Mental Illness: Nature or Nurture?

I’ve really been struggling these past two weeks.

I haven’t been able to sleep, eat, think clearly, or write.

It’s kind of sad. I would like to blame it on my disease, but sometimes, I think it might just be me. And I can’t decide which would be worse.

Insanity runs in our family, aside from HD. My great grandmother, for instance, used to cut her wrists all the time. Her daughter (my grandmother), had to drop out of high school so that she could watch her mom 24/7.

She would tell my grandmother that if she ever moved out, then she would kill herself. Eventually, my grandmother married and moved out to be with her husband, and her mom carried out her promise.

From there, my grandmother developed a severe eating disorder:

The same eating disorder that my mom struggled with for years.

The same eating disorder that my sister almost killed herself over.

And the same eating disorder that I am still battling.

Did all three of us “inherit” this warped need for beauty at all costs, or did my sister and I learn to binge and purge from a woman who abused us with liquid diets and body measurements beginning at the age of 12? (And no, the woman wasn’t my beautiful, perfect mom).

My family was not even aware that we shared these same mental patterns until recently, so it’s not like I grew up knowing that we all had similar, perverted ideas about the world.

And though HD can emerge in the form of mental illness as soon as 15-20 years before physical symptoms start, my depression began at the age of four. It’s hard to believe-I know, but it’s the ugly truth.

I still remember the exact day that it all began. Four years old.

I was at my grandmother’s house watching cartoons in the upstairs bedroom, happy as could be, when suddenly, an all-consuming shadow of impending doom hovered over my tiny body. I felt terrified and lost all at the same time, and I wasn’t even old enough to fully understand what those words meant.

I remember thinking, “I would rather be in Heaven than have this feeling,” so I closed my eyes and prayed, and the awful darkness slowly dissolved.

The whole experience only lasted for a minute or two, but the same shadow that invaded my mind as a child has continued to latch onto my thoughts more and more often as I’ve grown older.

From what I’ve gathered from humanity as a whole, this experience is not something that happens to many people. And I can’t blame it on HD because I was much too young to be symptomatic.

Was it an inherited, clinical complication? Or was it just a feeling of abandonment from watching my parent’s messy divorce? (And yes, I remember most of the events, even from such a young age).

I have no idea, and I don’t know why I constantly wrestle with the need to know the answer.

I could go on and on about a million similar events in my life, but you get the idea.

I feel like I’m stuck in this limbo alone.

I don’t know.

I don’t know.



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