I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. I did not get a proper diagnosis until I hospitalized myself at the age of 41. I was diagnosed with Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, PTSD and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. I also suffer from Chronic Pain due to Mixed Connective Tissue Disease.
Having children I was always afraid that I would “rub off” on them. I stayed up late at night worrying whether or not they would suffer from mental or chronic illnesses. Unfortunately my oldest found out years ago that he also has arthritis due to a connective tissue disease. It devastated me knowing he was in pain because of my genes but that isn’t what this blog is about. It is about my biggest nightmare. The one in that my children would suffer from mental illness.
Today my oldest told me he was diagnosed with Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Anxiety, possible PTSD and possible BPD. I sat and talked to him calmly but inside my heart was shattering as he talked about some of his symptoms. This is my baby. Sure he is a 21 year old grown man, but he will always be my baby. Knowing he is in pain and suffering because he has my blood. Knowing he will have these illnesses the rest of his life. It kills me inside. I understand it is good that he has been diagnosed now. Now he understands why he feels a certain way. I went my entire life not understanding why nothing, or no one could make me happy. Not knowing why I would obsess with someone for months than suddenly hate them (reason for my 3 divorces). Not knowing why I would get so angry I would hurt myself and not be able to control it. He knows. WE know and he’s not alone. I do understand and because of that understanding I am also afraid for him.
My daughter has also shown some signs of depression and anxiety in the past. She doesn’t live close to me anymore so I’m not sure how much it is affecting her in her daily life. She does work and seems happy in her relationship. You just cannot tell what someone feels on the inside without them expressing it to you. I pray she stays strong.
Recently my 7 year old son has been exhibiting signs of anxiety. He has been chewing his nails and clothing, not sleeping at night because of frequent waking, sleepwalking, and he has also expressed to me fears of abandonment. That of course brought my diagnosis of, and my oldest son’s possible of BPD or EUPD (another name for Borderline Personality Disorder, Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder). The majority of people with BPD have immense fears of abandonment. Could he be exhibiting signs of BPD so young? I cannot bear to think he has to spend his life battling this shit too. I will be having him checked out and discussing my concerns with a therapist ASAP. His anxiety needs controlled. No one deserves to feel the crushing pain and fear that comes with it.
So, my nightmare has come true. All my children have suffered because of my genetics. What can I do but be there for them? I can let it break me down or make me stronger. I choose stronger. I have to be stronger for them. Besides, no one understands more than I do how it feels to suffer daily from mental illness. I just pray, wish, and hope they can find the joy in living that I am still searching for today.