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mycatwillow 07-01-2007 06:39 AM

Reasons for being depressed
Hi everyone,

I've been reading a lot about everyone's family historys here and thinking about my own. Therapists used to ask my what my childhood was like and I used to say it was normal, because when people ask about childhood I always assumed they wanted to know if I was abused, and I wasn't.

But later on I realized that my childhood wasn't perfect. My parents fought a lot and my dad even moved out for a short period of time when I was 7 or 8 years old. Plus they had money problems. I was the good kid. I was an honours student and did everything right (or so they thought). My brothers were always getting in trouble and my father would hit them with a belt. If I got in trouble (which I hardly ever did) I got sent to my room. By the way, my Dad's not a bad person, back then people still spanked their kids and he would never do anything like that now. And they worked through their issues a long time ago and are happy together.

I think that's where my people pleasing reflex kicked in. Everyone was fighting so I was the good girl trying to make everyone happy. I realized that if I was genetically vulnerable to depression, this sort of environment probably contributed to making me depressed. Then when I got older and got a social life I was so consumed with making sure my friends liked me my school marks suffered and I felt like a failure. I was definitely a perfectionist and had to do everything right or I felt like a failure.

And depression definitely ran in my family on both sides. On my Dad's side my grandfather had ECT when he was younger and one cousin committed suicide. On my mother's side she was depressed as a young adult and my grandfather was an alcoholic.

No wonder I'm depressed. Anyway, just trying to work through things, and thinking out loud like this helps. And I don't blame my parents, because I know they were doing the best they could. Sometimes I wish my mother would have realized something was wrong with me when I was a teenager, seeing as she was depressed herself, but as I said, she did the best she could.

Happy Canada everyone.

Sannah 07-01-2007 08:10 AM

Re: Reasons for being depressed
Cat, this is excellent self-reflection!!!!! Knowing why you started doing a dysfunctional behavior is very important because this allows you to extinguish the reason why you are doing it. If you don't figure out why you are doing something it is almost impossible to stop doing it. I don't think that for you that anyone in your family really did anything wrong, you were just responding to your environment and this response just has caused trouble for you. Keep thinking out loud - it does help!!!

mycatwillow 07-01-2007 09:08 AM

Re: Reasons for being depressed
Thanks. It actually took me a long time to figure this out. I was reading an article on depression and genetic vulnerability combined with environmental factors and when I thought a little more about it, I thought, of course! Anyway, I'm a work in progess.

And I meant to say Happy Canada Day (not Happy Canada)!

marian100 07-01-2007 02:51 PM

Re: Reasons for being depressed
I understand. I am a child of a dry alcoholic. When my dad drank he beat my mother and older brothers. He stopped drinking before I was born but I was raised to fear him. My mother has always been a fearful person who never drove and therefore never had to go anywhere alone. She was on librium most of my life. Our house was always tense and we never had alot of fun. I can't rember joking around or being loud even if it was laughter. My parents never argued but there was anger there. I grew up being afraid of anger, my own and others. It has taken a lot to be able to overcome some of that. I think alot of people grew up in dysfunctional families. It is our job to over come it as best we can. Godbless:angel:

Trixibel 07-02-2007 05:43 AM

Re: Reasons for being depressed
Marian that's sad, that you look back and think 'we never had much fun'. My parents are both alcoholics (very respectable ones, you'd never know it) - they don't start drinking until 7 every night but once they start they get through a bottle of wine each! They are happy now but they weren't happy when I was growing up and there was lots of arguing. I don't blame them for my depression because I think people are genetically vulnerable and I know I am. But I like the idea of 'genetic vulnerability + circumstances' because that's certainly true in my situation. I don't like anger either. I spent my childhood watching my parents to see if they were arguing, and now I'm the peacemaker - always trying to calm things down between my husband and my kids.

Self awareness is a valuable thing, catwillow. you're obviously doing some good work on yourself.

mycatwillow 07-02-2007 06:06 AM

Re: Reasons for being depressed
It's so sad that negative environments can have such a long lasting effect on people. Marian's right, we have to overcome it the best we can.

Sannah 07-02-2007 06:09 AM

Re: Reasons for being depressed
Negative environments CAN be OVERCOME - I did it. Because of what I went through to become healthy, I know and understand myself extremely well now, better than the majority of people (especially those who haven't had to examine themselves to get healthy, I would assume). Having self-awareness is extremely valuable. It will get you through all of life's struggles.

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