Canadian television icon Lloyd Robertson has opened up about his painful experiences of childhood. At a recent event in Markham, Canada, the North America’s longest-serving evening news anchor shared the haunting memories of his childhood, marred by the mental illness of his mother Lily Mary. In his 2012 memoir The Kind of Life It’s Been, Robertson wrote how his childhood was filled with secrets and shame.
Lily, as Robertson stated, was “trapped in the dark universe of a disturbed mind.” In the 1940s and 50s, his mother was troubled by a mystery. She was bothered by some “demons” that only see could see. According to Robertson, today, his mother would have been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and bipolar disorder.
Robertson recalled his troubled childhood days when his mother would stand in the kitchen drying a dish for hours or would remain confined to her bedroom for days. He remembered how she cried in the night under the effect of severe episodes of depression. Sometimes, she was excessively paranoid, scared of certain boys in the neighborhood who were out to get Robertson and that he should watch his back.
Robertson calls his home during the childhood a gloomy place. His mother’s behavior was so unpredictable that he never brought his friends home. Many of his hours during that period were spent visiting his mother in institutions with his father. “Like it was yesterday, I recall the sight of poor souls, frozen in catatonic states in the hallways. Others walking along, babbling to themselves in strings of incoherence and the occasional anguished cries from patients behind locked doors,” recalls Robertson.
Stigma worsens mental illnesses
Robertson said people battling mental health problems are regarded as useless and difficult. According to the retired media icon, they are an object of experiments who must be kept out of sight as they make others uncomfortable. Robertson also questioned the stigmas surrounding mental illnesses. He recalled one of his experiences at an infamous institution of the time that struck fear into many hearts.
Robertson narrates the fear of a child living with a mentally ill family member as “crazy, nuts, loopy.” He remembered how the family was wary of discussing their private troubles with anyone. However, Robertson now seems happy with modern mental health facilities and changing public attitudes toward individuals with psychological problems. He is also encouraged by high-profile people who speak about the problem. Although it makes him feel he is not alone in the fight against mental illness, he still considers it a start as many patients and families are still battling stigma that frightens and silences them.
Mental problems in US
According to an October 2017 survey, 70 percent of Americans were comparatively more open to talk about mental health than they were a decade ago. A majority of the participants were willing to help family members or friends struggling with mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and OCD. However, the respondents agreed that age-old misperceptions are still prevalent in the country, with many people considering mental illness as “personal failings.”
Thus, there is a dire need of raising awareness about mental health problems in order to overcome the associated stigma. Notably, most people with mental health illnesses can recover. Treatment and recovery is a gradual process. However, patients’ willingness to seek treatment and get recovered can make a huge difference.
If you know somebody grappling with a mental health problem, encourage him or her to seek professional help. Contact the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline, which can guide you to one of the best 247 mental health treatment facilities in the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online with our one of our representatives for more information on a 247 mental health treatment center near you.