I am 50. My father and I have not been especially close for all of my adult life because of his inability to communicate or relate to me, to others or to the world in general in a meaningful way. He and my mother separated before I was 2. He was occasionally abusive with her. Decades ago, when he was having some acute mental health issues, there was apparently talk of schizophrenia, but he abandoned conventional mental health care and ran off to a monastery instead. Eventually, he returned and held down a good job and lived his life, but there has always been either the threat or presence of his mental illness.

Delusions, psychosis, idées fixes, persecution complex, whatever: To some extent it has always been there. Sometimes it would manifest as raging verbal abuse and threats of violence, sometimes as just an obsessive need to talk about things I don’t believe in or that are otherwise meaningless, but it was always impossible…

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