Morning all, dull and rainy outside, ... - Mental Health Sup...

Mental Health Support
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Morning all, dull and rainy outside, where's the sun!!!! I'm just wondering if depression, anxiety run in families. What do you think???


I've suffered depression since a child, being brought up by abusive alcoholic parents and ex-husband.

My dad had a nervous breakdown because of the alcohol when I was a child.

I'm just wondering whether depression/anxiety run in the family as my eldest daughter has taken 2 overdose and now my 15yr old has developed an eating disorder and has depression.

I thought I was doing a good job in bringing my girls up but this has really hit me hard. She is getting help from the docs and the mental team but I feel a failure.

I'm dealing with my depression which comes and goes, I have my bad days and my good days. :-(

16 Replies

i think genetics comes into it quite a bit which we can not control.

If we have not been brought in in a healthy environment it is going to be difficult to learn the right "skills" to cope or to be able to pass them on either. I see a lot of my grandmother in my self, and in my aunts..I think my parents just presumed that everything would turn out ok, while i wish that they had been more proactive there is no point wishing now, I can't exactly go back in time.

I am not a parent, but i do see too many who beat themselves up about how the children work out. and the whole self-blaming thing gets out of control..sometimes it is just blind luck, like what kind of other children are around in the local area or school, and as for the influence of the media....well i could rant on for ages....

what does look encouraging is that your daughters are of an age that they can understand th e ideas behind the various self-help systems, and all three of you can help and support each othernow , esp as things seem to be out in the open between all of you. They may come and suggest new ideas for you to try on yourself-----

As you said you had done a good job as a parent, what would have been the result if you had not tried to be a good mum? or had been the same as your parents? You have already done a better job than a parent would who did not care. It is just that the girls will continue to need TLC from you , and probably patience too, rather longer than you first expected. Hopefully they can give you some TLC back in return.


No, I definitely do not think depression runs in families.

Research shows that although we inherit different temperamental qualities such as being sensitive or tough from each of our parents, how they combine to form our personality and whether they lead to depression depends upon experiences throughout life. You had a very difficult childhood which must have led you to have feelings that were too difficult for you to deal with at the time and unless you have managed to work through the effects of those experience sadly your children will have learned from them about you, themselves and life. Children have a limited understanding and when they recognise that either one or both their parents is depressed they will assume that has something to do with them, especially when the parents difficult feelings cannot be fully understood and talked about. People generally try to protect their children from their own horrible childhood experiences but in doing so they also prevent their children from understanding why the parent is depressed. Sadly it may well be that your children experienced your depression from an early age but did not understand why you were so unhappy, so perhaps assumed life was inherently disappointing so it is not surprising that they may be depressed or have other difficulties. Children learn from imitating the significant people in their lives and whether or not you consciously felt depressed they will have picked up the emotions you carried with you from childhood and learned about life from those. It is very sad. The way we can begin to protect our children from the consequences of our own abusive past is to come to terms with it emotionally which usually involves expressing and sharing the feelings with someone who understand them, then grieving and finally letting go. When we have done that our behaviour starts to change and as a result our children are able to understand which emotions belong to us and relate to our past and which are theirs and relate to their own experiences. I am a trained therapist but was deeply depressed when my daughter was little, however as a result of therapy I have been able to talk with her at length about my childhood experiences. She has also been able to share with me how she felt about the way I mothered her, how angry and hurt she felt, how she thought my depression was her fault, to grieve with me about how hard it must have been for me as well as for her. As a result of sharing our experiences we are now close and good friends, and more importantly I know she will be able to mother her own children without carrying the leftover unresolved feelings from her childhood.

I am sorry that both your daughters are struggling with mental health issues. You may find it will help them if you are able to share with them how you felt as a child, how you felt about becoming a parent when your own parents had been so abusive and had failed to meet your needs, and how you feel now about having failed your daughters so miserably (in their experience). They may well be very angry towards you (as my daughter was towards me) but if you are able to accept that despite having done your best you failed them in some ways then ironically you will be helping them and will have become a good enough mother. It really depends upon the nature of the relationships you have with your daughters, but it may help them if you are able to let yourself be really vulnerable and also to talk with them both together so they have each other to validate certain of their childhood experiences. If you feel unable to do this alone then a family therapist would be able to help you with the process and you could either see one privately if you can afford it (I can tell you how to find one) alternately your GP may be able to refer you to a family therapist, although being realistic NHS and CAMS services are over-stretched and you may find you have to go it alone or use a friend for support (better not another family member...).

Do feel free to come back to me if you feel you need support during the process, and I am sure other people on the website will support you too.

Sorry, I posted my reply and then feel I should just add that this is my view as an individual and not necessarily the view of other people on the website, so I hope you will not be offended if you disagree with what I have said.


in reply to Hidden

Hi Sue, thanks for your reply.

My 26 yrs old hated me for yrs, she would even hit me. She was like that as she was a daddys girl and when I got rid of him, she blamed me. If I had stayed with him , I would be 6ft under now because of his beatings. I threw her out when she was 16 as I couldn't stand her beating me anymore and I had my other daughter to look after.

She went to live with her dad and the abuse I suffered was amazing then 6 mths later , she begged to come home as her dad had started on her. She realised then that I was keeping her safe from her dad, and it was him who was abusing ME.

It took a long time for me to trust her again, she had councelling for a year but its always at the back of my mind what she did to me and her sister.

My 15yr old is the opposite to my eldest, she is more loving and we have a very close bond, also her dad has not been in her life.

I got rid of their dad as when the young one was about 2yr old, she came downstairs and found her dad trying to hit my on the head with a hammer. She started screaming at him to leave me alone.

Over the coming yrs, we had death treads, the house being broken into by him and other incidents. I went back into councelling as by that time I was suicidal. What stopped me, were my children as they only had me.

I was put on anti depressants and kept an eye on my young daughters. The eldest daughter, I sat down and told her about the abuse I suffered, the rapes I suffered from her dad, I told her everything, she told me that her dad had told her that it was me who was abusive so I showed her the scars, she cried and so did I.

We decided to look after her sister together, to make sure that she was safe and everything was going great until that phone call from the DWP and how they kept going on about their dad and my parents and how they wanted to know what I suffered and how it affected me. I had put all this down in the form and people they could contacted. They didn't have to bring it all back up and open all my wounds up again.

I sat the little one down and explained everything again, she knew most of it already. She fears her dad as I didn't realised she remembers some of the beating I suffered at his hands but had locked it all away.

Her eating disorder involves eating in front of men, she just can't do it.

in reply to maisiemoo14

You certainly had a horrendous time with your husband, but it is great that you managed to share things with your daughter and learn to re-trust her again after all that happened. You should be really proud of yourself and the way you have managed to move on from such abusive relationships. I didn't know anything about the DWP - perhaps you have said about it in another post that I have not read or maybe read but not remembered, but I feel shocked that they ask you about what happened in the past - it is none of their business! If they want to know your emotional state then they should ask for a letter from a professional involved such as your GP and even then they shouldn't need to know details as that is confidential! I would write a formal letter of complaint if you haven't done so - there is certainly no way I would tell all and sundry about my childhood unless I was choosing to, it feels abusive to expect you to talk about it all. You said your children still have problems, are they still getting help? Your youngest will remember experientially even if she was very young because it will have been traumatic for her. There are specialist eating disorder services and I wonder whether she has ever been referred to one.

It is sad how you have all suffered and sad that your ex-husband was a abusive to those he loved - if he had been loved he would be extremely unlikely to have become an abuser. I hope he got some help in the end and didn't go on to abuse other women or children.


in reply to Hidden

Thanks Sue, I put in a formal complaint about what happened with the DWP and it has gone to the next stage so hopefully something will get done.

My ex husband was abused as a child but thought it was a sign of weakness to get help. I only found this out after his dad came on the scene. I always told myself, I am strong and broke the circle of abuse.

I dyed my hair red on the 1st Anniversary of my divorce, got my dogs and cats as he hated animals and starting living life just me and my daughters.

:-) :-)

in reply to maisiemoo14

Sounds good :)

Maisie this is so sad and makes me feel so bloomin angry at that bloomin DWP. Have they any idea what they are doing? How can they put someone through something like this? Don't they realise that talking about things which are so raw and so difficult is going to bring it all back for you? It makes me so angry that they don't care and see us like machines with no feelings as if we can just recount it all and not feel the emotion of it.

All I will say Maisie having read all of this is that I am crying, feeling for all that you have been through. I really feel you have done your very best as a mum and with the upbringing you had it has been so hard for you. I feel you are a good mum and one I would be proud of.

I know you have a lovely garden and I hope you manage to find a little peace from all of this buzzing around in your head at the moment by going in there. It sounds to me like you have behaved very responsibly and as kindly and caring as you can towards your children. I love the way you both decided to look after her little sister together; that does so make me cry as it is so very very loving of you MaisieMoo and was the meeting of you two coming together against that b... of a husband of yours. I love the way you take care of each other and I'm sure you can still take care of the younger one as well in time. You doing good Maisiemoo, you're a survivor.



Thanks Gemmalouise, my young daughter did 5 GCSEs a yrs early. She got A* in Physics and Maths, A in English and B in Chemistry and Biology so I must of done something right. My other daughter owns her own car and works full time. Both daughters are so protective of me as they realise how bad things were but we pulled together and got where we are now.

My garden I love as its lovely when the plants start flowering and the bees and the butterflies come out, the different smells are lovely.

Mind me answering, have you got children Gemmalouise? :-) :-)

Hi Maisie, no I don't have any children. I would have so loved children and I think I would have made a great mum. I am 55 coming up for 56 but i would say I look a lot younger than that; most people say I look around 47 and I don't feel I've had the life experience of someone of that age as I have missed out on so much. It's weird because sometimes I feel my whole life situation is intolerable ( no children, no close relationship, no job, no career and so on ) and yet on other days, like at the moment the situation is still the same but i feel fine and sort of "together" is the only way I can put it.

I am scared of being lonely as I get older. My parents are still alive but it has been difficult and sometimes I feel completely disconnected from it all like they can't even be my parents and I can't even be me and I'm not even here and stuff like that. At other times I don't know, I just don't feel too bad.

How lovely for you and you must be so proud of those GCSE grades she got. You're doing a great job Maisie. We make the most now of what we have I think and also I have found such lovely caring people on here. I can't seem to find the same sort of folk outside of this forum though as everyone seems to be superficial and never talk about anything which I think is of any consequence and does not want to either.

So glad I have you all here and we have each other

Gemma X

Thanks Gemmalouise, I think you are a brilliant person and I always look forward to your replies. I'm 50 this yr but don't feel it. I'm like you, where I live I don't have friends as they stabbed me in the back. I go to lip reading as I'm hard of hearing but haven't been for a couple of months as I feel like the DWP are watching me. that is how they have made my feel.

I've put in an appeal for my ESA as now I've a new doc who listens to me, also I've got an advocate at long last. The doc has written a note with all my illnesses on, Emphysema, Bronchiectasis, Osteoarthritis, Depression etc so now its all systems go. I wish I had someone like you where I am, I feel so at ease with you. X:-) :-) x

MaisieMoo I know exactly how you feel regarding DWP . It's like you don't feel that you can do anything at all or they will think you are a fraud. It set me back tons and genuinely made me more realistically suicidal than I had ever felt. Then I thought "what would they care if I did do it, it would just be another number to them" and that made me stop and not do it. It had seriously got very near that point though as my accomodation is threatened if i don't get the benefit and I cannot work through the spondylitis/ fibromyalgia/ severe bladder problems which i don't go on about but which do control everything as I also have to exercise for my back and obviously I don't want to be having problems with my bladder when I'm exercising, so that means I can't eat or drink anything for several hours before I go.

You probably know already I volunteer with Deaf and hard of hearing people for couple of hours a week when I am well enough. I have every admiration for you . There are different attitudes towards Deafness but if you have been hearing then always losing your hearing is a terrible loss. ( Some profoundly Deaf people see being Deaf differently and more as a language and a culture thing in that they use Sign language) I am learning sign language and keep on trying with it as I organised an event ,a Deaf lady came along and I did not communicate with her sufficiently out of fear of now knowing how to ; the guilt stuck with me and made me determined to learn how to communicate with her and thus the sign language journey started.

Lipreading will be a really good thing for you to do though of course and a necessity in your case. Most people think that deaf people lipread everything which is so wrong; I think the accuracy is around 10 to 20% and the rest is guess work and knowing what the topic of conversation is in the first place. People can also sometimes be so nasty about deafness ,though sometimes I find they are also very kind and try hard to accomodate. I like to think I am one of those. Sometimes they misunderstand if you can't hear and think you are being rude. I've only noticed this by volunteering with people with hearing loss; before that I was not really very aware myself and a little frightened of "getting things wrong".

Yes I keep wondering if the DWP are monitoring the site and looking to see if we are anything more than nearly dead; no doubt they will penalise us even if we dare to have a smile on our face for one minute in every 24 hours! I hate the whole way it is all organised as you basically have to constantly say what you cannot do and if you can do anything at all beyond opening your own eyes you feel guilty.

I have very genuine problems, to the point where I have been genuinely and regularly suicidal ( not that they would care). And my problems with my back are actually very severe indeed though so difficult to "prove" . The one affects the other as no doubt your physical problems make the psychological worse as well in that it is hard enough already just with depression.

I stopped doing any voluntary work when i got my first assessment and then my renewal as it made me so genuinely ill. I almost did finish it which is so sad that they make us like this. I am now dreading the next one but trying to adopt a better attitude this time, that they cannot and will not finish me off as I will not let them.

Crazy. Gemmalouise X

Hi Gemmalouise, I too have bladder problems after having 2 bladder tumours removed. I've also got scoliosis and you can actually see the bottom curve.

Lip reading is amazing, there are groups of letters that sound the same and make the same lip shapes. For example M, P, and B. And you are right, half the time I guess the topic.

The amount of people that are so nasty is amazing, for my TV, I've got an ANGEL which are like headphones that you plug into the back of the TV so I can still hear when the sound is down.:-) :-)

Wow MaisieMoo I've not heard of ANGEL but will look it up. I was looking in Action on Hearing Loss's magazine the other day and the range of technology available nowadays is amazing though I still think many people particularly elderly do not take advantage of it as they don't consider themselves to have a "problem" or just don't realise how much it has crept up on them.

I will have to look into lipreading classes actually. I am afraid if i stop the signing though that I will never start again as I find it so difficult so i focus on that. I have a goal to get to in terms of proficiency which is a fair bit higher than I am now. I am not a "natural" at all as it is very visual and that was never my strongpoint but I find that I can gradually train my brain in a different direction and i always like to challenge myself.

Will maybe have a go at lipreading once I've got the sign language more sussed :)

In the lip reading class, we do some sign language as well. Also we do numbers. I've got my light in the kitchen, lounge and hall that flashes on and off when someone is presses the doorbell. My dog Rubi put a paw on me when the phone rings. My daughters are used to me being hard of hearing.

:-) :-)

Oh that great. Glad you learning a bit of sign as well.x



They generally say that mental illnesses are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, although I understand children when young are scared by many problems associated within families and when they are bullied at school.

Sometime much depression is also caused possibly by stress associated with studies and examinations not forgetting the stress some children have from the pushing of parents and teachers to

do well in education and later College or other further places of education and employment. When the child fails to achieve they can have problems with their Peers

At home again children pick up when stress and illness of family members can set a child apart from parents and siblings. Sometimes in the home a child can also suffer from a sort of victim syndrome this can broadcast throughout their lives and if families are breaking up the child can also suffer from that situation where parents begin to bring the child into the argument on both sides.

There are many factors here that would need to be addressed, many problems including sexual can effect the development and the future progression of the child through life. Remember a child learns from the problems that surround it and in some instances the learning becomes faulty and these feelings are generally thought to be why these sort of problems can be classed as normal and are broadcast throughout their future family and Partnerships. Problems of past become self fulfilling and problems are repeated. One child I knew in Youth Work was taken out in the morning and washed in a rain butt when the weather was cold, this was the father doing the same thing as his father had done thirty years earlier. He thought He was waking The child up for school in the morning and would break the ice before ducking and washing the childs face. the most strange point of this, the child thought that this action was quite normal. This was 40 years ago and I have always wondered what that child did to his future family.

What is natural to one is unatural to another and this will extend possibly throughout their adult lives. Many Parents do not realise they can pass forward things that may have happened in their childhood. Further non functional families can pass down the line through a childs life

All the best


PS I hope I have not upset anyone here with this selective explanation

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