Growing up with mental illness in the Family, by Katy Brooks.

Katy Brooks 1

“My name is Katy. I grew up with a brother, a sister, and a father who all suffer from Bipolar disorder. My brother has Bipolar type I, and in his manic state he becomes very aggressive. When this happens, he tends to direct his frustrations on the rest of the family. Over the years, he has become very abusive.

I was the only member of my immediate family to not suffer with a mental illness. This was my identity. I was the sane one, the stable one. But as the years of abuse continued, I started to falter. I had dealt with panic attacks from a young age whenever my brother was in his abusive state, but when I started to develop PTSD, my panic attacks started affecting other areas of my life. I started to feel anxious all the time. On top of the anxiety and panic attacks, I started to slump onto a deep depression.

When all of this started to happen at once, around my sophomore year of high school, I could not understand what was wrong with me. I became very sick physically with no obvious cause because my untreated depression and anxiety was causing a Somatoform disorder. I missed nearly half of my last three years of high school because of this. Even though I grew up very aware of mental illness, I could not accept that I was suffering from one myself because, after all, I was the sane one, the stable one.

It took me until the last few months of my senior year and countless doctors suggesting my poor physical health was caused by a poor mental health to finally seek help. I cannot put into words how much of a difference this decision made on my life. I am on medication now and I see a psychiatrist and therapist regularly. I have come to terms with my mental health, and that has made all the difference.”

-By Katy Brooks.

If you would like to hear more about Katy’s journey through dealing with a mental illness or tips on how to deal with yours, check out her blog here;

Do you have an experience with Mental health you would like to share? Send your story, name and picture in to and be featured in the Sharing stories series.

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