I had an unhappy childhood and I became an unhappy adult.

The only person in my family that I felt close to was my maternal grandfather and I miss his weird sense of humour. I had a sense of detachment from the rest of my immediate family. It was as if I didn’t belong there.

When I had my first depressive episode when I was 11 years old the gap between who they were and who I seemed to be became wider. I developed an aversion to food and at one time had to drink Complan because I couldn’t eat.I was anorexic until I was 32.

When I was 15 I began to self harm. I tripped up trying to run away from the responsibility of taking exams and when I cut my knee there was a feeling of relief. I began to cut my arms and rub used cat litter into them. As I bandaged myself I was half giving myself a hug and half wishing that an infection would make me seriously ill. 

I had been developing Bipolar Disorder from my early teens (I was undiagnosed until I was 32 ) and it became increasingly difficult to cope with. A prolonged episode of depression left me out of work for two years and I went from looking after myself reasonably well to being dirty and unable to function. My mother harangued me because the neighbours were talking. I took an overdose and my mother was angry with me. I needed kind words or a hug. 

I began to drank and use drugs and alcoholism became an occupation. The best place to hide a drunk is among drink and so I became a pub landlady. When I stopped drinking I realised I was still the odd one out in the family and cut myself off from them for eight years. I will not lie and say I was unhappy because not being in touch with a mother who never missed an opportunity to make me feel small was wonderful.

The emotion that overwhelms me when I think of my mother is fear. I can’t live up to her expectations, I have to be the one to call her because she says she can’t use her phone and it seems to be beyond my sister to dial my number for her. She is old and some may say I am spiteful for wanting to cut ties with a woman in her 80s but I cannot feel any sense of freedom while there is any kind of link between us.

She will be angry and I can imagine the conversation that will happen between her and my sister (of whom I am fond) but I have to release myself from this unhappy adulthood.