Family Life

Family Life

One thing I learned by having a family later on in life is that every household is different and there isn’t necessarily a right and a wrong way to bring up kids. In truth, I don’t think there is such a thing as a normal household.

I didn’t think I’d ever have kids, so how to bring them up never really crossed my mind. You see being able to bring up a family is something I thought I shouldn’t do because there has always been an element of madness to me. I always felt like I wasn’t wired correctly. And perhaps it was because I didn’t understand what love was. Quintessential for any successful family is that at the heart you have oodles of love.

Turns out I’m bloody good at bringing up a family and so I think I am capable of being a loving, caring individual.

A few years back we were an oddball, jumbled up mess of a family, but not because of anyone in it. A mixture of mental health issues and bad actors (a polite way of referring to my wife’s evil ex-partner) meant that every week was a rough ride. I am being polite in describing him as evil.

I had married into a family that was already a unit, in so much as my wife had three kids already. When you fall in love with someone and they have children you have to ask yourself “are you willing to go all in”. It is a big ask to become a step-parent and I had no idea what path I was taking when I made that choice myself; I only knew that I was in love with someone. I also know that the decision did not take very long. I stood in my wife’s old garden (that’s not a euphemism) and thought to myself Am I willing to be a dad to three kids that are already part of someone else’s family? A little voice in my head went “yes”, and so not so long afterwards I proposed.

Now, although I know there is no such thing as a normal family, what I do know is that our family is so far from normal, by definition other families must be more normal. A slightly warped sense of logic, but I think it is valid.

I have a thing I hold close to my heart now that I call love. I’ve no idea if the love I have for my wife and for my family is the same sort of love other people feel. But boy is it a good feeling.

I now have four children, three from my wife’s previous relationships, and a seven year old we have had since becoming a family. Present in the family we have ASD, Tourettes, OCD, ADHD, Anxiety, Depression and Bipolar. Out of the six of us, only one hasn’t been afflicted in some way by mental health. There are conditions that have been supplied courtesy of nature, but there are some that at the least have been amplified through nurture courtesy of my wife’s ex. I will write nothing more of that individual on this site, but he was an abusive sociopath who picked on those who were weaker than him. Over the last ten years, the children have gradually accepted me as part of their lives and we are now a happy, if not slightly dysfunctional unit that does not include him.

How you run a family like this is by taking every day as it comes. Collectively we have good days and we have bad days. Right now the bad days usually happen because of the state of mind of myself and one of my daughters. Myself with the bipolar and my daughter with Tourettes, OCD, ADHD and Anxiety. If you are one of those people that think we’re just being trendy having these conditions (because any half decent modern family must have a few labels!), we are definitely not. These sort of conditions kill people and are not a joke.

I have been with my wife since February 2011 and it has taken until the last year or so to really feel like a family. Apart from being diagnosed with bipolar (which I already had but without the label or meds) my life right now is fantastic if I ignore the weight Quetiapine has helped me pile one.

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