Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Demons


This is going to be a very serious and personal blog. I sometimes wonder whether or not I'm mentally ill. I wonder whether or not I have some screws loose. I don't think I'm crazy. I would never physically harm anyone unless they attempted to harm me first. I think I have a chemical imbalance, and I have a good reason to feel this way. 

Mental illness runs in my family. Several members of my mother's maternal side of the family are/were mentally ill. They weren't mentally ill in the sense that they would do themselves or anyone else any harm. No, instead these people suffered some type of traumatic event that forever changed their personalities. 

My great uncle (my maternal grandmother's brother) was hit upside the head by his father with a steel rod when he was a teenager. By all accounts, he was never the same after that event. The man I knew was a very loving and friendly man, but his mind wasn't right. He wander around his sister's neighborhood (who was his caretaker) and spoke incoherently. He never married or had children. He died of a brain tumor.

My great aunt (my maternal grandmother's sister, and sister to the uncle mentioned above) was also mentally ill. Her 5 year old son was hit by a car, right before her eyes, while he was walking home from school in the 1950's. She lost her mind. According to various family members, she had a nervous breakdown after that event and her mind was never quite the same. The woman that I knew was very friendly, polite and almost child-like. Just like her brother, she spoke incoherently, and wander around a lot. 

Both of these individuals are dead. 

My mother once told me and my brothers that she suffered a nervous breakdown after she left my father. I will never forget it because she told us on Thanksgiving day in 1999.  We were all holding hands and saying grace. We were also stating what we were thankful for in our lives. When it was my mother's turn she broke down crying and confessed that she sought help for a mental breakdown we knew nothing about. At the time I was shocked and too young to really understand.

Now as a twenty-seven year old woman, I worry that I may have my own mental demons. I worry that I'm not quite right in the head. My moods change frequently. I sometimes suffer from deep dark depressions. At one point in my life, I thought about suicide, though I don't think I can ever bring myself to kill myself. I cry sometimes for no apparent reason. I'm easily bothered by things happening in the world that I don't have any control over...like the state of the black community.

I don't have a reason to be depressed right now, but I am depressed. I'm quite unhappy yet I don't have a reason to be unhappy. I'm financially stable. I'm not wanting for women (I have a few in my life). Physically, I'm healthy, though I'm still dealing with that acid reflux problem. I don't have a reason to be sad, unhappy, angry or depressed so why the hell am I ALL of the above???

When I was ten years old I had a sever migraine headache that put me in the hospital. I sometimes wonder if I suffered some type of brain damage as a result of that event. I've had several CAT scans done since then and they all came back GOOD. 

After I graduated from college I consciously thought about checking myself into a mental health clinic. I was so depressed and angry all the time that I thought I was going crazy. I told my father that I wanted to seek psychological help. I told him my fear of inheriting a mental illness from my mother's side of the family. 

My dad grew silent. He expressed his agreement about my mother's half of the family and their mental issues.  Then he said, "You're not crazy. I'm think you're just having a hard time right now. Things will get better." 

Things did get better. So why am I still depressed, angry, sad and unhappy?

I told Yellow Bone about this issue and she said, "It makes sense. Alot of good writers had some mental issues...that's what made them great. They see the world from a point-of-view that is either unrecognizable to the rest of us or too taboo to confront with all honesty. Anybody that can see the world through that type of lens, without someone helping them, is bound to have some mental issues." 

Her words were comforting, but still I worry about my personal demons.
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