how having a dad with mental disorders affected me
my dad has loved Vincent van Gogh for as long as i can remember. when i was young, he would tell stories about him, about how much he suffered, and how he was never accepted by the people. looking back at it now, i think my dad found comfort in his story. a man with nothing, still being able to lose everything, dying without being appreciated or happy. sometimes sad people bring great comfort to other sad people.
i didn't know my dad was depressed, i just knew he took pills everyday. i never asked why. and he never talked about it. i think i was a teenager, about 17, when he first talked about having no friends as a little boy. the teachers would tap the window when he would stand alone during recess, to try to get him to play with the others. he talked about ditching class during high school, and how he would panic when surrounded by large crowds.
he never got help as a kid. he carried all those problems and pains into adulthood. they never went away. in his time, they were told to just suck it up. so he became tougher, but only on the outside. mentally, he's very fragile. just one little thing has to go wrong, and he'll be stressed. it made him avoidant of all things that could go wrong. he never tries anything new. he complains about his life, but never makes a difference. yet he has so much potential.
i inherited a lot from my dad. from the depression, (social) anxiety to the back problems. in a lot of ways, we've lived the same life till now. i sometimes feel like i can't blame him for anything, cause i know what it's like. he said a lot of hurtful things when he's angry. and of course they hurt, but a part of me just feels so desensitized to anything that has to do with him. i gave up on him feeling like a real dad a long time ago. the first time i realised that was when i went to my first therapy session alone. in his defense, around that time something happened what was a lot more important then my therapy. but i still felt alone.
i don't know how to talk to my dad about sensitive topics. i try to listen to him about his problems, but i never know what to say. a part of me still hasn't forgiven him for leaving me alone. so everytime he tries to find comfort talking to me, i get a bit sad, knowing he couldn't do the same. my dad thought i had a cold personality growing up. he was always surprised to see me cry or get angry. i wasn't comfortable showing him my vulnerable side. and now i feel uncomfortable with him showing his vulnerable side. it kinda backfired to be honest. i remember one time being so mad at him for something he had done before, but i finally told him i didn't like it and got mad, and all he said was, "why are you getting so worked up now?" that's the downside of never showing emotions. people think you're not passionate about anything.
the relationship with my dad is complicated. there are times when i genuinely enjoy his presence and want the best for him. but there are other times where i question if i really love him. love was a concept i felt i needed to relearn when i got out of my depression. so often i don't know what i'm feeling for someone is love or just fondness. i feel weird saying "i love you" cause i don't know if i do and it feels forced. so does physical affection. i don't like being touched, especially not in a way that makes me feel like the smaller one, or the one that needs comfort. i feel so much annoyance when my dad touches me, and i don't know if it's because it's him, or if it's the touch itself.
i don't see him as a father figure. sometimes it feels like i have a roommate instead of a parent, and sometimes it feels like i'm the parent and he's the child.