I live day to day with clinical depression and anxiety. Because I was young, I did not understand why my parents were often upset from stress which resulted in my mom being the one crying most of the time, my dad rarely showed this emotion. I always thought their feelings were the result from one of their quarrels. As an adult, I found out that both of my parents suffer from mental illnesses. My mom was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and my dad with depression. The history of mental illnesses, and the affect it had on my family. shaped me into the person I am today.
When I was 13 years old, my world around me changed forever. My parents ended their marriage of 21 years. I struggled to understand why it happened and they couldn’t work through it. My mom cried and yelled a lot, but we knew she still loved us because she sewed our clothes, cooked our food, and played the piano while we danced. Dad would come home stressed from the long hours at work. If we hadn’t listened to mom, we were spanked and yelled at again, but he always came back and apologized and said he loved us. Families were meant to stay together; at least that’s what we were always taught at church. Shortly after the divorce, stepparents joined our dysfunctional family. My mom, along with my siblings and I, suffered through 4 of her several marriages. My parents found out too late, of their mental illnesses. The divorce and my family history of mental illness affected me through the rest of my childhood and now to my own family.
Early on in my marriage, my husband and I had our first quarrel. We were new parents, so we were still getting used to sleep deprivation, a child that cries and can’t tell us why, and the constant battle over whose turn it was to change the next dirty diaper. As my husband and I lay in bed, I looked at him and said, “What makes you think this marriage will work?” After a stunned silence he said, “We are not your parents and we can work through this.” Sadly, because of my parent’s divorce, I didn’t believe in happy endings. After our last child was born, I was diagnosed with depression and post-partum depression. This diagnosis introduced a whole new chapter in my new family’s life.
Following our last child’s birth, I was dealing with a rollercoaster of emotions. The fact I couldn’t control my emotions, especially anger, is why I turned to a therapist. I received my diagnosis and was prescribed an anti-depressant that did not help me. I had several more depression episodes over the years that went untreated. The last episode was the worst so far, and resulted in me staying 3 days in the hospital due to suicidal tendencies and marital problems between my husband and me.
Through these experiences in my life, I have learned how to cope with my parent’s divorce, handle depression and work out problems in my marriage.