Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What if there were a mental illness gene?

My brain has been playing with this question all day today, so I'll pose it to you.

What if there were a mental illness gene? Anyone with the mental illness gene would be certain to develop mental illness. What if your child, born or unborn, had it? What would you think? What would you do?


Fram Actual said...

Evidently a shy group. Interesting question.

Briefly, since I do not favor abortion in a general sense, I would want the child to be born. My routine would become to learn more as a parent through reading and consultation with professionals, and to be on guard for indications and signs of possible problems as the child grew.

Whether or not I would tell the child of this situation at a certain age, I do not know. That, probably, would depend on the circumstances at the time, on advice from professionals and on my own instincts. However, as of right now, I would lean toward never telling the child (even into adulthood), unless there was specific reason to do so.

etta said...

Thank you, Fram. Yes, this question does seem to be creating some shyness around here, huh?

I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Not sure I'd believe it even if "science" said otherwise. I dont want find cause or excuse for my depression. Certainly, its in my head. Certainly, its physical. Everything, when you get down to it is physical--every process in the body, to include mood and thought. I think depression is way too broad a term. There are many forms. For me, its a way of thinking which I have to overcome. For others, maybe it is purely chemical.
But, I would not hold that against an unborn child. Most of us will have some dis-ease in our lifetime of some form or another. It's part of life.


Unknown said...

I think the variable is to high in just a mental health gene. There is a part that is purely biological but a lot of it has to do with the way the person grew up. If the person is taught from the beginning how to deal with emotions, how to deal with problems and has a supportive environment the chance of the mental illness becoming a severe problem is much lower then a person without the before mentioned skills. I have four mental illnesses and three of them were caused by nurture and not nature and the fourth was made a lot worse due to lacking the proper skills. take care

Unknown said...

I have always believed that there is an element of hereditary with my depression. Both my parents suffered with it. Now me and I think my 2 daughters, now young adults have had a session. But I think it also depends on other factors in our make up of who we are and how we cope with situations. I guess nothing is ever black and white.

Etta, I have gained so much from reading your blog, thank you for having the courage to do so.