As you know from my letter to my Mum there were some down and dark times for me as a child. However, here I want to try and focus on the good stuff.
In some ways this is harder for me than writing about the bad times as one consequence of my mental illness is that I’ve more or less blocked out in my memory the whole of my childhood and I don’t like thinking about any of it.
So here, in no particular order are my good memories:
- Travel and holidays – we did go on quite a few holidays and were lucky to travel. When my Mum and Dad were still together we went to Jersey, Malta, Australia, Wales, Scotland, Holland and various places in England. When my parents divorced we still travelled, my Dad took us to France and various places in the UK, I think my Mum was funny about him taking us abroad. We didn’t go anywhere with just my Mum but my grandparents, Aunt and Uncle took us with them, we went to Spain, Greece and various holiday parks around the UK. Going on holiday with my Uncle R was always the best, we didn’t go far but we always had so much fun bowling, playing laser quest, go-karting and chasing kites on the beach. I was lucky to have a good set of Aunts and Uncles who looked after us along with our grandparents when my Mum was really ill.
- Playing with my friends – in primary school (age 5-11) I did have a really good set of friends. We’d always be playing outside on our bikes and on foot roaming the local area. I was lucky to live in a pretty safe area and so we were allowed to just roam as much as we wanted. When we got a bit older we were allowed to get the bus into the local city and we’d go and spend our pocket money.
- My brother and cousins – I have one brother who is 3 years younger than me and lots of cousins of a similar age so we would often all play together in my grandparents house. Although me and me family have drifted apart now, when I was younger we were very close and played together for hours.
- School – I LOVED school as a child. Primary school in particular. I loved learning, I loved going there and I loved my teachers to pieces. I was very good at school and top of the class in primary school and I loved helping the other students too. School when I was young was the sense of normality that I needed.
- My Nanna’s roast dinners – every Sunday my Nanna would bake and make the most amazing Sunday dinner. It usually involved a roast meat joint of some kind, roast potatoes, vegetables, gravy and of course Yorkshire Puddings. No matter how I try I can’t make dinner as good as my Nanna used to.
It is easy for me to focus on the bad stuff from my childhood and writing this has made me realise that things weren’t always that bad. I now remember laughter and having fun. My grandparents and extended family in particular were a life saver for us. It saddens me now that my grandparents are no longer around and that I seem to have distanced myself from the rest of my family. I have done this for my own protection as it is too painful for me having anything to do with my Mum.
In some ways all this stuff seems like it happened to someone else, it’s almost like I’m writing about someone else’s memories. The good times with my family really do seem so distant now but maybe that’s another consequence of my bipolar disorder.