Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Daughters of Madness

I just started reading Daughters of Madness: Growing Up and Older with a Mentally Ill Mother by Susan Nathiel, which I initially heard about through the Facebook group Adult Children of Parents with Schizoaffective and Other Mood Disorders. (Another new and helpful Facebook group is Children of Parents with Mental Illness. There are probably others, but these are the two in which I participate. But I digress.)

Basically the book follows the stories of numerous women who grew up with mentally ill mothers from infancy through adulthood, guided and explained in the context of the stages of human development by the author, a psychotherapist. Just 50 pages in and there is so much that resonates with my experiences as a child, that uncanny feeling that someone does in face know exactly what you're talking about. There are also a number of stories that reinforce how fortunate I was to have a stable dad and how much worse it could have been. But already, it brings a lot back, and I am very interested to see how the book progresses.

I have done quite a bit of thinking about how my mother has affected the kind of person I am today--from being hypercritical of myself and anxious about making mistakes to being very responsible and not wanting to have kids too young b/c I want more of a break from being responsible for anybody else (along with a whole host of other unrelated reasons as to why I am not yet ready to be a parent!). But I've never thought about it in the context of the stages of human development, even though I studied that a little in college. (I was a wannabe psych major, I'll admit it.) So I'll probably write another entry when I've actually finished the book, but if you have read this book or similar books or have any thoughts on this subject, please feel free to comment!

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