Legal Issues and a Lifetime of Stress

My parent's divorce could potentially be the cause of my depression, anxiety, OCD, social anxiety, and schizophrenia. Things got quite bad in a way you might not expect. There was no hitting or drinking involved.

I was born to my parents when they were dating. The two had been in love throughout high school, and they were both 24 when I was born, so they had been dating for a long time. They got married when I was 2 and moved out of my mom's mother's apartment into their own.

Sadly, they didn't love each other any more. My dad says they didn't even sleep in the same bed anymore. It was inevitable for them to split. Here's a story my peers love to laugh at: when I was 3, my mom said she was taking me to my grandmother's for a few weeks. They both knew that we were never coming back.

Things were okay for a few years. We didn't have enough money for our own apartment, so we stayed with my grandmother until I was 5. My dad would visit and eventually I would go to his house every Thursday after school.

When I was 5, things changed.

My mom and stepdad met and started dating. BEFORE my parents technically divorced. It was illegal for them to date. My grandmother left to help my aunt so my mom and I had to find our own apartment, which we did, in late August 2007. My stepdad visited a lot. While I visited my dad, he made a lot of mistakes. He let me stay up too late, he left me alone with his adult male house mates, he gave me donuts for breakfast, he never got me to school on time, he took meds with weird side effects (he got naked once), he even let me drive his car down an empty street. When I was 5.

In early April 2008, I moved for the final time in a while to a little apartment a town over. I hated it then because I had to switch schools when I started first grade. I hated the elementary school I went to from then on forever. It had a bad reputation for a very good reason. But this isn't a story about bullying, now is it? The point is, my stepdad was living with us.

My oblivious young self acted as a spy. I would tell my dad, "Mom and (stepdad) lock their door at night" and I would tell my mom, "Dad let me watch inappropriate movies." Of course, I just named the movies, but you get the point.

In first grade things started getting worse. My mom and stepdad (who was moving in and out of our house all the time) hated my dad. I was only allowed to see him during supervised visits (which is still happening now, I don't see him much). My mom put me in therapy.

I was oblivious the whole time. Why did I have to stay out of my house for a week? Why were the cops there all the time? Why was a strange man asking me questions?

In third grade, they finally got divorced and my mom and stepdad married.

That was 5 years ago, but things aren't exactly better. My parents still bad-mouth my dad right in front of me. My dad's endless promises of "by next summer we can see each other again" and "I just need to go to court" have never come true. I still never see him. I love him (he's nicer to me than my mom and stepdad) and believe he's changed, though. I know he's changed.

I mean, when I was about 9, my grandmother told a girl whose parents were getting divorced who had the cops come to her house and take her dad away a few weeks prior that I had had it worse. Maybe not, but it still felt traumatizing. I still cry about it.

I don't think I fully expressed just how painful everything was so I apologize if I seem dramatic, but this was a truly horrifying experience for me. I say it could've attributed to my mental illnesses because my anxiety began probably when I was about 7, with schiz and OCD probably following shortly after, and then my depression developed around when I realized what was happening (but I was realizing more than that, so I don't know). Not sure about social anxiety though. That was a major part of my life and one of the only ones I cam think of causing me to develop these awful things.

That just goes to show you how awful it was. I'm sure people are gonna tell me "other people have it worse" or "you're too young to have problems," but whatever.

And remember, no matter what your parents have put you through, you can make it through it. I promise.

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