Mental health issues can be passed down and you may have a predisposition to a mental illness if it runs in your family. But does that mean you should say no to love? Or pass on having a family? There are many with mental illness in their bloodlines, but are lucky enough to not have it triggered fully in themselves. Mental illness can be triggered by many events and sometimes none at all depending on the disease. Still some make a personal choice to just not have children or stay single all together.
That is a big personal choice, but it’s not your only one if mental illness runs in your family. I firmly believe as we talk more about it, it will become less taboo. For those with mental illness that suffer from it directly or indirectly, it becomes manageable. Since that is something we can handle we can try to plan better for our futures. The first step is being aware. Knowing what types of mental illness run in your family and doing some research on triggers and treatment for it. With knowledge you have power to one explain it to a potential partner and also keep an eye out for it. That takes you out of the darkness of those symptoms of depression and knowing the difference between, “I should seek help” versus “I am just sad this week.”
Knowing yourself and mental illness if you are directly suffering from it or it’s just in your family is helpful. I have some friends with depression that have chosen not to have children due to the fact of carrying the child increases higher chances of postpartum. Thus, being self-aware of their own mental state they have made that call. And then there are those that know they have mental illness in themselves and in their family but would like to date and hopefully start a family. I include myself in this group. I take the time to know the signs and express my fears of those things especially when getting deeper into a relationship with someone so that they know too. Like most with mental illness family planning is important because you don’t want a medication interacting with your unborn child.
It’s a balancing act and a personal choice. But one thing you have to remember is just because mental illness is there, doesn’t mean you or your genetic inheritances are less than anyone else’s. You deserve love and happiness and a partner who understands and wants to share life’s moments with you. Mental illness is only part of a person, there’s so much more beyond it that makes them whole and worthy. As long as you take care, keep educated and seek treatment, love shouldn’t be the thing in your life you should want to give up. Now it’s okay to maybe want to hold off or not have a child as well as just carefully planning for one. However, know the choice is yours, and with all the information on mental health and treatments out there you can make an informed decision.