When it runs in the family
When I first became ill, the depression was very deep.
Most depression, although always disagreeable, does tend to be mild, or with good days, bad days.
It is very rare for deep depression to occur.
This was explained to my parents, and the doctors were confused.
I did not have trauma in my past, which might explain this.
I began to realise that the Doctors were confused.
This worried me a lot, and when I left their care it was with few answers.
Finally, after a few years of trying to cope alone, I decided to try to find out about the family.
My parents helped me.
We pulled out photograph albums, and I gazed at sepia pictures,..people frozen in time.
I pointed, and my parents would name each person, and tell me about them..
‘She went to America, and she lived in New York.’
After a while I began to realise this..
Each member of the family seemed to do the same things, we shared a pattern of behaviour.
My parents were stars, and helped me until the records stopped.
I managed to trace back about two hundred years.
We had been living with depression for all this time, maybe longer.
I had not been the first to become ill, or to go into a hospital.
I began to build a picture of a sensitive group of people, who wanted to fit in, to be popular, but who were often alone. They tended to spend a lot of time alone, and it was this isolation which had in part led to depression.
I looked at the photographs, and I saw the same thing each time..shy people posed nervously in front of the camera. Shy like myself, preferring the background.
I discovered other characteristics too, which illumined my own personality.
I began to see that we were living on the margins of life, ‘as an observer’, as one Great-aunt had put it.
I now knew there was nothing wrong with that, but my own need to have friends, to be invited to the Prom, to feel part of things had put pressure on me.
I learned so much about my family, and about myself.
I have tried to use this information to help me to recover from depression.