And the best mothers (and people) can end up with a mental illness.
I find many people that learn they have a mental illness sitting there wondering, "Why me? What did I do to deserve this?" Probably nothing. There's a really good chance that there's nothing you could've done or could do to make it magically disappear. I know I spent a lot of time thinking about why I wasn't "normal." Why was I cursed with this when I had been trying so hard to be the best mother I could? Why was a plagued by mental illness that made it that much harder to be the mom I envisioned I would be (or wife, or daughter, or person)? You can sit there forever and never figure out what you did or didn't do (for the most part).
There has been research done that has found several "causes" to mental illness. I put causes in parentheses because that is constantly changing has more and more research is done on mental illness. The list changes over time, and becomes more detailed. Currently there are six "causes" for mental illness, and only two are something that can be changed by the choices you make.
1. Genetics - Your DNA is the map to you. No one has the same DNA, which means you come with your own set of awesomeness and your own set of crappiness. Mental illness is also a part of that code. While exact numbers have not been reported, it is proven that if a parent had a mental illness, you are more likely to develop one yourself (and you said you'd never be like them).
2. Infections - Certain infections have been linked to brain damage and the development of
mental illness or the worsening of its symptoms. For example, a condition known as
pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder (PANDA) associated with the Streptococcus
bacteria has been linked to the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental
illnesses in children.
3. Brain defects or injury - If you've had multiple concussions or other major head trauma, you are more likely to develop some mental illnesses (PTSD, OCD, depression, etc.) than those who haven't.
4. Prenatal Damage - If you had trauma while you were still in utero, you are also more likely to develop a mental illness. This can also lead to autism.
5. Substance Abuse - This can go either way. If you are using illegal drugs (or misusing prescriptions) this can cause several mental illness (bi-polar I, schizophrenia, major depression, etc.). You can also develop the same severe mental illnesses when you come off of those drugs. The withdrawal can cause mental illnesses just as easily.
6. Other - Poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and exposure to toxins (mercury, lead, etc.) can also contribute to mental illnesses.
If you have been to see a therapist, psychiatrist, or a doctor about mental illness, you know that they ask questions in all of these categories. If you are planning on going, make sure you talk to your parents (if able) about mental health in your family. Ask about any trauma as a child and in utero as well. Knowing these things can help with your recovery immensely. It gives the professional a better idea of what you are dealing with and can help you faster. Don't guess either though. If you don't know, say so. It's better to admit that then give a wrong answer which may pinpointing a plan of attack a harder and longer process.
Talking with your family is also a good step just in itself to feeling better. They love you and support you and want the best for you. Rely on them when you can.
Also remember that you are not alone. 1 in 4 Americans suffer from a mental illness. Many of them go undiagnosed, so you are already ahead of the curve!
As always, feel better soon!