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  • Writer's pictureDawn Ford

Addiction & OCD; Their father Gary, said that he'd thought he was the only one suffering......

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

"Their father, Gary, said that he’d thought he was the one suffering, never considering the impact his addiction had on his children. But he was self-medicating the depression he’d had since he was a child. In some ways the drugs saved him from possible suicide, he said, which is a viewpoint you don’t often hear. Life is more complicated and surprising than we think and being dealt a tough hand can sometimes be your making."

I remember Russell Brand saying the same in his book ' Recovery Freedom From Our Addictions' ; where a counsellor had once said to him " Your drug addiction may have saved your life". At the time this shocked me, but it doesn't now. We all 'self-medicate' whether it's; alcohol, drugs, shopping, travel, food or exercise, it's just the last 4 listed here are not 'seen' as such in our society. Joe himself said running and exercise was where he 'escaped' from the chaos, the fear'. Exercise was his 'go to', where he tried to forget the pain and mayhem in his family " So many ups and downs.. all my life - it was madness".

And Joe's right. We all need to stop and think... how is the mental health of a parent affecting their child? His dad was in and out of rehab for drug addiction "Heroin took him away from me" His mum's behaviour was manic and she had OCD; obsessively cleaning 2/3 times a day. " The flat constantly smelt of bleach & dettol". ... "I had to hoover the carpet with the nozzle hose, she had to see the lines".

"Children know everything that's going on ; the OCD, eating disorder, depression and anxiety - the child can feel confused or helpless because you can't 'fix' them."

Thank goodness for new mental health awareness programmes like the one at Woodland Primary school

... just wonderful!

We also need to think about supporting the parents and teachers too. The 'Helping Children With Loss' which is a superb eye-opening training course is hugely benefical for anyone who cares for or works with children. I deliver this training so you the parent, the carer, the teacher can confidently support the child in your care when they are faced with any significant loss in their lives.

So many parents who are struggling with their mental health were once a child like Joe, growing up in a home environment like his. If we can help and support the child before they become a parent we may go some way to reducing the mental health crisis of today. Mental health needs joined up writing. We need to 'look out' for everyone.

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