I must start by stating this is a long and boring,but very personal account of my experience with MS. Its not a happy one and I hope to find out im not the only person who has suffered in this way. I’m aged in my early-very early-twenties and my fathers been diagnosed with MS since 2006. I have a teenage brother with autism and a mother who is indescribable(and not in the best of ways). To give a jist to the person my dad once was, pre-ms diagnoses I’ll let you in on a treasured memory of mine. It was a hot summers day,and the town I live in is a very small one. We lived in a block with many other children,and it was like a big family. The weather was hot,and there was nothing to do,so my dad rounded up the kids,and got a football game on the go,in a public grass pitch,and let everyone play. Girls were playing football,disability was irrelevant,everyone could forget their issues and focus on playing. There were lots of kids,young ones and older all playing in harmony. For the girls who didn’t want to play football,they got to stand at the sidelines and cheer on those who were playing. Everyone was happy,and this pitch was filled with laughter and friendships were being made. When the game was over,my parents had went to the shop and bought everyone ice lollies and juice,and it felt like a day out. My dad had brought all the kids together and we had a wonderful time. He was known as a “cool dad”. He’d let my friends stay for tea-even if there were more than a few. He listened to loud heavy metal and the kids just adored that. He doted on his kids,he loved all kids. He and my mum were happy,always in some sort of embrace. This was when I was very young,but I need to make the point he wasn’t always the way he began to be. When diagnosed with MS,it rocked us all. This isn’t a new experience for my family)my granny had ms and died due to complications around her MS. The day he was diagnosed he changed. He began physically abusing me,though to this day believes he was not in the wrong. He’d smack me hard enough to bruise my skin. He would grab me by my throat and try to strangle me. He would break my treasured belongings and was very creative in the vile names he’d call me. He would spend days on his laptop,and when you asked to speak to him,you were met with a grunt and no response. As his ms worsened we were forced to move to a new town,as he needed a specially adapted house. We had to all start new lives,and it rocked us all. My already solitary brother never left the house. We had to take a bus to school,which took 45 minutes each way-it was exhausting doing it 5 days a week. My dad was never home,and after uprooting us,he par took in an affair,which led to him moving out and leaving us stranded in this new place. He moved back to our home town,where he started seeing other people. He was still aggressive,and known to chuck things at me. He then shacked up with a woman half his age,and no sooner had he met her,had he become engaged. He lost all interest in me and my brother,well he still sees my brother,but I think its more he has to,not wants to. His new partner lives in a second story flat,and happily does her stairs everyday-the reason we left out hometown was stairs being a problem for him. Hes now a paranoid,nasty man who cares only for himself. MS has taken so much from me,and the father I once loved I now cannot have contact with,because he will become violent. I’ve lost family over this,they believe he’s a victim of a family who stopped caring for him. In reality I’d have helps him every step of the way. I suffer severe anxiety and depression,and because of this had to give up my job as a carer. I’ve attempted suicide regularly and self harm is a way of life for me. My dad claims its all in my head,try having MS,that’s a real illness. I cant seem to get over the abuse,the name calling and what hes put me through,and it makes me look and feel like a horrible person who’s abandoned her deteriorating father. Everything about him has changed,MS took away everything that was good about him. I wonder if this is an isolated case,or if anyone else has known their family member to have a complete personality change? Also im curious as to if there’s a hereditary like with MS? His late mother and younger brother both suffer(ed) MS-coincidence or what?!
No wonder you are struggling, psychologically. It is human nature for a child (of any age) to keep on and keep on trying to win a parent’s approval. Sometimes a child will keep on doing this long after the point when she should have walked away. Kiera, I think you need to turn your full attention to dealing with your own problems, getting yourself healthy and whole. From what you say, it sounds as though you must do this without your father’s help. And maybe it’s better that way.
Who knows why he has so little to give you right now. He probably doesn’t know either. But there it is. One thing seems clear to me: that is his problem and you should not accept it as yours to solve.
You will need some help with getting your head around the tough experiences you have had and the strong emotions that are making life so difficult for you. The GP is a good place to start. Be frank about how troubled you are and how you find yourself driven to self harm and thoughts of suicide. These are very heavy burdens for a young person to bear and the GP should be able to point you in the right direction and start you on the road to recovery. None of this is your fault and please do not struggle on alone.
Finally, to hell with what other people (including, I’m afraid, your father) think. Gather around you the people whom you trust and who you know wish you well. Pay no attention to what anyone else says. In time you might be able to repair the relationship with your father. I hope so. But your best chance of doing that is to get well and strong without him. When you are strong enough to deal with him eye to eye, adult to adult, you might be able to rebuild a more healthy relationship. If you still want to.
Please look after yourself and good luck.
Although MS can affect personality, there does seem to be a lot happening with your dad and maybe not all can be blamed on the MS.
I do think that you need to talk to someone about the issues you have raised and I would suggest your GP in the first instance.
You are young and have the rest of your life ahead of you. I would suggest you try to draw a line under what has happened and decide that it is not going to affect the rest of your life. The first step you can take is to get some help for yourself so that you start in a better place.