54pm

Thanks Molly for your personal response. Your experiences are very welcome as it is interesting to get your perspective from a child's perspective. I am pleased my daughter felt she could ask and wanted my experiences for her assignment. Every child and every parent have needs. Parenting is an impossible task but also a very rewarding one. Leah xx

Hopeful One Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 7:46am

Hi Leah - a thought provoking blog ending with tough questions 'Have you had to face some unpleasant truth about yourself? How did you handle it?Are there things in your past you would rather leave there?

At the heart of it ,I feel , lies the question: how do we relate to ourselves?I have a very friendly inner critical voice and so ,if faced with an unpleasant truth about myself, I handle it by making what amends I can and then choosing between forgive or forget but always choosing one. And yes I have many things in the past which I leave there preferring to look ahead rather than in the rear view mirror.

This laugh is admittedly not PC ... my apologies to the PC purists.

An Englishman is being shown around a Scottish hospital. Towards the end of his visit, he is shown a ward with a number of people with no obvious signs of injury. He goes to speak to the first man he sees and the man pipes up: "Fair fa' yer honest sonsie face, Great chieftain e' the puddin' race! Aboon them a'ye tak your place, painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye wordy o'a grace as lang's my arm."

The Englishman, being somewhat taken aback, goes to the next patient and immediately the patient launches into: "Some hae meat, and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it. But we hae meat and we can eat, And sae the Lord be thankit."

This continues with the next patient: "Wee sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie, O, what a panic's in thy breastie! Thou need not start awa sae hasty, Wi bickering brattle I wad be laith to run and chase thee, Wi murdering pattle!"

The Englishman turns to the doctor accompanying him on the visit and asks "Is this a psychiatric ward?"

"No, No," replies the doctor, "It's the serious Burns unit."

LP Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 7:52am

Ha! Great punchline! Thanks HO :)

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 8:08am

Thanks Hopeful One. I can answer your question How do I relate to myself- in one word - depends. When I feel confident I relate well to myself bit I when feel guilty I only hear my inner critic who is very severe,

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 8:09am

By the Way like the joke and have not heard it before. It made me smile .

the room above the garage Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 12:04pm

I'd like a little red loveheart button (a la Twitter) next to HOs jokes so we can respond. As a Scot, today's offering brought me a deep and wide smile! Thank you my friend! Love ratg x

Lexi Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 1:15pm

I laughed out loud at that one HO. Thank you!

Molly Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 7:00pm

I didn't get the joke !! Might get it in an hour and start laughing then. Message to myself = read joke ten times and then laugh when everyone else has moved onto the next one.

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:55pm

Molly, I am sure by now you are smiling. Just think Scottish Poet.

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:56pm

RATG I knew you would like this joke and I smiled that you would smile.x

LP Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 7:49am

Hi Leah,
That was a tough one. Personal issues are just that, that's why there are confidentiality boundaries. Counselling family members I understand isn't advisable and for similar reasons perhaps it wasn't the right time for this subject. So I understand your anxiety about it.
It's not that you're not open and honest, just that some things needs to be worked through with the right kind of support.
I was so glad to read the compromise the two of you came up with, creating some structure and boundaries maybe.
The other thing is at least you are honest enough to think that in hindsight you might have done somethings differently. My mother makes excuses for herself like "it's cultural" which just leaves me feeling resentful and angry.
Hopefully your daughter knows how you feel.
I'm sure you're aware that you're being very hard on yourself.
Also how being a parent comes with guilt for many of us with or without illness thrown into the mix. You naturally want the best for your children and our expectations of ourselves can be unrealistic. All we have to be is good enough.
It sounds like you've done a very good job for your daughter to be studying at that level.
I do agree that we can't live in the past and also agree that at some point it's probably more healthy to work through unresolved and painful stuff so that you can see them for what they are, then put them behind you, rather than carrying the heavy box that you darent open with you.
Maybe this was a blessing and can help you look at it a bit objectively. I know how difficult it is to choose to address these things, I haven't fully.
Thank you for sharing your experience Leah which resonates with me. I found it very helpful to think through.
My very best wishes to you your daughter and all. LPxx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 8:10am

LP Thanks for your sensitive response to my blog, I feel I have worked through my painful stuff and so have buried it in a box and don't see why it needs to be exhumed.

LP Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:18am

Oh ok Leah, sorry don't know why I assumed you hadn't at all. Xx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:30am

LP, your words were very helpful. THanks

Eva Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 7:53am

Hi Leah, I was just talking with my husband last night over my reactions to my mum in the wake of my dad's death...

after he died my mum was very much in self preservation mode with an agenda that didn't allow for anyone else's grief. I was exhausted and facing the bitter reality that my input was going to be required further and for quite some time. I had truly given my all without thought to my own resources, right up to his passing and I really needed a bit of down time to recuperate. I was unaware at this time of some additional physical ailments that cropped up in the wake of all of this. I didn't think to challenge my mum at this stage, I was too much in shock I think, after a while still with no opportunity for a time out because of her level of need, every interaction became spiked with bitter resentment and anger towards her. I managed as much as I could to keep it under wraps, but not always and the tension built and was palpable for others around me, and I know that it scared her, but she couldn't let go. I feel unhappy looking back that I reacted with such negativity, BUT I was ill, massively depleted and fatigued. I hadn't learned enough about exhaustion, fatigue and the real need for rest and recuperation daily, I had been strong enough previously to always keep going (that's another story).

So the culmination of our talk last night is that although I wish I had been able to behave better, I was ill, but unaware and my mum was in a panicked state, maybe both or neither of us are at fault, maybe it's just the way it panned out, and we move on. I know how to rest now, and she understands that for the moment I'm ill and I need the time to recuperate. We are on much better terms. It's been a journey.

Maybe you can examine and accept and let your regrets go? I wonder if the time has to be right? I couldn't have done this in the middle of it all, but on the outer edge, and moving on it feels like the right thing to do.

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 8:14am

Eva, Thanks for sharing your experience with your mum and the insights you gained. I felt I had let my regrets go but when this assignment came up it would open old wounds. I do feel the time has to be right .

Ach UK Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 8:23am

Good morning Leah, This is a brave blog you have put forward.
There are events and actions in my past that I have parcelled up and stuffed away. Some more uncomfortable than others, and some hiding even from me and probably best never looked at as the emotional pain involved in delving back in those parcels carries the threat of unhinging me again. So I have been fortunate to have the help of psychologists to unwrap and unwravel some of the parcels and then repackage their contents into a more tidy box that sits more comfortably on my shelves.

Be kind to yourself, you have given your child a glimpse of your painful past. May she come to appreciate your love and perhaps understand your troubles better.
XX Ach

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 8:34am

Ach, Thanks for your sensitive reply. I like the idea of unravelling and the repackage the contents into a tidy box that sit comfortably on the shelf. My daughter does appreciate my issues but she needed me to acknowledge hers as well.

Ach UK Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 8:43am


Sally Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:02am

Dear Leah, I found your blog intriguing but didn't properly understand what it was you reproached yourself for in your parenting, if anything. Whilst I can think of individual moments and instances in my relationship with my daughter where I wish what was said could be unsaid, and so on, on the whole, Je ne regrette rien ( as Edith Piaf sang emotively). I was a "good enough mother", an expression that was around at the time, 20 years ago...As for raising my son, who is younger than her, and severely disabled, I think I did as well as I could as main carer , keeping him in the family until he was 19 and we could no longer cope with everything any longer because of the complex nature and 24/7 care he requires. Where he is now, he has carers day and night, who will not be as exhausted through lack of rest/ sleep. Win-win for all, since adaptation went fairly smoothly. So no, on the whole I am ok with how I parented both children, given the circumstances and lack of help that was out there..

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:32am

Sally, Thanks for your personal reply. I feel I did my best but my daughter remembers differently and feel my mental illness affected her childhood. I thank you for your honesty.

the room above the garage Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 12:03pm

Exactly my experience Ach, unwrapped, tidied and rewrapped. If the right person can be found then it's so valuable.

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:57pm

Ratg I agree, you need the right person to help or the parcel may just remain in an untidy mess cluttering up one's emotions.

Dolphin Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:06am

Dear Leah - such an honest and painful reflection. My heart goes out to you. You probably think you make worse mistakes because of your mental condition, but ALL parents make mistakes and we ALL face limitations at some times. From my own experience, my mother was depressed and frightened all her life and of course this affected us. It wasn't, however, named or acknowledged, so I felt it was me who was inadequate and/or needy and/or selfish etc and tip toed like a mouse trying not to be noticed. Your openness and honesty must help your daughter a great deal, even when you have different needs at specific times. Plus you are able to talk about those different expectations.

As to my own regrets, understanding the deeper levels of what is going on always helps and I believe under it all that I can learn from my mistakes. There were so many good suggestions in the replies - to unravel and repackage, to analyse, forgive or forget... Thank you all - I'll be putting the advice into action and hope to start repackaging one painful issue immediately. xxx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:35am

Dolphin, Thanks for your understanding reply. I like the way you are going to start repackaging a painful memory straight sway. That is great news. Let me now how you went. I explained to my daughter similar to what you wrote that parenting is difficult for all parents especially with the first child. Thanks Dolphinx

Orangeblossom Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:45am

Thanks for your thought stimulating blog Leah. I enjoyed reading it very much & would like to admit that my parenting skills left a lot to be desired. I think that my children have forgiven me. At least I hope so.

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:32am

Orangeblossom thanks for your honesty and your kind words.

Romy Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:50am

Dear Leah. Your post resonated with me . My daughter is studying to be a mental health nurse and part of the curriculum for this year is postnatal depression which I experienced badly after having her. She knows this and I regret it but had no control over what happened to me . It is such a shame but that's life for you . So when she wants details of what happened to me I will tell her as much as I feel appropriate and as much as I and I alone want . Some things are personal . You do not have to be a totally open book and I am sure our daughters will respect that and not want to open old wounds . You have loved her and done your best for her and yourself and I am sure that she feels that . It is hard work keeping yourself together emotionally after being so ill . Do not let this blip cause you too much heartache and guilt but be proud of the progress you have made and the good job you have done of bringing up your daughter . I am sure she is proud of you for all the work you have done to raise mental health awareness and help remove the stigma surrounding it . Now she can do the same from a daughters point of view . We are all in this together and doing the best we can so please take comfort from that . Sending kind regards Romy xxx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:35am

Romy, Thanks for your moving post, I hope that our honesty will help others. I appreciate you opening up and letting me know about your experience. Leah xx

Molly Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 7:12pm

Wise words Romy, I liked what you said xx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 9:59pm

Romy I wonder if there is more understanding for postnatal depression than for bipolar as PND occurred after the birt and due to the birth. Just a thought.

Tutti Frutti Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:20am

Leah My worst ever episode was post natal puerpal psychosis. There are bits of what happened then that I can't imagine ever telling my daughter and I think I am genuinely looking out for her as well as for me here. I really admire what you're doing by speaking out on mental health but there have to be some barriers available to protect you when you need them. I am not at all surprised that you feel shakier talking to your daughter where you care about her and your relationship than you do with people in general. You do not need to feel guilty about having put up some boundaries. Take care of yourself - ie don't take on anything too tough for a bit!
Love and hugs TF xoxo

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:37am

TF thanks your for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate your kind words. Xo

The Gardener Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:23am

HO - nice to see you back - seriously funny, Leah, I am at crisis time with Mr G - and I am hanging on to the fact that life was good through the photos. With parenting, even if you did something you really regretted I think it's vital to 'air' it, if that works, then get on with life. With our 5, looking at 'triumphs and disasters' I think, hand on heart, that we made the decisions which were right for that time for that child, given financial or educational restrictions. Our eldest son, smarting and sad at the failure of his first marriage was having his birthday with us. I can see him now, all 6'3" of him, leaning on the dresser, having downed vodka and wine, saying that we should have been 'stricter' with him. We'd tried all methods to help him with decisions, (this was teens) educational problems, traumas with girl-friends - waving a 'big stick' would have been useless. A very wise history master at the boys' grammar school said that if, at 13/14 years, they had the 'work ethic' but neither parents nor teachers could beg, bribe or cajole them into what they did not want to do. Now, I am struggling with a great sadness. Our youngest daughter, adopted, will be 50 on Thursday - unmissable because it's the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana. Our second son married on our daughter's 18th birthday, so another anniversary. We have been estranged for 6 years. I have begged anybody invited to her party to get some photos for me, I don't even know what she looks like now. She was volatile, and I've felt lots of guilt - but she, like the others, was provided with the best (I mean widest, not as in spoiling) upbringing we could give her. The rift came when she broke up with her husband after only 18 months. I wrote to him, personally, to express our sorrow, and to his parents, Hungarian, whom we had grown to love. Our daughter opened the letter, took exception to it and has not spoken to us since. I had the same experience as Romy - the medical treatment I had then I now disagree with, as it affected our third son badly - but I CANNOT feel a bad parent about something which was imposed on me. I need a big pick-me-up - Mr G worse than ever, with me and others - it will be the part of the hospital which I hate, although it will be necessary - estrangement, as mentioned above - the the North Korean antics - I want a good world for my great-grand daughter - who is showing super results from her upbringing - which has had its serious problems. Hope you find a happy 'perspective' on the past, Leah. Big hugs from France xxx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:41am

Gardener, Thanks for your wonderful replly full of anecdotes and wise lessons. I am sorry about MR G . You had many experiences wiht your children and grandchildren. I hope one day your daughter comes back to your family.Hugs and kind thoughts from Austrialia xx.

the room above the garage Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 12:12pm

TG, a pick me up you about that if we had a moodscope table to meet around each day then you would be given warmth from each of our hugs as you career through the Mr TG turbulence. What you manage is quite something. The photographs are vital (for me too) for they force a truth back to us that we may just not be able to see. I'm sending you a butterfly in my mind, just to distract you for a moment and give you a pause. Perhaps one might even float around you for real later in the day. Sending you love darling girl x.

The Gardener Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 2:40pm

Leah and others - I get very undeserved remarks about my 'wisdom'. Lots of people can get to my age and remain incapable of 'riding out' the storms, and impervious to others problems. My eldest sons complained bitterly that I 'practiced' on them, and the rest got it easy. Just realised that mistakes are made - I was 19 when first son born, knew lots about young animals, and a baby is a young animal, needs love,feeding, of course, and now (an unknown word then) 'bonding'. My mother-in-law roared in and took over instilling her methods (imbibed from a New Zealand tyrant called Truby King). What she told me to do were against my instincts - and I think baby and I suffered - I was nervous, he had infantile colic. Lots of animal analogies - drive children with a light rein - let them know they are being 'forced' like greenhouse plants they will rebel (they will anyway). Don't wrap them in cotton wool, and don't 'use' them to try, through them, to realise your own thwarted ambitions.

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:03pm

TG The remarks are well deserved. I was a Truby King baby too !! This may explain a lot. I like your animal analogy of needing love and feeding, Thaks again TG, More hugs xx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:04pm

Ratg Your kind words to Tg, really touched me and showed what a compassionate soul you are. Sending you mile of smilesxx

the room above the garage Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 11:32am

Hello lovely Leah, today I wish I could pull you up a chair at the moodscope breakfast table and serve warm drinks and coffee buns. My gut feeling was to say that if opening that box is still painful then it's not yet resolved. And that your daughter has brought a gift in ugly clothing. (But from reading your replies, perhaps you have worked on it and now need it to stay past.) For me, when I find things hurt it's because I have painted over them hoping cracks will need only topping up here and there. It's a risky way for me to live. Sometimes I can excavate and sometimes I can't. It's just timing really. I'm not sure good mothers will ever be free of guilt, it may just be the territory. But if you can love that person now for who they are then you must remember they grew that way because of you who are. Even people with devastated lives can be whole, and so try to remember you were carrying a huge mountain as you raised your children. Your best is good enough. I'm glad you were able to answer some questions. Is your line still open between you for more or are you hopeful of leaving it there? It may feel awful going over it but if you can treat your daughter the way you treat us then you won't go wrong. Try not to think of the questions and answers involving you, think of yourself as someone else. You were someone else! I handled my unpleasant truths by emptying bottles until I found I was doing nothing more than repeatedly hurting myself. Acceptance brought me a peace I'd only dreamt of but that acceptance wasn't simple or easy to stumble upon and I'm still working on it. Are you sure you've drilled out all the decay before the filling? I hope I've not overstepped in my reply. Love ratg x.

Molly Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 7:33pm

RATG - I do tend to agree with you. Without wanting to upset Leah, my own parents prefer to bury things and if I try to question anything, they will dismiss it quicker than that. They cannot bear to go down any road where there might have been wrongdoing, which only leaves me feeling that it will all stay with me forever. If they want to make it up to me now, then they should face the issue head on, but they continue to run away and defend themselves in whatever way they can find. For me they live in a cuckoo world. I love Leah and do not want to cause offence, but I do feel that if a child asks for help, it should be honoured (they/we are the adults and not the child) but I only feel strongly about this, because it was never given to me. My parents act like children and went on to marry controlling partners who can treat them as such. Therefore, any issue I have will stay forever, and never be buried xx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:13pm

Ratg Thanks for your detailed reply.I wrote this blog weeks ago and showed my daughter and she used it as part of her talk, We exchanged several emails in form of of letters and she used these in her talk as well. She sent me a copy of her fina speech. It was very moving and very well written and it gave us both a voice. When faced with something that upsets me I write down what I am feeling which is what the blog is about. I also though that others could relate to finding out an uncomfortable truth about themselves , the blog was not supposed to be all about me. I suppose because it was so personal most people concentrated on my issues. My daughter told me that she got a good reaction from her fellow students some of whom had not thought about how the parent felt. I appreciate your opinions and sharing your experiences. Leah xx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:19pm

Molly, Thanks for your response. I have replied to ratg and some of that may answer some of your thoughts as well. You have not upset me I welcome other people's opinions. If you read above, I have honoured, answered and helped my daughter. She appreciated my input and her tutor was pleased with the quality of her talk. She is a gifted writer, I think we have a different understanding of buried. Something buried can be dug up examined and required.I am not good at metaphors/analogy maybe go back to the box. All I meant is I felt it had been examined. But then I changed my mind and fully participated in the assignment. Thanks again for your thoughts.xx

Molly Wed, Aug 30th 2017 @ 7:55pm

Leah, I am glad you had a good outcome with your daughter. It is difficult on here sometimes to understand fully certain situations and then we naturally compare them to our own, but as you mentioned I think, every situation is different regardless and there is always more to a story. I am sorry if I misunderstood or 'went off on one' as it is an outlet for me and not personal to you, which I am grateful for because I know you get that already xx

Leah Wed, Aug 30th 2017 @ 9:32pm

Molly, I think we relate to b logs here from own experience and I like that as I get different ideas. I find discussion healthy. Also by the time ablog is online tings may have changed, You made me look at things from a different perspective, so I thank you.x

Marmaladegirl Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 12:07pm

Hello dear Leah - Looks like you have got a lot of reading to do today with all our lengthy responses! Your blog raised many thoughts and feelings for me. Not sure that my replying will be of any interest to others, but I think it might help ME so I'll give it a go... I identify sooo strongly with the guilt associated with parenting when one has a mental illness. My parenting decisions have also been questioned (continue to be questioned) by family members who do not understand MY illnesses nor do they understand my two children's mental health issues. (I do feel that a bit of basic research on the part of these family members would be helpful before handing out unsolicited and misguided advice!)

I too have put things in boxes, put the boxes away and am leaving them there! So far neither I nor either of my two daughters have shown any inclination to open any of the boxes. I think one day I might like to because along with the guilt I feel terribly SAD about their childhood and yet maybe, just maybe, they don't remember it as being as bad as I do...

My first born, now 18, has stopped self-harming and OD-ing on paracetamol. She has also stopped hating me (she cut me out of her life for 2 years, but since April 2016 she now lives with me and her sister). She has depression and possibly ME/CFS but is generally a whole lot better now. My second daughter was unable to go to school for the whole of Year 11 due to high anxiety levels and depression. She still has panic attacks but is about to start her second year of Sixth Form. I am so proud of both of them for hanging in there and managing to pull the pieces of their lives back together again after me and their father had failed them so drastically. If I hadn't been ill I don't think they would have had the mental health issues they have. But then if my ex-husband hadn't been such a narcissistic bully, I wouldn't have become ill... Either way it was the children that suffered and I do wish that it hadn't been so.

Leah, you MUST put self-preservation at the top of your list, no matter how disappointed your children might be. Hopefully in time they will understand.

In answer to your question "Are there things in your past you would rather leave there?" I feel like saying "Yes! All of it!" I live for today and the future. The past I have drawn a line under. Do I need to revisit it? I don't know (probably!) but I hope that I have learnt the lessons of the past and at the moment I feel much happier just to live in the present and plan for / look forward to the future.

Lots of love, MG xxx

Dragonfly Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 4:20pm

Dear MG I have so many things in common with you! Pregnant at 17, first child at 18 and my second daughter missed school through horrendous anxiety - so heart breaking and harder to bear than my own struggles with depression. And terrible problems within my marriage which exacerbated everything. I am often still wracked with guilt over my parenting and feel responsible for the depression my daughters battle with, even though it's been mainly PND with my elder daughter. Unfortunately my son (the eldest) wants nothing to do with the family, but my 2 beautiful daughters are an inspiration and I'm so thankful for the relationship we have - and for my gorgeous grandbabies. They reassure me things weren't so bad when they were younger, and remind me of many nice things I did (which of course I don't remember!) but I wish things had been better/different. Perhaps as you say MG, perhaps they don't remember it being so bad. This is such an emotive subject and I find it difficult to show myself compassion where my children/parenting is concerned, even though I barely knew how to be a person (because of my own childhood!) never mind a mother x

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:30pm

Marmalade girl Thank you for sharing your moving story.You have had to cope with so much I am glad you and your daughters are now in a better place. I suppose you will never know if you and your husband had been well that your daughters would not have had mental illness. I know parents who are healthy who have had children who have mental health issues so who knows . As I said to Ratg above that I did reply and be involved in my daughter's assignment. I like that you feel ok about living in the present and planning for the future. I think part of being a parent is feeling guilty because we all wish we could have done better. Your daughters are lucky to have such an open and honest and understanding mother who has been there for them and will continue to be there for the rest of their lives.I dont think children could ask for more,Leah xx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:37pm

Dragonfly, I was vert touched my the honesty and raw emotion in your post. It is hard to show ourselves compassion but your daughters have so maybe you can too. I know it is very hard and I struggle too. Maybe your son one day will change his mind, It is comforting your daughters understand what yiu were going through and they reassure you and remind you of the good times you had. It must have been difficult for you having a hard childhood that did not prepare you for motherhood. I am not sure though anything can prepare one for being a parent. Sending you a big hug, Leah xx

Leah Wed, Aug 30th 2017 @ 1:08pm

Marmalade girl, I have thought about your comment that self preservation must be put top of the list , but what does that mean. As parents our emotional health depends on our children;s happiness. So it is complicated and a balance. Thanks again for your input.xx

Lexi Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 1:57pm

Leah, I always love to see your name. Your posts are so thought provoking and heartfelt. I can only imaging the pain the school exercise may have caused you. You have the right to discuss it or not; it is your business and no one else’s. I don’t think it means you are being dishonest; I think it shows that you are being true to yourself by honoring the side of yourself that isn’t willing or ready to discuss it. None one of us (that I have met) have had perfect childhoods ourselves. Wounds carry over from generation to generation I think, and we are all here to learn compassion, for ourselves and others. You are a loving, compassionate mother, and I think you are taking care of yourself by choosing what you want to explore and when. It is no one’s choice to make but yours. Xo Lexi

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:38pm

Lexi Thanks for your kind words. In my reply to Ratg I gave an update on the exercise, I did agree to participate and it has been ok. It was my choice but as a parent you always think about one's children and how they feel. Leah xx

Valerie Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 3:34pm

Oh Leah,
Where to begin.Do I have guilt and regret? How long have you got?

I would be ashamed to list the ways in which I let my son down.I was pregnant at 17,a mother at 18.A well off- father from whom I was estranged,a mad and bad mother in and out of hospital,6 marriages between them.

None of which excuses the choices I made,giving my son the minimum of time and attention in order to hang onto a violent and eccentric husband.I only had the guts to leave when I met someone else after 10 years.
Older,but still selfish and cowardly,I let my son take second place again.

Heartfelt apologies on my part have not healed the past.Our relationship comes down to Christmas cards and occasional chatty emails, but promises to meet up never materialise. I made an indiscreet comment about his fiancée to a "friend" years ago,which was repeated.He immediately withdrew my invitation to the wedding.

This is just one part of my list of regrets.I have always been anxious and depressed,but have never suffered from psychosis that could excuse such behaviour.I was fully aware of my actions,and I did and said bad things,causing hurt.

Thank God your daughter is still close to you,I doubt if she feels in any way that you failed her during her childhood.Even if she does,she clearly does not harbour any resentment.

Some people have the clever knack of rewriting history,erasing all the bits that don't fit the picture.One of my father's favourite songs was "My Way",the anthem of all selfish narcissists! xx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:46pm

Valerie I want to give you a big hug and cover you in a quilt of comfort. I am very teary reading your post and admire your brutal honesty and your acknowledging your regrets. I suppose you still have contact via the chatty emails , hopefully in time that may lead to more. I have no wise words to you but I feel your pain. I appreciate how hard it was to open up and share your experience. Thank you for that. Xx

Molly Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 7:55pm

I know Leah will reply to you all personally but I just felt like saying that there were some really interesting comments here on a really sensitive issue. I could sit here writing all night in responses to everyone. Particularly like your last sentence Valerie :-) I do wonder if selfish men in life (sorry to all men reading this) are half of all the problems that us women have to cope with !! Certainly the case in my life, past and present, and they don't seem to be the ones that carry any guilt or conscience !! That is our skill and burden !! :-) xx

Leah Tue, Aug 29th 2017 @ 10:50pm

Thanks Molly, There were so many interesting replies while I was asleep( and before I went to bed) The honesty revealed here has touched me, For me I don't have selfish men to blame, just my self and my ilness. I know that is different for other people. Thanks for all your comments .xx,

Molly Wed, Aug 30th 2017 @ 8:14pm

It was a fly away comment really about men - I don't blame them as such - there are plenty of good ones around. I guess I blame my illness on my upbringing and experiences etc but who knows, I could have just been born that way xx

Leah Wed, Aug 30th 2017 @ 9:34pm

I understand it was a fly away comment. I think I have blamed almost everything at one time from illness. Thats why I suppose I decided to concentrate on the present and future as I could not change the past. Realising that I could learn from past mistakes then face the present and future with new knowledge.x

Molly Wed, Aug 30th 2017 @ 10:40pm

Wise words Leah. Nice work if you can get it. Sarcasm, sorry. I'm not one to be able to forget the past easily, especially when it still causes me issues. I guess it's ok if you can put a line under it. I don't believe a line will ever be put under mine. But when I'm not depressed I can fly like Mary Poppins xx

Leah Sun, Sep 3rd 2017 @ 8:39am

Thanks everyone, nearly a week after my blog I have had time to think. Facing an uncomfortable truth is worth it in the end because I have faced my fears of my parenting and I am still standing . I think the ability to share stories honestly as moodscopers have here and do every day is a step to facing the truth about ourselves. Hugs to all. Xx

Jane SG Mon, Sep 4th 2017 @ 9:33pm

Coming to this very, very late. WOW! What heartrenching, honest comments. Leah, your writing always seems to encourage people to open up. Very powerful. And I hope all the replies helped you also. I'm sorry I can't reply more, I'm so tired tonight xxx

Jul Sun, Sep 10th 2017 @ 6:16pm

Dear Leah. I have now read all the comments to your heartfelt blog. I am glad to read that you are in a happier place now that your daughter has given her talk and she and you liaised and spoke about the presentation. That was the surface however, the talk and I can only imagine the deep delving you had to do into your past and to try to defend and justify your parenting. I don't think your daughter has children of her own? I too have misgivings about my parenting of my daughter but not so much my son. However I have never had to explain to my daughter about the decisions I made or didn't make in the way you had to. It seems that the talk your daughter had to prepare was almost an excuse to get you to open up. It's an "easy" way for her to bring up a difficult subject. It's almost surreal really. It's like role play but subjective. There should be a list of skills to guide a parent through this ordeal. Maybe you could write the guidelines now you have successfully dealt with the cross it wasn't quite that I am sure. I have never had to explain my behaviour/ health issues to my children but if ever I have to I will almost certainly blame my depression and my inability to get help sooner. I made a bad choice to carry on as if I was normal and there wasn't a problem for years. Unfortunately these were the years when my children were small and growing up. I know that I have been trying to make up for all this for years now they are grown up. I'll probably never stop trying to make amends. Love Julia xxx

Leah Sun, Sep 10th 2017 @ 10:34pm

Julia Thanks for taking the time to write such a moving , unserdstanding and honest reply. I am glad we opened up the communication even though it was difficult, Your insights into my blog and into your own life have helped me. Thank you again.Love Leah xxx

Cogitator Thu, Oct 5th 2017 @ 12:49pm

Hi, I do have guilt and shame I need to face, and poor behaviour I need to take ownership of. Just coming to glimpse my own wrong-doing that, bipolar inspired or not, should be investigated.

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