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.