Updated: Jul 15
Jessica Roach's Story
My dad suffered with mental health problems as long as I can remember, I only really became aware of it when I was about 14, I’d never really known him to be any different. As we both got older I don’t know if it got worse or if I just became more aware of it. He suffered with schizophrenia and would regularly hear voices of friends, family and passers by, as a result he became very introverted and worried about everything it was feasible to worry about.
Out of nowhere he was diagnosed with cancer on October 18th 2016, 3 days before he died, on the 25th November 2016, he told my mum that for the first time in years he didn’t hear any voices. As a family, myself, my mum and I all dealt with it in different ways. My sister went to hit out at everyone, and still now refuses to deal with the loss properly. Mum has up and down days and does all she can to make sure she makes him proud, raising money for charity, watching films and TV shows that she ordinarily would hate because she knows he would love them.
I ended a few friendships around that time due to their complete lack of support from them, however I dealt with it through sport and pouring my heart into working and my degree. I also suffer with mental heath problems, though not to the same extent as my dad. I have hypochondria and OCD, I worry about my health and getting ill constantly, and as a result I attach association onto inanimate things in an attempt to avoid feeling ill. For example I won’t wear the same shoes as I wore on a day I felt ill or something untoward happened. The sudden onset of dads illness didn’t help this too much, it’s something that sits in the back of my mind but through pouring myself into sport and moving to university, it made me learn my own coping mechanisms.
I have friends that understand and don’t understand but are willing to help me in any way they can; walking dogs, grabbing a coffee or just watching some TV, I love them for it and I hope they know that. Others don’t understand it whatsoever and straight up walked away from the friendship, which I understand - on some level I’d rather they do that. There’s still a long way to go but I hope I’ll continue to learn and grow and hopefully we all go on to make dad proud.