3 decades on and it's just getting worse

This is the first time I’ve said this to anyone outside of my family. The only people I’ve shared it with - it’s been a half truth.

When I was 9, me and my sister were woken in our room by a huge bang followed by screaming. Our beds were covered by wooden shards of the bedroom door. When we went downstairs our dad was stood in the hall way with half his body burnt and screaming at us to get out. A neighbor came to carry us out.

My dad had strangled my mother that night. Then turned on the gas and several hours after hed struck a match causing the fire and explosion to take us all. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He was hearing voices and convinced that a conspiracy was going on and would hear it on the TV and radio. He’d often told and begged my mum to leave him as he wasn’t in control but she always said he’d do something to himself and wouldn’t be able to live with it.

Me and my sister moved to another city with my aunt and uncle. I initially told kids at school that my mum had died and hated how I was treated because of it. Best intentions from everyone but I didn’t like the special treatment. My next school I just told everyone that my aunt and uncle were my parents. I kept up the lie even through college, uni and into my mid twenties. Couldnt bring myself to handle the shame. Relationships broke down because I couldn’t backtrack and finally reveal that I’d been lying once I trusted someone enough.

It was 30 years ago. I drink most nights now. And then cry alone. I can’t remember my mum’s voice anymore which is killing me. I can’t share it with anyone because no one knows the truth. I don’t want to burden my younger sister as she thinks I’ve got my head straight. I think I’m what’s known as a functioning alcoholic. I drink so I’m numb but somehow manage to keep it together during the day and smile to everyone. Everyone at work and in my circles of friends think I’m fine. It’s falling apart now - over lockdown when I was alone I needed people around me so I’m not left alone with my thoughts and im not sure where I’m going to end up.

I’ve been looking for support groups locally where I can hopefully share what’s on my mind without judgement and eventually speak to my friends and stop the lie.

Thanks for reading. I just needed someone to hear my truth for once.


@Jay181, I just want to let you know that you have been heard - this can’t have been easy to write, so thank you for sharing it. I am so sorry for your losses. It sounds like you are understandably very traumatised by what you’ve been through and have been carrying alone.

I’m glad you’re looking for support groups, and I hope being part of our community helps. You might also want to get in touch with SAMM (Support After Murder and Manslaughter) who offer peer support.

I wonder if you have considered bereavement counselling? This is a space where you can be totally honest. We offer free Online Bereavement Counselling which is held via video chat.

I’d maybe consider making an appointment with your GP too to talk about how you’re feeling and see what options they suggest. You matter and deserve support.

Take good care,

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Hello @Jay181.

I honestly don’t know what to say to you except we’re here and we’re listening. You have told a very tragic story and I truly hope that some help is to be found for you. You have made a good start here simply by writing it down. I always find writing down my thoughts very helpful. @Seaneen has given good advice. Many on here have used the Sue Ryder online counselling and spoken very positively about it. It could be a good next step for you. Please keep reading and/or posting; we’re a very caring and understanding community.

Sending love and hugs xx


Hello. Well.done for sharing that. Please speak to us at least, but there are many support groups. Use them

Hello @Jay181

I’m so sorry, your life has been so painful from such a young age, absolutely horrendous.

I really hope you find support groups nearby as you need to look after you now and to talk about all the hurt and anger you must have in your heart.

I feel so sad that you were too ashamed to tell school friends and people about your tragic past, but it’s totally understandable why you didn’t, society is so cruel, judgemental and as you say even now some friends walk away when they hear your story.

All the best.
Amy x

Such a sad story. And a tragic past. How awful that you couldn’t share it with anyone. Also the problems that you have has made you reliant on alcohol. So this has escalated in such a way that you can’t cope. Do you have any trusted friends and family that you can turn to? The friends that have walked away may also be struggling to cope with it all. Maybe you should consider bereavement counselling.

I am so sorry. What you went through was pure hell and no wonder the repercussions are to this day. This is far too heavy a load to bear.

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