Lately I have begun to wonder what is hereditary and what is learned in children. I watch my son and see so much of myself and my husband, yet I see so much difference. I look at my mother and father and see the same. I am adopted, my son is not.
Depression: Logic tells me it would be something that is inherited, yet, being adopted, and knowing so little about the biological(s), how can I know? My son doesn’t appear to have it, yet I do. He does have anxiety, which both my brother and Mom do, and he has my social skills.
I don’t ever recall my Mom having depression as I grew up. Oh, sure I noticed peripherally, like the shadows you think you see, but when you turn your head there is nothing there. I never, as a child, would have said my Mom was a sufferer of depression, or even anxiety. I might have used the terms “go getter” and “active”, maybe even the term “can’t sit still”, but not depressed, or even anxious. The last, “Can’t sit still” I am not even clear why I think that? She did needle point, read for hours, soaked in the tub for long periods of time, she sat still. But it is not how I see her.
I didn’t see a lot of my parents the way my son does. Both Mom and dad worked, Dad was a policeman (R.C.M.P) and Mom was a nurse. I was either at school, or when not at school, outside playing until even the moonlight wasn’t enough. Yet, they were always there.
I remember this time, I came home from somewhere, it was mid morning, still dew on the ground not yet melted away, and my cat (that I have no memory of before this, except once) whom I apparently loved, had been hit by a car. she was flattened. You could see the drag mark in the wet grass and the road, where she had pulled her self home to be with us. She was alive when I got there, but died after I pet her and held her (well, sort of, I didn’t pick her up). she had a need to be with me. I remember calling my Dad at work, bawling. How he understood me, how any one understood me I still don’t know. But he came home. It seemed just seconds and he was there. he held me, helped me bury her and cleaned up. He was there.
Another time, after school, I was really upset, I don’t even remember why now, a boy probably, or a bully, I don’t remember any one being home, I just sat on the kitchen floor and cried, next thing I know, there’s Mom, home early from work, “I just knew you needed me” was all I remember her saying.
But, if they weren’t always around, how could I have picked up traits from them? But how could I pick up traits that are distinctly them that are hereditary, if I was adopted? Very much a puzzle for me.
This brings me back to the depression, I have learned recently that Mom has been a fighter of depression all her life (worse after her sister died when they were teens), and the way Mom handles it/suffers it, is so much the way I deal with mine. I get tired, snippy, and say mean things. I hold grudges even for imagined slights, and while outwardly most, even those close to me/us, wouldn’t know much different, I/we withdraw from life.
My point of all this is, folks, if someone lashes out, or says something that hurts you? And you know that isn’t the usual, or they seem to do it in phases? Don’t get hurt, reach out, ask them for coffee, give them a hug. Don’t just give up. Sometimes just saying I love you isn’t enough.
Depression affects so many, and so differently, and if you get more than one together? It can become a vicious cycle of feeding each others depression. Just be there, allow them a place NOT in their home/depression filled area to relax and be safe. It will probably be short at first, but it helps! Even if it must be in their home/turf where the depression is? That change of you being there can help!
Reach out. Learn to forgive, and if you too have/fight/suffer depression? Push past it, it might just help you to help them. If it doesn’t and it just drags you down and makes it worse? Then you have to walk away. Some times love hurts.