Recently over at The Bipolar Writer Longname Blog, James wrote an article asking if mental illness were a genetic thing. After reviewing some mental health history in his family, he noted opinions that professionals have on the matter. He asked curious questions, including: “Knowing that Bipolar disorder might be something that can affect other people within my own blood makes me wary of the future. The big question becomes, could I pass this on to my own children?”
His article garnered a sizeable amount of traffic. Like, 206 ‘likes.’
I, in turn, was surprised. Flabbergasted. Flummoxed, Astounded. Etc. Is this even a question? Why is it a question?
I do not wonder if mental conditions are genetic. I look at myself and see my grandfather’s anger, my mother’s nose, the potential of cancer because of a grandmother, and a few sources of depression, anxiety, and addictive behaviors.
I assume that everyone feels this way about his family that came before, but maybe he does not.
Then again, this knowledge might be due to my upbringing. I’ve mentioned before that I am LDS and was raised that way. One (of many wonderful) quirk(s) is that we really know our family history. No joke. I know who my grandparents are/were on both sides. Further, I know my grandparents’ parents. If I want to, I can go on the computer and research my grandparents’ grandparents’ grandparents. I can often find a picture and who they married and where they are buried.
Sorry if I weirded anyone out. I bring up my ancestor voyeurism in speculation of its impact on my belief in heredity. Since I am perfectly comfortable knowing my progenitors and since I see similarities in features and behaviors, I therefore feel perfectly comfortable associating mental illnesses as yet another genetic trait.
True, there are some cases where Great-great-great-great Grandpa Bob may have been a little off because of those times his younger brother dropped a hobby horse on his head. Hopefully there are historical notations for aberrations like that.
Overall, however, I see serious mental illness as hereditary a trait as red hair and freckles. Or height and intelligence. Or photoptarmosis and liking black licorice.
Do you think so, too? Why or why not?
Short, sweet; here’s what I did this week:
Wednesday, April 17: Moved with history in “There is Hope in the Flame of Notre Dame.”
Friday, April 19: Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
Saturday, April 20: Responded to P’Arc’s post about her pen name with “A Chelsea by Any Other Name Would Still be Sarcastic.”
Sunday, April 21: Wrote “Behind the Blogger Tag Thingamajig” in answer to P’Arc’s nomination.
Monday, April 22: Re-blogged Jennie‘s story about teaching.
Tuesday, April 23: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-One.”
Wednesday, April 24: Today.
I received my first and last paycheck from Kids are the Worst. It was fun while it lasted and I hope they contact me again once things settle down.