The Terrible Father and The Schizophrenic by Christin Harper

Twenty-one years ago, my parents met in a psychiatric hospital. I like to say I was doomed from the start. No one else thinks that’s funny.

I’ve always lived with my mother since I can remember. I don’t remember much. There’s probably more to my memory loss than I care to know. I don’t remember much of my father. But I cherish every shitty memory I have with him. He was a shitty father. I won’t lie. He chose to venture out and do drugs and sleep with an abundance of women. He hated his children unless he was sober, which was rare. My father was also a raging alcoholic. I never understood him. And that makes me feel like an ignorant asshole. He was never around. He was always in jail, or in some sort of hospital-assisted living center. Or on a friend’s couch. It wasn’t until September of 2013 that I really met my father…the side of him I had never seen. I fucking hated him for the most part. But I stuck it out.

I became a drunk.

When in Rome…right?

We fought. Nearly killed each other. He punched me in the face a few times and called me a dirty whore. But I stuck it out. And drank more. We had a few good times. Staying up late watching puppet masters and playing video games and drinking. We had  that in common. Video games and alcohol. Frankenstein and the like.

I’ve always looked like him. Identical actually. I hate it. I tried multiple times to alter my looks, and failed. He used to freak the fuck out in the car and just start hitting me. Or screaming that he wanted to go home.

I never understood him.

I never looked at him the way I look at Allie. With compassion and love. I should have. I fucking hated this man for so much. He was my father. Was…I needed him to be my father and he never was.

He loved his heroin. I craved whatever would give me his attention. Now I have a love for heroin that is so strong it’s disgusting.

I wish I understood his mental illness.

I wish I had taken the time to try. I wish I had known more about schizophrenia. Maybe I could have helped him. I wish I could have every moment back. Every one. Especially the things he would tell me. They made me laugh for hours. I miss his laugh. His everything.

My father died from a morphine overdose. Comes with the territory of mental illness, I suppose. I’m also positive he committed suicide. But I’ll never know. This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Speaking openly of my father to anyone is rare, because I have never hated someone so much for something that wasn’t their fault. I didn’t understand. That’s not an excuse; it’s a statement. But I own it.

Just because someone acts out, or acts differently, it doesn’t mean they are weird, or anything like that. They could be suffering from a serious mental illness and you shouldn’t be an asshole and judge them.  Trust me. I’ve been there.

My father was a shitty father. But I’m sure he tried to do the best he could. I love him with every fiber of my being. Schizophrenia and all.


Christin enjoys drinking too much caffeine and eating pizza. She spends her time with her beautiful daughter, helping everyone she can. Her dream is to become a writer and help change the views of mental illness. Plus she really loves pizza.

7 thoughts on “The Terrible Father and The Schizophrenic by Christin Harper”

  1. My mom had schizophrenia, and if it weren’t for my dad, she would have had it much worse. He made sure she was taken care of and didn’t end up on the streets. It is sad that on top of it all you had to deal with your father’s drug and alcohol abuse (no doubt his attempts to self-medicate), and I can only image how hard that must have been for you. My heart is with you. I hope one day they will figure out how to cure this awful disease.

    Liked by 1 person

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