Nurturing the Neuroses

I didn’t really think my childhood was odd. I didn’t notice the behaviors any of us may have had that possibly weren’t quite right if you really thought about it. Depression and anxiety run rampant through me and my siblings. We compartmentalize, we cry or get angry for no good reason at times… We have self-destructive behaviors at times as well – though some of us are worse than others. I don’t believe these issues have all stemmed from nature.

My sisters tell me of things that happened after I left the house that affected them adversely and I realize that though I felt my upbringing was “normal” I didn’t recognize all the negativity for what it was until I came back from being separated from it for so long.

I’ve been blaming a lot of my issues on Wyatt… and while I do still believe certain aspects of my personality are rooted in that relationship, I’ve come to realize since being home these past few days that there is more to my mental health story.

When I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression at age 15, I clearly remember that my mother dramatically informed me that I had been diagnosed as “Manic Depressive.” Within a few years that term gave way for the term “Bipolar.” So naturally I assumed I was Bipolar… I referred to myself as such once and my mom then told me I was not, in fact, Bipolar. “But you said the doctor said I was Manic Depressive… That’s the same as Bipolar…”

“No no no… You just had really bad depression.”

Ok, mom… now I still don’t know for sure WTF was going on with me at 15. I assumed after she said I wasn’t Bipolar that she was either latching on to a possible affliction the Doctor had mentioned prior to diagnosing me or heard the term and thought it sounded more dramatic than plain old Clinical Depression… and that’s why she told me that’s what I had – not realizing the real differences. She has a tendency to be unnecessarily dramatic sometimes.

Except now I have found out that one of my sisters really has been diagnosed as Bipolar. Having been out of the loop I’m not sure how long ago this diagnosis came through. I told my sister last night about the Manic Depressive story and now I can’t be sure I never had at least a mild case. I don’t believe I have a severe case if I do have it… But I have some signs I could read in myself – such as the nonchalance to my own self destruction at times and mood swings from highs to lows. Then again, that could be attributed to regular depression as well.

I was reminded repeatedly as a teen how expensive my depression was. Therapists and medication cost soooo much I was told. I believe my parents really took care of it at all because a doctor diagnosed it while I was overseas at a regular checkup – and suggested I be sent back state side to stay at some form of institutional school.

I was only on meds and seeing Therapists for about a year. I recall saying I was feeling better and they weaned me off of meds. While I was faring better than I had been, I’m not sure they didn’t quickly happily agree I was better in order to not pay for those costs anymore.

A few years later one of my sisters was admitted into a mental hospital purely as punishment for her youthful indiscretions. They signed her out several days later only when she promised to be good. That just seems so backwards when I think about both instances together nowadays.

Another sister says she’s positive she has depression and anxiety issues – and even her high school had suggested to get her checked out …But Nah, she’s ok. “Just Lethargic” they were told.  …There are so many stories I could tell…

My parents also clearly have their own neuroses and behaviors that attributed to me and my sibling’s behaviors. Luckily at least a few of us have recognized certain situations and unsavory behaviors from our lives that we are actively trying to avoid and change in ourselves – though we can’t change the past and how we grew up.

I can’t change how scared my husband gets when I shut down and climb into bed with my depression… But I can change how I deal with frustrations and stress… Something I’ve been working on for a while. I’m trying to deal with my children in a way that doesn’t make them feel marginalized or not cared for. I don’t want to be passive aggressive with them or my husband. I am hoping I can nurture them in a way that does not compound any predisposed neuroses they may have by being a part of my family.

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. This is an interesting (morbidly so) read. Mental health is something I’m sceptical about as I always like to imagine there are logical answers and solutions to everything. I know my view is, perhaps, short-sighted in that regard, but when I was diagnosed as depressed I found that detaching myself and it from the mental health stigma really helped me.

    I think discovering that your youth has a lot to do with your hangups as opposed to just (Bray) Wyatt could be a step towards enlightenment for you. I hope it is anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Different coping strategies help different people and if detaching helped you then yay! LOL But yes I am slowly starting to feel a little more enlightened… It was starting to get the seeds of this understanding planted while I was here at Christmas… but this time there were a couple things my sister said that stuck out to me and behaviors of other family members that became glaringly apparent – though I expected it before arriving – that just all fell into place for an “Aha!” moment. Now I’m wondering how I hadn’t made these connections before.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve detached to the point where I formed an algebraic equation relating to personal problems and the work required to solve them. I’m considering making it the theme of a future post.

        I really think your discovery where all this is concerned could be a potential turning point for you. Understanding the particulars of a problem is surely the key to solving a problem. At least I imagine it would be.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Understanding the particulars of a problem is surely the key to solving a problem … You’re right! That sounds downright algebraic haha! But you’re right. If I can recognise everything for what it is I can at least attempt to not only change myself, but adjust how my children grow up and try to avoid the same or similar mistakes with them. I don’t know if I’d make that correlation if I hadn’t already made a commitment to myself to change certain ways I’ve handled the children in the past.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We grew up in a time when mental health was never openly talked about and ignorance ran rampant. We have similar stories. My mother still wonders what I ever had to be depressed about (yikes!). Denial, it seems, is a viable coping mechanism. Bottomline – and glad to see you arrived there on your own – only we can help ourselves. I wish you well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Recognizing our own behavior and actively and consistantly trying to change it demonstrates an internal strength and bravery. Realizing that our self-destructive behavior can adversly impact the ones we love the most is unfortunately something that many people never understand. You sound as if you are making conscious decisions to limit or mitigate any negative behavior on your part toward your family. I applaud you for that. It is a very hard thing trying to unlearn years of behavior in order to change the way you treat others, I know it is something that I am struggling with as well. In my case the behavior was due to being ignorant and oblivious to the hurt I was causing. I can only imagine how much harder it would be having to deal with depression at the same time. I hope that you have somone who is supportive in your life that you trust enough to let them help you. I found that the person I hurt the most with my behavior was also the person who I am relying on for help and support as I try to cange myself every day. She is an amazing person and I couldn’t do it without her. From what I have read on your blog I belive that you possess the strength to succeed.
    Now that you have recognized behavior in your family that you do not wish to replicate, it may become easier on you. Its hard to change things that you thaught were normal, if you did not know you were doing it.

    Best wishes.

    I

    Liked by 1 person

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