i met Ross online as a Hashtag Game player of note and pretty soon he joined my crew of UnNamed Ones [Sh!] which is basically code for people who have co-hosted a game of @AFrikkinHashtag [which happens every Wed on the Twitterer]. i can’t even remember how it came up, but i invited Ross to share some glimpses into his life as someone who has lived with someone he loves who has mental health issues and he bravely agreed to share some of his story. The hope is that this will encourage others who might be walking a similar path, so please feel free to share or tag people you know who might resonate.

Growing up – Ross Moorhouse

Life’s not straight forward, it can’t be too easy, or too hard. We just carry on moving forward with everything happening around us, or at least we try to. Some people grow up easily, a happy family, good mental health, admiration, inspiration & motivation. Even if you think you can’t have any of those, you can.

Mental health has been a focal point in my family, and still is – we all do our best to make sure everyone’s okay, and help the one person who needs it, my mum. When I was young, my mum wasn’t really there, but it wasn’t something she could help. At the time, I didn’t acknowledge any of it, though still – I had a childhood, and used my friends as distractions.

My mum’s mental illness developed whilst I was a baby, I was born in 1999 – and I’m now 18. A lot of things have happened in the past, some major events and some minor, most of it started when I was living back at our old house before we moved to our current one after our granddad on my dad’s side, passed away. I didn’t really live with my mum, and I didn’t know why – but I accepted the fact. Whilst I was living a life of not being with a mum, my mum was living a life of not being able to see her children. My parents had a divorce prior to all that was to happen, as my dad knew it wouldn’t be easy to look after her whilst he was trying to look after all of us as a single parent.

Mum had a few encounters with the police, once smashing a police car’s window with a knife – but that wasn’t her, not the real mum who was a piano expert & was very educated, she could play in bands at the town hall, read books and memorize events. All of that was now somewhere hidden, whilst mental health took over.

The only major event I can really recall, is when I was at home with the older brother who was around 12 and is now 21, I was 9, & my sister who was around 7 and is now 15 – we were with our dad and late grandma on my dad’s side. Our mum showed up unexpectedly, and with her limit of being able to see us – she expected to, but unbeknownst to the set law, she tried to let herself in and pushed against the front door as my dad pushed against the other side. Me and my brother & sister, stayed in the kitchen with our grandma, who made us feel safe, even though I don’t think our own mum would potentially harm us. After some arguing, she went out of the front garden, and sat in front of the fence. Some neighbours who lived opposite our house, and a few up the road, had witnessed what had happened – and I assume someone had called the police, as we hadn’t. They turned up and talked her into the car, and they drove off whilst I watched through the window in my dad’s bedroom. After that, I realized that a proper future with my mum wouldn’t be possible, there would always be restrictions.

As time went by, my mum was allowed to visit every two weeks on a Saturday – she’d buy us magazines and books, toys and sweets, to try and buy us our love, but the truth is – she shouldn’t have had to, as we knew she couldn’t have helped any of it, her mental illness was underestimated, and because of that, we knew how much we should value her. Through her struggle, she still wanted to be a part of our family and we allowed it. Not just because it’d be good for her, but because it’d be good for us to have a mum. It’s now 2017, and our mum visits regularly, there are no limits on how often she can visit us & she lives in her own flat that is relatively close to our house.

Still, we haven’t fully moved on, she can turn ill often, but it’s not as serious in comparison than how bad it was. She goes into a different mode,where she isn’t herself, but inside, she knows who she is, she just can’t control it. Memories of her family members lives, can stir up emotions easily – so I tell her to focus on the future and what she has currently, as we’re always going to help her. Anyone with mental health, shouldn’t want to be made feel unwanted or different, they’re still the same person. Just on a different route, but we can be on that route and stay with them, we can help them & they can help us to understand that life isn’t straight forward after all, there are flaws in everyone. But we have to focus on what’s good for us in life, throw away all the negativity and keep looking upwards. Because going forwards is all we can and should do.

[You can follow Ross on the Twitterer at @RossMoorhouse]

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Sho, thanks so much for sharing Ross. i can only begin to imagine what that must be like. i hope this story has been helpful to some of you and if you have a story relating to living with someone struggling with mental health that you would be up for sharing, please drop me an email at brettfish@hotmail.com

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