Mental illness: the next generation

Brain disorders run in my family.  My father has suffered from depression on and off throughout his life, and given some of his behavior I suspect he’s maybe bipolar II.  (I do have experience as a trained peer counselor and support group leader, so I promise I’m not pulling this out of nowhere.)  My full sister has severe OCD and panic disorder, and my half-sister is bipolar.  So we got it from Dad.  (Gee thanks, Pop.)  So naturally my full sister (the one I’m closest to) keeps an eye on her two kids, especially because her husband has mental disorders in the family; and her ex-husband, Awesome Niece’s dad, has severe ADHD.

Awesome Niece has suffered from panic attacks since she was small, just like her Mom.  She seems to be developing some mild OCD as well as possibly some other issues, like paranoia and possible hypomania.  The symptoms are all there, but how much of those are caused by tween hormone weirdness is unknown.

Awesome Nephew has serious sensory processing issues.  Having those myself, I’ve bought him a couple of pairs of isolation headphones because I need earplugs in loud environments myself.  The headphones are among his favorite possessions and have saved him a lot of suffering over the past six months.  He also has major issues with temperature (hates being hot) and touch (we share a hatred for socks, which he refers to as “foot traps”.)  He is six but seems four, both in physical size and in the way he speaks.

Nobody wants to put the kids on medication.  Niece sees a therapist, who has helped a lot with her anxiety issues.  We hope neither kid turns out to have the problems my sisters and I do, but sometimes it feels inevitable.  Heredity can go suck it.

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