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family mental health

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  • This topic has 6 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 2 weeks ago by avatarsaneinca.
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  • #961919 Reply

    Im in my late 20’s. Since 2016 in order, my father attempted to overdose on pills, my uncle shot himself and just this past week my cousin hung himself.

    They are all males on my fathers side, i’m very worried because i have no idea whats happening, am i on a path to follow suit simply because of my genetics? I’m not depressed that i know of, i mean some issues get me down, money issues, work, this covid situation but i don’t think i could hurt myself but i don’t know if i’m going to wake up on a random Sunday and just have a thought that i cant do it anymore. None of my relatives reached out to anyone before they did it so from the outside it didn’t seem like they were struggling and sad, they seemed normal, made jokes, made plans for the near future, then gone.

    I don’t really know what i’m trying to ask i just needed to vent and express what i’m feeling. thank you

    #961922 Reply

    @Matt, I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with this. We don’t understand brain chemistry as much as we’d like to, so no one can tell you if you are or are not likely to have mental health issues.

    However, there are a couple of factors and a few actions you can take:
    1. You don’t know what trauma’s your dad and his brothers (?) went through as children and how mental health was or was not considered. There’s an environmental component you didn’t experience
    2. You have awareness that these men didn’t/don’t have
    3. You can get ahead of it now. Get into therapy, talk about your experiences and how you manage your fears, stresses, joys, etc. Work on developing strong coping skills.
    4. Be open to medication. As I said, we don’t understand brain chemistry or how the brain works – that much. We understand how these medicines work, we don’t understand why different brains operate differently.

    Take care of yourself – think about this like exercise or sleep, you need to take care of your brain/emotional health as much as any other part of you.

    #961923 Reply

    Beyond the good advice from L for L I’ll point out that your father has only 1/2 the same genes as your uncle, while you have only 1/4. While there is a hereditary component to some mental illnesses, there is also an environmental one. You grew up in a different family than your cousin did. The families I know who have experienced mental illness/suicide have had it limited to one of multiple siblings, except for the unusual case of a friend who shot himself, and his father and his son did the same. That is rare. That you are feeling not at all depressed and have reached late 20s with no evidence of mental illness is an excellent sign.

    #961926 Reply

    I would agree that you just don’t know why they chose these actions. Mental health issues could run in your family, so knowing that- take care of yourself. See you doctor regularly and be honest with yourself and health care providers about how you’re doing. See a grief or other therapist now to help put these events in perspective. They could all have had very different traumas leading to a choice like that, or it could be various other things. And it’s no surprise they didn’t explain- people, especially men, often hide their inner feelings and traumas and shame. People often like to look at coincidences and lump them together with a tidy reason, but each individual has their own thoughts, memories, lives and choices.

    I’m sorry for your losses. Take care.

    #961927 Reply


    While many mental illnesses are hereditary, it is not a given that they will pass down. In my family, my mother was manic depressive, my sister is bi-polar, my father and his father were alcoholics. I am none of these.

    My son, at 24, has shown no manifestations of these either. In males, onset of mental illness peaks in the early to mid-20s. You have most likely passed that point and do not, and will not, manifest any severe mental illnesses.

    Everyone occasionally suffers from situational depression, anxiety, etc. Most often resolve one their own or can be managed with talk therapy. Occasionally, medication is warranted until the situation changes and/or the patient develops appropriate coping skills. At that time medication is discontinues because these are not chemical imbalances that require ongoing medication.

    To help alleviate your concerns, do speak with your primary care provider. You may well benefit from meeting with a therapist to discuss your family history and your concerns. Medical professionals can discuss your concerns and give you insight on what things to look for moving forward.


    #961928 Reply

    I am very sorry for your losses in your family. I don’t think that this has so much to do with genetics. BUt I do believe – because I have read it in studies about suicide — that people who commit suicide very frequently, if not always, identify with a close model who committed suicide or who died. That is why there is – not unfrequentely – these chains of suicide in the same family. The person thinks that they will join the one who chose to die before them. The trauma of a suicide is huge and generates a psychological pattern. But such an identification can be treated in therapy. You say that you don’t have mental health issues, so you don’t. You are disturbed and unsettled by these sudden losses, and it is normal, so perhaps you could have a few sessions with a psychiatrist to elaborate your shock.
    About the brutality of such suicides that nobody saw coming: again, this is a very very common pattern for suicides. Some are announced by previous endeavours and call for helps, but most happen as a total surprise and disbelief for the family and friends. Afterwards, they can read signs that they missed – or not – but it is extremely frequent not to understand what happened. Psychiatrists speak of a raptus: a sudden impulse, and a hidden or untreated depression. I advice you to read some scientific books about suicide. It can help to have a more rational and documented approach. I personally found peace and insight after having lost a very dear friend in a suicide, by reading studies on suicide because I really couldn’t figure out what happened.

    #961932 Reply

    Purple star, Isn’t bi-polar same as manic-depressive ?

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