on Fatherhood, Mental Illness, and not really liking any of it

Added on by Taylor Smith.

I love my kids. That’s the first thing that needs to be established. But, there are a lot of times that I don’t really like them.

Right now, I am taking a combination of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. I have been on this regimen for quite a while ... a few years at least. I have been prescribed various other treatments over the past eighteen years. Things are relatively stable, now, but I am still “under treatment” and probably will be forever. Sometimes, though, I get busy or am away from home and I fall behind on my medication. Surprisingly, I can feel a difference after missing only a few doses. The thing that I notice first is how much I start to dislike my kids (and others) when my meds wear off. Essentially, I can feel myself slipping into a really short sense of patience with them and I get annoyed and/or angry with them pretty fast.

I have come to terms with the fact that I am someone who lives with a form of mental illness. I don’t really like this fact, but lots of people live with lots of health issues and we don’t make that big of a deal about most of them so mine shouldn’t be much different. But, what I don’t like is that I have to take medicine to feel like liking my kids. Without the meds, I really don’t like my kids. This makes me feel as if the way I really am is as a father that hates his kids, and it’s only through medication that he is able to not be instantly annoyed by them. (With the medication, things are still rough. I still struggle to find a sense of equilibrium with them, but it is significantly easier when I am fully medicated.)

Things have been extra rough chez nous recently. There has been a lot of yelling, a lot of locking of doors and taking away of privileges. There hasn’t been nearly as much “Home Can Be A Heaven On Earth” as I think we are supposed to have. It has been exhausting and kind of heartbreaking for my wife and I to feel the rollercoaster of moods, volumes, and changes in our home environment everyday over the past months.

This isn’t a cry for sympathy or anything like that. I have recently been making an effort to be a bit more “real” with the world. I am pretty bad at socializing, but I do feel like I am relatively good at writing, so this is a semi-comfortable way for me to try to connect with others and be a little more vulnerable (which is supposedly a healthy way to deal with stuff).