How did this happen?

Sometimes people that face mental illness and challenges ask themselves, “How did this happen?” or “Why me?”

Does the classic debate apply here between environment or heredity when it comes to the brain? Scientists are discovering that mental illness often runs in families.

I know in my own family there is a history of mental illness on my father's side of the family. My sister and I both have bipolar disorder. Two of my four children have a mental illness, two do not (I keep my fingers crossed for them!).

There is no doubt factors such as stress, family struggles, children’s demands, financial challenges, business difficulties and others may influence whether or not a person has mental illness. Mental illness also influences how well we cope with these every day difficulties.

What happens when otherwise healthy people suddenly encounter a dramatic change in their lifestyle? Like the women of Vietnam that over time literally went blind from having witnessed the atrocities of war, the mind can sometimes shut down and simply refuse to accept any more negative input or influence. People can and have become emotionally then physically crippled by overwhelming depression which can lead to a premature end of life, either through a disease or by their own hands.

If you or someone you know struggles with this, don’t put it off, seek medical attention and explain the symptoms. As well, ask your family members if they know of anyone else in the family that may also suffer from similar conditions. If there is a similarity then be sure to alert them to the same symptoms you may feel as well. It is not uncommon for people to refuse or postpone medical treatment for fear of the stigma of mental illness so they simply refuse to seek help in any manner, which only makes it worse.

Susceptibility to mental illness through heredity does not mean a person will absolutely become mentally ill. Things like trauma, substance abuse and brain injury to name a few, add to the chances.

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About the Author

Keri-Lynn is a married mother of four children and two "step-men" and has been in the print industry for 20 years. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 11 years ago and has a keen interest in sharing her wellness strategies with others.

Contact Keri-Lynn by email:  [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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