Another link from my growing up years that paved the way for my eventual bouts with depression was my search for male attachment and my attempts to construct a "good" family. At least in the image I had.
To be clear -- I know that my parents loved me immensely and sacrificed to give me wonderful things such as music lessons, instruments, a pool in the back yard, and many other advantages lots of kids do not have, (my own for example,) so this is not a "my parents ruined my life" theme. It IS a "my parents' wounds and sins, compounded by my own wounds and sins had an effect on my life," kind of theme.
My father, whose personality I share, was reserved in the Vocal Praise and Lavish Affection department. What can I say, he was of German descent. But he was also known as the man who had the Patience of Job, and who would give the shirt off his back to help someone. Which is why he had very few shirts. He had a very large heart as well. He just didn't wear it on his sleeve -- because again -- not a lot of shirts.
I was also my parent's only girl, born late-ish in their lives (mid-forties), so there was a generational gap between us. These factors played into a kind of uncomfortable distance relationally between he and I. I knew he loved me, but for instance, if I came downstairs ready for the prom, his reaction was usually --"yeah." It was like the grunt of approval. But I got it, and it was okay. But there was another part of me that I guess really wanted some input. I had a teacher/basketball coach in 7th grade that was a mentor and support. I think he picked up on some of the turbulence going on for me at home, through some of the things I said in class and on the court.
My mom, God rest her soul, was an alcoholic. And my eldest brother, also now deceased, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and was also an alcoholic. This made for continual drama in the house; not the kind that is solely dramatic, but the kind that is driven by crises. Without going into any of the specific stories, my home life was punctuated by episodes of things that required calling the police.
I became extremely independent, and carried on with my life. I was loved, financially supported, but in some ways, not raised or guided. I figured out a lot of stuff myself, mainly by blundering through. That feeling of being rejected and abandoned, was intensified when my father passed away when I was 18, and my mother, when I was 23. In one sense, I was used to going it alone, and in another, was trying to create that family I craved. I had had an abortion at 18, was married and divorced, with my first child in tow, by the time I was 23.
At this point, I considered myself a Christian. I had prayed the prayer, given my life to Christ, knew, in part, right from wrong. But I lacked something. Partly, a human base of support, but in hindsight, I lacked the power to carry out the Christian life. More about that later.
I didn't have the strength or foundation to find my way alone. I did work, but we lived in extreme poverty. The only reason we had a roof over our heads was the kindness of some good friends, and later, a landlord that did not throw us out for late or non-existent rent.
My points in sharing these things are a few:
1. There is truth in generational sin. When parents have certain issues, for instance, alcoholism, that go unaddressed, the children receive the consequences. If there is coldness or distance, the children develop ways to fill the void, or deficiencies in forming healthy relationships. This can seem obvious, but things such as this can be passed down until someone breaks the pattern.
2. I was truly unconscious of how I was striving to make up for what I lacked. I remember telling someone along the way that I was definitely NOT that girl that sought male attention because of a lack of fatherly affection. Ugh, I did not want to be part of the predictable statistics. But that I was, in that way and others. I often deeply felt I was in the wrong life, and was even told that by the occasional teacher or employer.
Finally, while mired in a destructive marriage that lasted 13 years, I began to fall into a depression. I didn't realize that yet, though there were others that recognized it. When the marriage came to it's end, I had been so indoctrinated by the anger and control problems (the unaddressed sins and wounds of my ex), that I was brought to the lowest point I had yet known. I believe I even was exposed to demonic activity. I could post about that aspect alone, but for now, suffice it to say, I was vulnerable and asea in the wake of those years. In my blindness, I grasped still, for human help and love. I made the single biggest mistake of my life (that's saying something. considering all I had already made), by allowing my kids to be split up between my ex and myself. So much evil and pain resulted as the sin and wounds spread now to my kids. I went fully into depression and had periods of being suicidal.
Here are a few pictures of me in high school.