My great grandmother was incarcerated in a lunatic asylum for the last 50 years of her life. I feel that I knew this from somewhere already but my mother was apparently oblivious and was led to believe that her grandmother had died during childbirth.
I am less concerned about the fact itself, or the cover-up as I am with the way that I seemingly knew, but had never processed the information. I never considered that my mother never got the chance to meet her gran, or that my gran lived half of her life knowing her mother was alive but having precious little contact. It was, presumably, a social blight to have a lunatic in the family. I never mentioned it to ANYONE after my gran must have mentioned it to me in her late illness this year. It wasn’t a conscious decision, I either just assumed that everyone else already knew and that I was the last one to hear, or, worse – I DIDN’T know and have somehow slipped momentarily into some kind of psychosis where I think I am living in a movie script. Still, I’m sure my mother will now endevour to uncover the truth and find all kinds of dreadful things about the pre-NHS lunatic asylum care of our motherland. It’s sometimes nice to hear about your ancestors and family history but sometimes digging only brings pain and sadness. You know madness, lunacy, mental health problems, personality disorders, psychoses – they aren’t the barrel of laughs that movies might have you think. We are lucky to be living in a day and age where people can get help without the terrific judgement and stigma that used to come part and parcel.
Incidentally Mr Flanders, I found beta-amyloid in my sample yesterday and though of you.
“Every day there is some kind of darkness
That just won’t go away no matter how hard I try”