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This be the first…

They f*ck you up, your mum and dad….

Philip Larkin – This be the Verse

An inspiration to misanthropists* everywhere, Philip Larkin was an absolute genius at articulating the feelings of neglected, angry and jaded people of all ages when he penned This Be The Verse in 1971. I consider it to be my mantra.

My mother took her own life 31 years ago when I was aged 5. She had lived with severe bipolar disorder for over a decade. I have tried all sorts of coping mechanisms to make sense of it –  denial, endless research on mental health to see if I show any bipolar traits and dark humour to name a few.  

Since my father died recently, another family member has given me some information about my mother of which I was unaware. I found this to be most helpful, as unfortunately my father often avoided any discussion regarding her unless it gave him an opportunity to criticise, so now I feel that I am getting to know my mother for the first time. This has also encouraged me to connect with others who have had similar experiences.

Yes, the subject matter is pretty dark. Suicide isn’t the jolliest of topics. I do, however, hope to take it on with objectivity, honesty and maybe a teeny bit of dark humour along the way. I am not writing this from the perspective of a mental health professional, just someone who has lived with the after effects of one of the most devastating things that can happen to a family.  I don’t intend to write anything overly biographical, rather each post will be a discussion of a specific subject.

I hope you’ll join me, I’ll try to update this blog as often as possible and your thoughts on it would be most welcome.

Until next time…

*I don’t consider myself to be a misanthropist. I’m really fun. Glass always half full of Bowmore No. 1.

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3 thoughts on “This be the first…”

  1. Interesting and thoughtful post. A subject close to my heart as both of my parents committed suicide some 17 years apart. Hard to articulate exactly what effect this has had on my life since.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Neil, thanks for your reply. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I’ve only recently been able to learn about my mother’s life and share it with others.

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      1. Hi Jogoose

        I was 21 when my father died in 1977 (he was 50); he had a stroke when he was 48, made a reasonable physical recovery but not sufficiently complete to return to his manual job in the construction industry. He slumped into a depression when he realised his working life was effectively over, so his subsequent suicide was explicable if shocking all the same.

        My mother’s story was entirely different. She retired from work in 1994, aged 64, was in good health and was looking forward to a comfortable retirement but someone, possibly a family member, tricked her out of life’s savings. She finished up in debt, including rent arrears and was on the verge of being legally evicted from her home when she killed herself. Neither my sister nor myself had any idea of the financial mess she was in at the time. In essence it was a sense of hopelessness and shame that did for her in the end.

        It is a cliche but true nonetheless, for me at least, that time does dull the edge of grief. I was in therapy also for a while which I think helped though it is hard to know for certain. In retrospect my father’s suicide probably pushed me in the direction of my career in Social Work from which I retired 4 years ago. I sometimes speculate that I have been left with an easily accessible well spring of anger as a legacy of this double bereavement which one of my therapists identified too.

        Anyway, good luck with your journey & recovery. I look forward to further posts on your blog.

        Kind regards

        Neil

        Liked by 2 people

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