Rant #3 and #4 – You Need Support and Know Your History

I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long, a LOT of craziness.  In a nutshell, certain members of my family want no part of my blog.  They don’t want to be in it, don’t want to be mentioned, and don’t want the family secrets aired in front of everyone.  Funny thing is, after my last post (which has since been deleted), most of my family wouldn’t have been in it.

And, I’ve already received a few positive comments on my blog.  So…my family will no longer be a part of my blog, however, my blog will continue…

Which brings me to another topic (or two) of conversation when it comes to perinatal mood disorders: having a support network AND knowing your medical history.

First: the support network.  Having supportive, positive, caring people around you; whomever that is for you; is a big key in dealing with a perinatal mood disorder.  Note, I didn’t say prevent.  Is it possible to keep these mental illnesses away with enough supportive people around you during this phase of your life?  Maybe.  There’s a lot of research, and there’s sure to be a more.  However, given my experience, and the research that exists; even if having this network doesn’t prevent you from getting a mood disorder, it will surely help when you’re slogging through the hole that these illnesses can throw you down without a care in the world.  How can it help?  One phrase that, regardless of anything else, needs to be repeated over and over: you are not alone.  Someone to talk to, to listen, to tell you you’re not losing your mind, that you are sick and that with professional help, you can defeat this thing.  So whoever it is, be it one or many, gather them around you and keep them close.

Second: know your medical history.  We all have a relative who had/has some syndrome, illness or hereditary trait.  And we all know that barring some gender-specific instances, we are then more susceptible to developing this illness, or whatever, too.  Same goes for psychological, and perhaps even more so.  Physical abnormalities (illness, syndrome, genetic stuff) are okay in regular conversation, even if it’s somewhat hush, hush.  Mental illnesses however, except those normally reserved for the elderly (Alzheimer’s, etc.), are hush, hush, if they’re mentioned at all.

In my situation, there’s mental illness on both sides of my family.  I didn’t find this out until after I had my nervous breakdown and my suicidal thoughts were getting stronger.  I’ve heard a few excuses; the most popular being shame, and that mental illness wasn’t discussed “back in those days.”  In my situation, it was shame and denial, which fueled secrecy, which fueled ignorance.

Regardless of the excuse, ignorance does not help ANYONE in the family.  I’ve tried to maintain the policy that I don’t wear my illness on my sleeve, nor do I hide it.  If it comes up in conversation, by whomever, I talk about it.  Talking about it is key!  And if your family cares about you, they will tell you.  It doesn’t matter if the relative was diagnosed or not, SOMEONE will know.  So know your family history, and if there is a history of mental illness, tell your doctor(s), be honest and frank.  If s/he/they shrug it off, find another doctor who will take you seriously and will take the proper precautions.  As my grandmother (may she rest in peace) always said: It’s better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.

Be well.

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~ by phaerygurl on March 11, 2013.

One Response to “Rant #3 and #4 – You Need Support and Know Your History”

  1. Tracy, thank you for sharing. I miss you dearly, and wish you the best every day of your life. Life is hard, and we get through it with those who care about us.

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