A series of posts uncovering what is really beneath my anorexia and depression.
Reason 2: Inheritance.
Anyone else think they inherited a lot of who they are from their parents? Maybe hair color, eye color, body shape? For me, I can identify those things and also a few more.
Each of my parents had a host of both mental and physical illnesses. As I have explored the whys of Ana, I have to think that my parents passed down at least some of it to me. Let’s review:
Mama had the following:
- Clinical depression: she was on meds most/all of the time I knew her, in intensive therapy, and spent my 2nd grade year away at a treatment facility; she was volatile and moody, and frankly, intimidating to me a lot of the time. During 8th grade, I woke up in the middle of the night to give her medications.
- Kidney failure: my grandmother gave her a kidney in her early 20s because both kidneys were failing, then that one decided to stop working when I was 14. She was on dialysis for the next 5 years, and even had a heart attack resulting in her death at a dialysis facility
- Liver failure: liver failure showed up during the last couple of years of Mama’s life, adding to the misery of kidney failure
- Probable eating disorder: an employer accused Mama of having bulimia when I was in elementary school, and when I look at pictures from that time, she seems noticeably thin. She was on Weight Watchers at various times in my life. Beyond that, it’s all speculative.
Daddy had the following:
- Polio when he was 2 years old
- Resulting in scar tissue on the brain, giving him a lot of
- Mental challenges: People didn’t get his sense of humor; he didn’t know how to communicate in many situations. It’s nearly impossible to admit, but I was embarrassed of him a lot
- Seizures: the scar tissue also caused Daddy to have seizures. I saw several of them, and was home alone with him for one when I was ten. He finally got medication accurate to control them for the most part when I was in my teens.
- Alcoholism: When I was young, Daddy drank a lot. He was a happy drunk, and I didn’t really mind. But Mama did. Then Daddy had a seizure when he was driving and ran into a phone pole. I saw why Mama wasn’t down with his drinking. Turns out the seizures and alcohol didn’t mix.
But here’s the deal…while I think I inherited a lot from my parents that has caused in some ways my depression and anorexia, I think I also inherited these things:
Mama was a fighter. She had me when she was told it was risky for her and me. She always stood up for Daddy and me. She did everything she could to make sure I was safe and cared for. She never let me know we were dirt poor during the years my parents were divorced (a whole other post). She was fiercely loyal.
Daddy was the kindest person in the entire world. He didn’t even THINK bad things about people. He always had a smile and was always playful. He loved Mama and me with all his heart. He was the best worker, putting in 40 years with the US Post Office, and stacking up more sick days than anyone.
I know I inherited some of the hardships and challenges, but I firmly believe that I also inherited Mama’s fighting spirit and Daddy’s kindness. Maybe I can focus on those for a while.