Mental Health Assessment
Where it runs in the family
All my life I’ve been around family that’s had some form of mental health issues. As a kid, I didn’t think nothing of it. I just assumed that’s how my uncle Robert was. Before he got bad off, I would go to his room while he played guitar and I would watch him play. In my earlier years of watching him play, I thought he was really good at it. He tried to sing, but that wasn’t his thing. When he wasn’t playing, he would be chain-smoking, lying on the floor on a pallet with one leg crossing the other, flicking his big toe back and forth with his middle toe, talking to Jesus. I wouldn’t bother him when he was in that state. But I often would hear him laugh at something that was in his head. Aside from that though, he seemed like normal Uncle Robert. He was very kind hearted. Even though he was in la-la land. Mostly due to prescription medications during the 70s through the 90s.
My uncle Milton, was also a guitar player, and much better singer. He led a normal life for the most part. He was a security guard from what I remember. But, he had schizophrenia. He was very paranoid at times for no reason. He just thought people were out to get him. That was his thing. But other than that…. normal. I didn’t think anything of it. There is more to be said about Milton, but I’m not at liberty to say. I haven’t seen it for myself.
My aunt Mary, she was blind and couldn’t speak well. She stayed in a home, and occasionally we would go visit her. She loved visitors. And she loved music. She was very big and couldn’t walk, and was dependent on others to turn her record player on. Judging by how excited she would get, my guess her music time wasn’t that often, but I could be wrong. I just liked seeing her happy. She was emotional. Seeing her happy was nice.
My aunt Lois, she was very odd to me, but tried to be pleasant. She didn’t talk much unless spoken to. She was very friendly when just visiting. But sometimes I would spend the night with my cousin, and like my uncle Robert, she would talk to people who weren’t there, but angrily. No jesting, but sometimes over a cigarette, she would mumble in whispering tones and seem like she would be very upset at something. Sometimes I thought she was talking on the phone, but back then the cords were curly and would stretch ten to twenty feet, but the phone would always be on the receiver, not being used. I was most concerned for her.
My aunt Patricia was the sanest one of the women in the family of 7. 3 boys and 4 girls. Her and Lois were the baby sitters while granny either worked in the cotton fields or the cotton mill. She practically let her two oldest daughters do the raising of the children, besides Mary. Mary was signed to the state for special care. But my aunt Patricia, although very kind most of the time, she dealt with the delusion of grandeur even though she did have fancy things that she worked hard for. If anything serious, it was codependency of looking after others, as “the mother knows best” role. She would work, work, work. Definitely a hard worker. Sometimes, she would have states of depression that would last a while, and sometimes mania would boost her up. She managed it well. Probably the best self-managed case in the family.
In his big rig, my uncle Lee would just drive all the time. I hardly knew him but he was my favorite uncle. He served in the army in Vietnam. Came home after discharge and became addicted to drugs. Had met his wife, she was in the navy. He too played guitar. I loved watching him play guitar and talk and talk and talk with my mom all throughout the night, way into the morning. He had a case of PTSD that he controlled fairly well, except when his anxiety would break through. From what I learned of him, he had a mood disorder and anxiety would cause him to have a temper. And from what I have heard, he was abusive. But he wasn’t with me. I guess I idolized my uncle Lee, as a child.
Mom and the Family
My mom played the banjo and knew basic chords on the guitar and a few songs. I learned a lot from her. My granny played the harmonica. Music was in the family, except for my aunt Lois and my aunt Pat. They both loved listening to Elvis, The Beach Boys and listening to the family playing their instruments. I however, didn’t have the pleasure of hearing them all play together. Just individually. Between watching my uncles play, and occasionally my mom, I took to it. I had Roy Clark to teach me from one of his music books. I was truly fascinated in the acoustic guitar. But sometimes, my mom didn’t like my playing. She wanted to talk and talk and talk. To anyone, anywhere, anytime. She was more involved with her cigarettes and conversations. She was center of attention. Some days, she would be trapped in her bed with depression. Sometimes she would be crazy happy wanting to spend money and go thrift store shopping. Very obsessive with things in twos and threes and almost always buying brand new things and never using them. She was a big vibe person. She could read your energy like reading a name tag. Intuition? She had it big time. Once, she has a bad vibe of me getting into an accident in my cousins truck in a dream and rushed over to pick me up in the middle of the night. I was going to NOPI Nationals the next day, and needless to say, I was woke up in the middle of the night and taken home. She has many fears. And many premonitions. And ultimately, afraid of living life and enduring risk. She was afraid of bridges, especially over water. She was afraid of boats, roller coasters and being too close to big semi trucks on the road. I lived a moderately sheltered life until the age of rebellion. But she was also paranoid in both realms of people out to get her and bad things happening. She was a worry wart.
Now, all of them have passed away except my mom and my aunt Pat. My aunt Pat is struggling with her vision, and my mom can’t even remember my name most of the time. She calls me Lee almost always. My dad and I try to correct her, but she says “Ok, Glenn” as if I changed my name. What my mom had being bipolar, has now progressed into dementia/ Alzheimer’s. And as I recall every mental illness on her side of the family, I see mental health as an issue that has been passed down differently.
My sister in many ways likes to be by herself, suffers depression and is disassociated. My brother sleep walks but is otherwise normal. I have major depression and high anxiety with a touch of terrifying conversion disorder, plus mood disorder like my Uncle Lee. I can’t say what it is like on my dad’s side except for alcoholism. My dad, however, wasn’t a drunk during my upbringing. I can’t say the same for my older siblings. Although, my dad has been the sanest person I have in my family, aside from codependency making sure my mom is okay. Another extremely hard worker.
Where it applies to work
I don’t want to be labeled as disabled. But I know I can’t just work any kind of job. So I’ve chosen a path where I can help small businesses get up and running at a reasonable pace. I know I can help, and I genuinely want to. This is my constant. But, my mental health is a hurdle. I can’t just walk down the street anymore. I have collapsed several times. I’ve survived 2 concussions and suffer memory loss. But still I try to do my thing. Unfortunately, since COVID, I’ve been in a really dark place. I’m with my mom and pop instead of with my kids. That’s really not by choice, but by chance. My mom requires care, but COVID regulations are strict and visitors aren’t allowed in nursing homes. She should be there, but she needs visitors too.
Between looking at a screen and listening out for my mom that like her mother, my granny, has a hard time talking in complete sentences and remembering where she is. Unlike my mom from decades ago. My mom was a talker. She would talk your ear off. But now, she can’t formulate a full sentence that makes any sense as I mentioned before.
Here I am still struggling with life at the age of 40, with 3 baby mommas and 5 kids of my own. Granted, I didn’t want any of those relationships to end, but that’s how it went. And for the best. But that feeds my depression day in and day out, leaving me feeling like a failure and inadequate at times. However, I take this one day at a time. I continue to build my business and this site. I continue to strive away from handout, except my own hand out, striving to help others. Granted, I am just a blogger that occasionally posts content, but I am real. I put my limitations on the table and make efforts to outdo myself. Media is my life. And this how I can help make a difference.