As a child, Dina* couldn’t understand why her mother was cold and distant. Little did she know that her mother, her protector, suffered from a crippling mental disorder. She shares with Liyana Zamzuri what it was like to grow up with a bipolar parent.
Do you have a real-life drama to share or a true story that would inspire other readers? Email us at herworld@bluinc. com.my and we’ll get in touch with you.
“What’s wrong with Mother?” my sister and I would ask when we were children. The only explanation that we could get was, “She’s just not well”. That wasn’t new to us. Mother was always in and out of the hospital, and we’d seen her being rushed away in an ambulance before. We also knew that whenever she wasn’t well, we would be sent away from home to stay with our relatives.
Once, when my mother locked my sister and I out of her bedroom, we waited by the door to surprise her when she emerged. We drew flowers for her, hoping that somehow, something we did would attract her attention and she’d spend time interacting with us. But all that anticipation turned to dust.
We quickly learnt that we couldn’t depend on her for emotional or physical support. As a young child, when I needed her the most, I didn’t feel completely safe around her and often felt like I had to be the one in charge instead. Our father left when her illness took a turn for the worst, so my sister and I were left to fend for ourselves. Once he was gone, no one else was around to witness all the commotion. All we had was each other.
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