Instant Depression…Just Add Water (30 Days Challenge)

5. Do you believe nature (biology/physiology), nurture (environment), a mix, or something else has an impact on mental health?

In my last 30 Days entry I mentioned my belief that my depression is borne from a difficult childhood and a life of attempting to counter it by being strong. Therefore, it will probably come as no surprise that I give much credence to the “nurture” side of the debate.

However, I also believe that there is a strong genetic element. It is no coincidence that I have immediate family with depression, schizophrenia, self-harm & alcoholism. On the next level I have depression & heroin addiction. I firmly believe there is a genetic “weakness” or “pre-disposition” in my family…a tendency towards mental health issues and/or addiction. I inherited many traits, some positive (academic ability, strong moral values, honesty) and some neutral (thick hair, big feet)…it would be idiotic to believe that the negatives, including my sub-optimum mental health, does not have genetic origins too.

But I do believe that nature and nurture interact and are not mutually exclusive factors. Perhaps, had I grown up in a different environment, I would not have developed this mental illness. Perhaps the genetic potential would have simple faded away had my parents not exposed me to their ugly relationship, had I not been conditioned that approval was dependent on perfection, had I not expected abandonment by those I loved….the list is endless. It’s all a pointless game of “what ifs” that I generally try not to engage in. I can no more change my history than I can predict my future. I can only live in the now.

My nature-nurture opinions no doubt form part of the reason I sit firmly in the medical intervention camp. The general trend towards anti-medication superiority angers me and I have written previously about this topic. My genetic pre-disposition to gynaecological problems, for example, led me to my GP to seek medical assistance. Why should my pre-disposition for mental issues not be the same?

What’s this all about then eh?
I found a pretty cool challenge on a blog from last year – 30 days of mental health posts. I’ve decided to give it a go, despite being a year late to the party! You can also see the other participating posts. This is my fifth entry.  If you prefer, you can read from the start.

Instant Depression…Just Add Water (30 Days Challenge)

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