For as long as I can remember, people have been debating Nature vs. Nurture. There was a point in time where I honestly believed in a healthy combination of both, leaning more toward Nature. As time rolled on, I realized that things were not that simple.
The older I get, the more I realize that I, personally, am a product of my environment. This isn’t to say that I would never have had problems if I were say, adopted or something, but there comes a point in everyone’s life where they have to point the finger at someone else because it belongs that direction. I’ve given this a lot of thought and as my opening blog post, I will try to explain.
I grew up around people who weren’t exactly ‘normal’. My mother is manic depressive, my grandmother is Schizoaffective, my Great Uncle is Schizoaffective, and my Great Aunt has Schizophrenia. Everyone I knew except for my grandpa suffered from some sort of mental illness, yet everyone seemed to look at me like I was the key to sanity. I would be the one who soared above and beyond, conquering instead of quavering, always bending but never breaking.
As I am right now, I have Schizoaffective Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and PTSD.
Did I have a bad childhood? Not as bad as most, but the people I was surrounded with all had issues and their reactions to their own issues caused them to lash out at me when I was still developing mentally and emotionally. This isn’t to say that my family is horrible, just that they were really intense.
Based on what I dealt with (emotional/verbal/mental abuse) growing up, I was shaped into the individual I am now. Eager to please, quick to anger, quick to feel rejected, quick to feel upset, quick to everything.
My depression began early in life – seventh grade. No, even before that. I started telling school counselors as early as fifth grade that I felt like I was losing my mind because I had no proper way to articulate or express what I needed to say. I was in a volatile place. To a grade school guidance counselor, hearing a fifth grader say that they think they are insane probably seemed really silly, but I still hold that mentality and sense of shame to this day.
I began cutting in 7th grade, trying to dull the emotional pain with every flick of my razor blade. It gave me something I could control, and it served it’s purpose up until I basically went nuts at school and told half the building I was going to go home and kill myself because I was having a really shitty day.
That is when I saw my first psychiatrist, and she was a quack. My mother sat in on all of my meetings with her and basically talked for me, made me out to be some kind of undisciplined brat when I got good grades despite my home life and basically slaved away at chores most of my free time after school. So she suggested a kitchen timer. If I didn’t have a whole freaking counter full of dirty dishes clean in thirty minutes, I would get punished.
If anyone out there is a parent, I highly recommend you not do this to your kid, undisciplined or not. It is damaging and frustrating.
It seemed like at every corner, I was being held under thumb to the point I thought I would never wriggle free. In a lot of ways, I haven’t. All of those bright dreams, hopes, and aspirations were crushed with every year that ticked by. At some point, I gave up on my dreams, and when I did, I gave up on myself. I don’t think I have ever recovered because I was always treated like I would never be good enough.
Maybe not always, but most of the time.
Borderline individuals often have deeply embedded insecurities as a result of their childhoods, and I am no exception to that rule. Everyone expected for me to be this rising star, supergirl, that did everything right in life…but I just couldn’t. I doubted everything, everyone, and mostly…myself. Nothing has changed there either.
Every single time I try to do anything, I get cold feet and don’t follow through. Whether it be writing, singing, a job, or anything else…I clam up, become fearful that I will fail, and so I don’t even try. Why put myself out there if I am doomed to fail? All of this because of Nurture, of which I am a firm believer.
Nowadays, I am still surrounded by a quirky family that sometimes berate me, frustrate me, and make me feel bad about myself, but I have some great people in my life too.
I have a wonderful wifey that takes care of me. Great friends from Real Life, Karchan, and my Horror, Inc. family. The latter of which keep me motivated and helped me rekindle my love of writing, which is a dream I have decided to pursue again. I may not ever be a rock star or an actress, but I can at least create worlds and fantastical situations to help exorcise my demons, make my imagination run wild, and chase the skeletons from my closet.
Here’s to ups and downs, rights and wrongs, success and failure…and whichever paths lead me there.