I recently had “the talk” with my son. No, not that talk (although I have had that discussion many times with him). I mean the talk about mental illness — and my mental illness to be exact. It went quite well actually, beyond whatever expectations I had for the encounter. He was attentive and seemed to understand what I was telling him — at least the best a 12-year-old can understand. But then again, why would it have gone any differently?
My father wrestles with depression. His depression manifests itself mostly in feelings of worthlessness, guilt and shame. And his father struggled with depression as well, though as children growing up we just thought he liked to take long walks by himself or be alone for hours tinkering in his workshop.
I will not carry on the family façade of so-called stoicism in the face of real and difficult mental challenges. I will not sit back and watch my children struggle the same way I struggled. I will shatter this link of the chain and not allow it to be perpetuated any further.