As a child my Mother was in and out of hospital on a regular basis. “Suffers with her nerves” I used to hear people say! I had no idea what they were talking about or why my family couldn’t just be normal. As I’ve grown up and look around, now I really wonder what is actually normal?
Normal to me then was having my Mum at home. I am an only child, which some people would think as lucky although I beg to differ – I always longed for a Brother or Sister, someone to play with, share my thoughts and worries with.
My Nan was my rock; she came to stay with us each time Mum was in hospital to look after me and my Dad. My Dad is a quiet, kind man but often buried his head in the sand when it came to Mum and her being ill. On many occasions, Mum stopped taking her medication as she thought she would be fine without it. I was too young to understand really. I remember visiting mental health wards on regular occasions and I was so frightened I didn’t understand.
I remember one incident so clearly when Mum was ill and I was about 16. Mum locked herself in our neighbour’s toilet and wouldn’t come out. We tried for what seemed like hours to get her to unlock the door and in the end we had to call the Doctor who summoned an ambulance to take Mum to hospital to be sectioned. This wasn’t the only occasion where something like this happened.
As I got older this pattern continued until one day Mum’s psychiatrist spoke to Dad and I and said “it wasn’t good for Mum to carry on like this, going in and out of hospital all of the time.” She needed more care and someone to make sure she took her medication. Dad and I reluctantly looked for a residential home for Mum. This was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. Mum didn’t really want to go but understood that neither she nor Dad could continue as they had been.
We found a nice home in Ealing, London not far from Dad’s house. She moved in there in 2003 when she was 67! She has since moved to a different Home in Acton which is even nearer to Dad where they provide nursing care. Dad goes to see her almost every day I know he wishes things had been different. We both do.
I suppose my experiences as a child have made me the person I am today. For years I worried that I would be like Mum constantly asking myself if her condition was hereditary? My Nan – my Mum’s own Mum – was a very strong independent woman and a huge influence in my life. Thankfully I think I have taken after her.
Running Extra Help – providing the services we do to enable people to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible – is so important to me, especially with my own experiences. As a Company, Sarah and I are very passionate about providing good services and sometimes when there is no other option but for a family member to go into residential care I can say that I totally understand everything they are going through.
Until next time …