‘And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me. He’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me’

I thought being a teenager was the hardest part of having a parent with mental illness

The fighting, the lack of understanding, the fear and the unpredictability

It wasn’t though

I’m 38 years old and the hardest part is right now

When he’s 74 years old and he’s too scared to leave the house

Too scared to drive

Too scared to be home alone

Too scared to go anywhere

It’s hearing the fear in his voice when he asks you to call him bc he’s going to be alone for a few hours

It’s seeing the anxiety manifest in his body movements and in the tightness of his face and wringing of his hands

It’s the pleading in his voice to go to the hospital where he hopes they’ll find something, that is not anxiety

It’s hearing and seeing him lash out in anger because he’s frustrated and helpless in his life

It’s knowing that he’s missing out on life because of this thing he’s battled for over 40 years

It’s coming home after seeing him

And crying uncontrollably

Because you still can’t help him

You still can’t save him

You still feel like the scared kid who’s home alone with him when he’s having a panic attack and you don’t know what to do

You still feel like the teenager whose angry and pissed off at a world that lets this happen to anyone

It’s knowing another day will go by and he won’t have conquered his anxiety

His illness wins again

It seems like it always fucking wins

And I’m afraid that mine will too…

I begged for your peace..for a piece of It

You’re going to let your entire life pass you by in a blur of fears, anxieties and worries. You’ve lived most of your life with one foot in the grave always waiting for the other foot to fall.

You missed all the beauty life could have offered you. The beauty it did offer you but you were too scared to even notice.

Your family surrounded you and loved you and I don’t think you ever believed it. Fully. 

It was tainted with angry words and resentment. You let your fears, anxieties and worries take up room in your head instead of the laugher and love that was around you. 

You heard the cruel words of the world and at night, in the dark, the conflicts around you were the only things you replayed behind your eyes. 

You couldn’t listen when your child begged for help and needed your hand to keep her from drowning. You could only hear your own pain shouting so loudly in your ears.

You didn’t hear your child’s fear, anxieties and worry replacing what should have been their own happy thoughts. You only heard your own voice crying out in the dark. Again and again. 

Instead you obsessively worried about when you would die, frantically worrying about when the pain would suffocate you. 

And I still don’t know whether or not you were worrying about when and how it would end or if all along you were simply hoping for it.