Mental Illness, WWII, And Alcoholism



Well, so far I’ve covered my bipolar, and diagnosis. A little about my mom, but today I’ll touch the surface a bit more on my childhood.

As I’ve said prior, my childhood was anything but normal. It’s no wonder I’m bipolar.

I guess I’ll take you back to when I about 7 years old. What should have been a fun vicarious time in life was anything but.

My mom at that time worked in a factory. She worked on the production line. This job unfortunately had her on a variety of schedules. Most commonly graveyard shift. As today is no different from back than daycare was expensive and hard to find.

factory worker

My mother often relied on my grandparents to watch me and my older brother.

This posed a problem as my grandparents were alcoholics. They didn’t drink heavily during the day but really tied on off in the evenings.

I remember my grandpa would love him a Budweiser in a can with salt around the rim for breakfast, lunch, and well dinner.


My mother hated relaying on my grandparents to watch us. But often she had no choice. She was a single mom who had to work to support us. And the cost of daycare was more than she could afford at times. That’s not to say we didn’t have our fair share of babysitters.


My mom would make my grandma swear she and my grandpa wouldn’t drink while they were watching us. Which she would lie, and drink anyway.

My grandma was for the most a good person, minus her drinking. She would on her sober days take us to see all sorts of great things around California. She even bought us annual passes to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Universal Studios. She always tried to give us grandkids the world. Despite her alcoholism. My grandpa was also a good man. He had been through a lot in his time. Especially in the war, and being a POW. I can only imagine what hell he went through. I have always respected him regardless of our history.

He was a prisoner of war in WWII, and was on psych medication for his trauma, paranoid delusions, and PTSD. He drank heavily to cope.


My brother and I would see our grandparents at night for them to watch us while my mom was at work. Mind you this is when they would drink heavily.

My grandma was unfortunately a belligerent drunk, and fought with my grandpa often during these times My brother and I would hide in a room to escape the violence. Screaming, yelling, throwing of things, etc. I’ve seen many things a kid should never see or experience, hell no one should experience in their lifetime!

I once saw my grandma punch her fist through a plate-glass window during a drunken’ rage. She bleed out on the front curb waiting for the ambulance to come.


As I’ve mentioned before my mother dated a lot. She had a new boyfriend almost monthly. None of them I liked, nor they me.

My grandpa was a bit of an overprotective man, he certainly loved his family. He had four children when he came home from the war. He protected them to no end, and provided a substantial life. All he could give. Although, he didn’t agree with my moms dating schedule. Remember, he was also dealing with his own demons as a prior prisoner of war, paranoid delusions, PTSD, and alcoholism.

One day he came over to our house in a drunken rage. Upset over my moms dating, and in a paranoid delusional state. He had been drinking while on his medication, a really bad idea!

But this day would prove extreme! He came over to our house with his shot-gun. What his actual intent was, I’ll never know. But he was in a rage!

I heard a pounding on the front door. I approached it to see who it was. Only to be welcomed by a large explosion. My grandpa didn’t wait for someone to answer the door, he answered for us, by blowing a hole through the front door with his shot-gun.

Hand knocking on door

Luckily, the only thing that got me was some door shrapnel. A few cuts and scrapes but nothing worse.

I remember screaming, and my mom and brother came running to the front door to see what was going on. My grandpa stood at the door reloading his gun. Ranting words we couldn’t understand. Something about the devil.

shot gun

He began to charge toward us, and we ran out the back of the house, exiting the side gate.

Another shot went off. But none of us were hurt. We ran down the street (I never ran so fast in my life). My grandpa got into his truck to chase us down.

car driving fast down the street

He shot at us two more times, missing us. I guess being drunk and on medication helps not to be a good shot. Luckily for us! We ran into a neighbor’s house screaming “he’s got a gun!” For what seemed like an eternity we waited to see if another shot would go off. But nothing. Just silence.

My grandpa had left and where he went, I don’t know. But I was grateful he was gone.

That was the single most scary moment in my life!

My grandpa was on psych meds, had paranoid delusions, a shot-gun, and an alcoholic to boot. A really bad mixture.

We didn’t really know what to do. Should we call the authorities, but we knew grandpa wasn’t in his right mind. Frankly, it wasn’t his fault. He had gone though so much in his time with the army. I was always afraid to ask what he had endured as a POW, though I suppose it’s really none of my business. But I did love my grandpa regardless of his illness, and what he did to us. He was after all a good man who loved his family greatly.


A few days later he would take his life.


I wish I could have confronted him on why he did what he did. So many things will be left unanswered for me. He was in so much pain from his past, he felt there was no way for him to go on. I again, don’t hate my grandpa for what he did, only wish I could hug him again and tell him everything will be ok.

My life hasn’t been all sweet and innocent as you see. Life for me has often been hard, and trying. As a kid you expect the adults around you to protect you, covet you, and love you.

Though I’ve come to realize that even the adults in my life have their own demons to deal with. It’s not fair to be expectant either. But to understand what pain they were going through, and nothing done was ever to really harm me. It was all done in not the right frame of mind. If my grandpa was in the right frame of mind, he NEVER would have done what he did.

As for my grandma she stopped drinking when my grandpa passed. She eventually became the matriarch of our family. She became the rock that she always should have been. She has since passed away too. But regardless of all the craziness, I loved and grew to respect her for the woman she became.


Some people may ask “why would you share such a story?” To be frank, its therapeutic to get these things out of my head! Not trying to scare anyone. But this is my life.

I’m a survivor of a lot mental and emotional abuse. I’m proud to be who I am today!

I have great, cool, upstanding kids. A wonderful husband, and a good life. Despite my bipolar disorder.

I encourage you all, who are a survivor of emotional and/or mental abuse to share your story. Don’t be afraid. So many of us have crazy stories to tell. This was just one of the amazing events I survived as a child, but the worst.

Feel free to comment or DM me personally via twitter.





Living with type 1 bipolar disorder, PTSD (due to childhood trauma), Rapid Cycling, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Writing about my life experiences.

0 thoughts on “Mental Illness, WWII, And Alcoholism

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    August 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    My mother is a malignant narcissist and a closeted functioning alcoholic. You survived severe abuse. Be proud for yourself!


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