How Being a Foster Sister Contributed Majorly to my Mental Health Problems

For as long as I can remember, I have had mental health problems. I used to think it was because of bullying and bad relationships that I’d previously had, but now that I am older, I have begun to realise that the main factor is because my parent’s have fostered children since I was in primary school.

When most people think of fostering, they think of the fortnightly payments that the carers get for looking after foster children. They think it’s an easy way to get money so they don’t have to work. They think it’s easy. They could not be more wrong.

I’m not sure how different foster systems around the world work, but in Australia there are government run companies and non-for-profit organisations.

From a young age myself and my siblings were more then used to being pushed aside for foster children. It didn’t really matter that we were the biological children. To the government, we didn’t matter and neither did our needs. When I was a child, my thoughts were all the same; ‘these strange unknown kids are more important then me.’ ‘Mum and dad don’t love me as much as them.’

In my little kid mind, that’s the conclusion I always came to, because that is all I could see. They got away with things myself and my siblings never would have. Now I am older, I understand that it is because my parent’s had rules they needed to abide by — there was never any leeway when it came to them being bossed around by different government departments.

From about seven years old, I was beyond accustomed to case workers, regional case managers and all high-up bosses from Family and Community Services coming to our house. A lot of the time, it was knew person every visit. When it came time for these visits, myself and my biological siblings were not allowed in the room whilst the meetings were happening. Everything was always a big secret. Even beyond those visits, my parents would argue and yell. Not only at each other, but at my siblings and I as well. We would always be in the crossfire.

When I was around ten, two new children arrived. Brother and sister. The sister was four and the brother was three. It was the 23rd of March 2010 when they came to live with us. That day set off a hurricane of problems still continuing to this day. On the 27th of December 2013, Family and Community Services took the brother away, which caused a chain of eruptions even more. He was taken away without any of the rules being followed. We fought to get him back every day for years until we finally gave up. This particular government office had spread twisted lies and manipulated everyone to believe whatever bull crap they spat out.

At this time, I was fourteen and in high school. Them taking away my little brother — no matter what anyone else thinks, he is and always will be my little brother — and the fact that I was getting severely bullied, made me develop serious depression, later diagnosed by multiple different psychologists. Alongside my severe depression, I also developed severe anxiety and an anger issue — more then likely inherited from my father.

Since I was fourteen I have been on and off multiple different antidepressants, gone through a large handful of psychologists and it is still getting worse. We still have the sister. She’s twelve now and has some of the same problems that I do. Or so I am told. One thing I hate about that is the fact that my serious mental health problems get shoved aside constantly and because of this, I keep everything to myself and I never tell my parents anything. I am barely ever home because I can’t handle it. My parents are always arguing — it’s been going on since the day they took my little brother — my foster sister gets everything handed to her on a silver platter, even though she’s the worse behaved out of all use kids. My mother says it’s because she had a rough childhood, but that is utter crap because she wouldn’t remember much — if anything — about when she still lived with her biological parents. The only people accountable for her actions, obsessiveness and all-round, mildly psychotic behaviour, is them and the way they have let her mature.

My mental health issues on the other hand, I know stem from all the trauma I have had to endure for the simple fact I have grown up being constantly pushed aside and treated like I am invincible. I have had to deal with all of my issues by myself because each time something happens, they have to be more focused on my foster sister. I used to just call her my sister, but I can’t even do that anymore. I hold so much hate for her and my parents because of what they’ve put me through. I know it is wrong, but no matter how hard I try not to, it is impossible. I tried for years to get rid of the resentment, but I can’t.