"But You're Brilliant!" Anxiety, Depression and Suicidal Ideation

I have been an anxious since I was 16 months old. I have been depressive since I was Seven years old. I was 3 months premature. My twin sister died at age two days. I was in foster care after four months with a wonerful lady (my birth mother gave us up for adoption). According to the paperwor I have 'the transition was hard'. Yeah, because I was 16 months old! And they changed my name. The adoptive parents were emotionally and sometimes physically abusive (which they 'made up for' by buying things). A day or two before my seventh I asked the adoptive monther what my real mother was like. She said 'She wasn't your real mother! She didn't love you enough to keep you!' So, I was unwanted and unloveable. Must be why they (the adoptive parents) treat me this way. That was my child-thought.

When I was six I was taken out of class and sent to the principal's office I was terrified. It was actually for a series of tests for the GATE program. I was moved to a group set apart, within the classroom. The normies used to torment (bully) me unless they wanted help with their work. This went on all through unti high school. Sometimes teachers bullied me. I cried a lot. I was told to 'get a hold of myself' and sent to the office. I learned to hide my fear/pain/anxiety behind a mask.

Recurrent depression. Recurrent feeling not wanted, that I didn't matter, that I was unloveable, that there was something wrong with me as a person, that I was a mistake. Suidical ideation has been my response to every crisis of life and inability to handle stress.

If I ever intimated to friends or extended family (yes I did find my natural family on both sides), they would disbelieve me, saying 'but you're brilliant!', or some version thereof. As if a high IQ precludes mental illness. They seemed to think that I could some how use logic and reason and will to pull myself up by my bootstraps. Believe me, if it were that easy, I'd have done it long ago.

I actually was encouraged by the stories of mental illness in the lives of such people as Nikola Tesla and John Nash. Not that I am of that calibre of mind, but it proves that 'smart people' can suffer from mental illness.

At the moment I am coming out of a trough of a bout of major depression. I have actual hope of getting the right meds for my disorders as well as cognitive therapy. (That's been a struggle, with insurers and employers who will only cover such for a limited amount of time.) I have been studying self-help aids, and trying to get at the bottom of these conditions in myself. Having identified the inceptions and the triggers, I feel that I have made important steps in finally managing my illness.

The most important thing that I have in my life right now is someone who not only accepts me as I am, but has made it very clear that whether I live or die matters very much to them. This is important because every single time I have had severe bouts of major depression it has started as a feeling that my presence didn't matter to anyone, that I was not needed, or wanted.

For what it's worth, I understand -based on her own personal history - why the adoptive mother said what she did, and acted as she acted. (But it doesn't erase the damage done.) For what it's worth, depression runs on boths sides of my natural family. Two of my three grown children have anxiety disorders. It's genetic. That's all. Like a propensity to heart disease of diabetes. Not my (or their) fault as a person.

I read on the blog of a man with bipolar disorder recently 'it's about care and management, not recovery.' Amen, brother! I had got so tired of people's expectations that I had ' got over it.' This is a chronic condition. Acceptance of that fact - like an AA meeting, now! - is the first step. Not expecting yourself to 'recover' helps. Knowing that your condition can be managed, that you have resources, that there is help, is a great relief.

 With these tools of cognition, therapy, drugs and SUPPORT, I have actual hope for the first time in my 50+ years on this planet.



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