Saturday 7 February 2015


Reader Natalie talks with heartbreaking honesty about her fractured childhood…

Natalie says:
I've been told that Mum was always a bit different from the other kids, and that as a teenager she became very depressed. She became pregnant with me at seventeen, and soon after I was born she was showing such worrying symptoms my Nan referred her to a hospital where she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. By the time I was two, my mum just couldn't cope, and I went into temporary foster care; Nan agreed to look after me and I moved in with her. Being in care at a young age did leave me with separation anxiety, but this has improved a little over the years.

Mum went on to have four more children, many of whom have poor health and and other issues. For a while, I was still seeing Mum and my brothers and sisters, but she often let me down and hurt me (emotionally, not physically). I have often felt very angry at my mum, but I try to remember that this is not her fault - bipolar is a very serious illness and that is what is hurting me, not Mum. I see three of my siblings fairly regularly, though I don't see one of my brothers much. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful nan, who is so loving and caring. When I was younger, she took me on lots of day trips to keep me distracted from the difficult stuff that was going on, and she always takes time to explain things to me and make me feel safe and secure. She is a very strong woman, and thank goodness, she has always been there for me.

When I think back, I can see that life has not been easy because of Mum's mental health issues and that's something that others might not always understand. Overall, though, I feel lucky to have people in my life who care about me and look after me…

Names have been changed to protect Natalie's identity; photo posed by model Grace.

Cathy says:
Natalie's story shows that we often do not know the things that others have to cope with; her strength and understanding is amazing and inspiring. Have YOU ever had to cope with terrifying situations? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more, or to show support to Natalie.

1 comment:

  1. This is amazing! So sad! Well done to Natalie for staying so strong! Méabh



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