Blue Genes Print E-mail
Written by Janelle Miles   

Hi Paul
I could have had so much a better life if it weren’t for the family curse, my parents mental illness.

Some of the stats are out there now it would seem. See article below. So we do really need the nnaami youth link program funded over Australia. We need one funded for us adults as well who have parents with the dreaded illnesses. Paul I hope the federal government will acknowledge your work and give nnaami the support and funding it deserves. We need our own organization nnaami funded, with counseling provided and available to all who request it where ever they live in our great country.

My mother suffered schizophrenia and depression stayed in bed all the time, while us kids did all the work. I would be too scared to approach a mental health agency or depression specialists to look at if I had it. I think most of the problem is there is no one to talk to who knows what it is like, no support for those who are susceptible to depression and keep on carrying the stress of supporting our parents but have not got depression yet. From the Age article below it seems like a time bomb for some, just waiting to happen. This I feel is because no one looks at prevention. When I was a young kid there was no nnaami to turn to. Please Mr Howard help these kids through nnaami so they can make a better chance at it.

I would like to make the point re the research reported in the article below and the statement about “adverse life events”. Children coping with the demanding stress of a parent with mental illness at home must suffer ‘ Adverse ’ life events all the time. They probably just get worn down as part of coping with a parents continual serious mental illness any way and then other ordinary stressful life events slammed on top as well is just the final breaking point. If the stress of coping with a parent with mental illness was addressed somehow with support services and some one to talk to who understands then perhaps us people may cope a little better. You would think there would be a flow on benefit and cost reduction effect for our taxpayers with less depression in our society as a result.

Many I feel slip into depression because there has not been a concerted effort by bureaucrats to help us. Depression seems sexy now everyone seems to have it and talk about it, but what about the kids who are left to face the mad or depressed parent infinitam every day, nothing has been provided for them.

Paul, your organization is the only one I have ever found that have any Idea of what I have been struggling with. Your nnaami, site it so good keep up the good work.

The article below was reported in the Age 27 Feb 06


Blue genes

By Janelle Miles
The Age February 27, 2006

People with the genetic predisposition have an 80 per cent chance of becoming depressed if they experience three or more negative events in five years.

Some people are genetically predisposed to developing depression when confronted with stressful life events such as a marriage breakup, Australian research suggests.

Inheriting a specific gene from both parents makes an individual more than twice as likely to become depressed as others, given similar circumstances, the study has found.

Mental health experts have been studying 127 graduates from a Sydney teachers' college for the past 25 years, with 42 per cent reporting at least one episode of major depression in that time.

They recently compared their DNA profiles with their lifetime history of major stress, such as a relationship breakdown or death of a parent, to find out whether a particular gene interacted with the environment to bring on depression.

The researchers found the influence of adverse life events on the onset of depression was significantly greater for those who inherited a short version of the serotonin transporter gene, known as 5-HTTLPR, from both parents.

"An interaction between the 5-HTTLPR and adverse life events was found to significantly predict the onset of major depression for the five years prior to depression onset," they write in the March edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Those with the genetic predisposition had an 80 per cent chance of becoming depressed if they had three or more negative events in five years.

By contrast, those with "genetic resilience" against depression only had a 30 per cent chance of developing the mental illness given similar circumstances, said geneticist Peter Schofield.

Lead researcher Kay Wilhelm, of Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital and the University of NSW, said the research validated the results of a 2003 New Zealand study which looked at a larger sample of more than 800 people between ages 21 and 26.

"That's the exciting part, that this is not just a one-off thing," said Associate Professor Wilhelm.

"We've actually replicated the New Zealand study and got virtually identical findings."

The Australian researchers found that about 21 per cent of their sample, now aged 48, had inherited the short version of the serotonin transporter gene from both parents.

They were more likely to have experienced major depression at an earlier age and to have suffered repeated episodes.

Prof Wilhelm, a key researcher at Sydney's Black Dog Institute, said they may be less efficient at stopping unwanted emotional messages.

Gene found to increase depression risk

ABC news Australia online. Wednesday, March 1, 2006 . Posted: 00:00:00 (AEDT)

The age-old question about whether depression is caused by genes or your environment has been answered: it is both.

Scientists at the University of New South Wales have found a particular gene can increase your risk of depression.

But they also say it is what happens to you during life that ultimately determines your mood.

Scientists from the University of New South Wales have followed a group of teachers for 25 years.

Those who had particular genetic changes and who suffered three traumatic life events were twice as likely to become depressed.

Gender differences did not matter.

"This is a risk gene. It's not a disease gene," Professor Philip Mitchell, from the brain sciences unit of the University of New South Wales, said.

"What it does it is increases your risk of depression if you are exposed to a series of stressful life events.

"We've found is that both nature and nurture are important."

The gene in question regulates serotonin, or the feel-good hormone, which is present in the brain.

"Some people seem to be vulnerable to certain life events and some people are like Superman - are immutable - and this study gets to the answer to a very exciting degree," Professor Gordon Parker, executive director of the Black Dog Institute, said.

Researchers say it is too early to offer a genetic test for depression.

Instead, they are working to find the best ways for those at risk to develop good coping skills.

While those in the study could find out if they had the gene, participant Peter Hamer says he did not want to know.

"I think I'm in the reasonably able to cope group," he said.

Researchers are also looking for different personality traits that might mean patients are more likely to develop depression.

The paper has been published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.


Jarvis Walker     Arlec

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Featured Articles

The 'Forgotten People'

by Anna Malbon from the Progress Press October 22, 1996

WHEN nine-year-old "Tom" was asked to draw a picture of himself with his mother be drew her trying to strangle him.

Tom entered the world of adults too early. If he was ever immune to the complications and pain of life that adults try to shelter from children, he says he can't remember.

Bulletin Board

I had to struggle extra hard

Her doctors did not bother to enquire about my father and I.

They only listened to her stories ”

“ I grew up thinking - Nobody wanted to help. Nobody wanted to know.”

Hi, I had a mentally ill mother. She passed away last year. I literally grew up hanging around mental hospitals because my Mom's condition was a cycle that always ends in a mental hospital. When I was younger, there was a long period when I cried my eyes out every time I was separated from my mentally ill mother because she had to stay in a mental hospital. After I grew older, my Mom's mental illness became impossible for me to bear.

Literally, my Mom's mental illness ruined my life. I think. I had to struggle extra hard for everything because of my big handicap at home. There was no support at all from anyone other than my father. Nobody else wanted to know about it. My mother's own cousin even said to my father not to bring my Mom to their place. I grew up thinking - Nobody wanted to help. Nobody wanted to know. My mother's own sister has been complaining since 2000 and her last complain was on 5 July 2014. This particular aunt keeps complaining about the same thing. That she had to take my Mom for her weekly injections and complained that my father and I was not around to do it. Then, she goes on to say that she saw my Mom beat me up with a cane. When she said that, I asked my Aunt, you saw my Mom beat me up with a cane? She said yes and than, she walked away.

I feel very sore with this aunt. Number one, the period she was complaining about was when I was still schooling and my father's and my mental health had deteriorated so badly that we had to leave the state for our own sanity. Before joining my father, I had to live alone with my Mom and my baby sister for almost a year. My aunt who lived a few minutes drive away did nothing when my Mom beat me up every day for months until my father managed to cut the red tape to remove me. My body was full of bruises and I was terrified to go home after school. Nobody helped. Not the neighbours who can hear all my mom's shouting at me, nor my aunt, nor my grandparents, nor my school's teachers. Someone should had intervened for a 12+ little girl. No adult helped. My father was trying his best to get me away to stay with him. Nobody helped him.

On XXXXXXXXXXXX, my Mom's sister let slip she saw my Mom beat me with a cane. And yet she did nothing! My aunt even had the cheek to say that my Mom beat me up because I said I wanted to go live with my father. The way my aunt said it was like the beatings were wholly my fault. What is wrong with the picture? You have a 12+ girl being beaten up daily, you are an aunt who knows something is going on and did nothing. Yet for years later you complain about having to take your own blood sister for her injections. And, I do not think she did it for longer than my own experiences. Probably only a few times because my father and I had to travel frequently to see to my mother. Due to the cyclic nature of her illness.

I have been going with my father when he took my mother for her weekly injections as a little girl, knee high, ever since I can remember. My own aunt is so calculative. There was a nurse that visits my Mom to give her her injections. But, the problem is my Mom will not let the nurse into her house that is why the intervention is needed. I have lost count on the number of times I had to go with my Mom for her injections as a little girl.

Her doctors did not bother to enquire about my father and I. They only listened to her stories and full stop. I think my Mom's doctors are the most heartless people I have ever met in my life. Until today, I do not like anyone who officially practices psychology because those doctors etc... contributed to my life being ruined. That is how I feel. I have been scolded by my Mom's medical team and they even dumped my Mom on me after I just turn 18 and there was no other adult around. And, they knew the situation. I was terrified because my Mom was a very violent. My Mom has pitched me, beaten me up, she has biten me with her teeth, she has smashed my head against the table and threatened to beat me with a piece of hard wood. I experienced all these as a little girl at the tender age of 12+ I had to learn karate to protect myself from her violent ways. And, when my Mom was home, I would lock my room's door and place a chair against it. I was that terrified of her.

All our belongings can go missing because my Mom is good at that sort of thing. You never know what is what with my Mom. It is like having a criminal live under the same roof as you.

My aunt kept repeating to me that on my mother's death anniversary I will have go visit her cemetery. I live in a different state from where my mother's cemetery is located. And, my aunt knows that very well. However she repeated her question to me until I said yes. I hate being forced to do something against my will because I have been forced to do things against my will my whole life.

My life is in ruins because of my mother's mental illness and people like my aunt is perpetuating the troubles for me after my mother's death. When I was 12+, my mother's mother said to me that it is my father's job to take care of my mother. In other words, my father's job and mine. And, they never lifted a finger to help. Just helping a little, my aunt has been complaining about the same thing for more than a decade. Unbelievable. Shameful.

Even though my father and I lived in a different state from my mother, we had to travel up and down every weekend because that is demanded of my mother. Sometimes, we had to travel after school and upon our arrival, she won't let us in and we had to travel all the way back. And, my father will not let me sleep at home as it is a school day, I had to go to school. My education was very important to my father. My mother could not be bothered if I succeeded or not.

I have seen more than any of my Mom's relatives have seen with regards her mental illness but people whom I just met behave like I have no idea about my Mom like they are the authority on her behaviour and her illness. Goodness gracious.

Despite this huge handicap in my life I persevered with my studies. My Mom did not give me any moral or emotional support at all. In fact her mental illness cycle will peak just or during my important exams. In other words, I had to deal with my exams and on top of them a mentally ill mother. By my final year in university, I could not take the pressure of exams and a mentally ill mother's break downs anymore.

When I was in my teenage years and early adult years, I was suicidal. I had to call Befrienders a lot. Thank God for Befrienders.

Before XXXXXXXXXXdate, I do not wish my experience to be experienced by anyone else because it is torture. However, after feeling how hard hearted my aunt is. A so called holy person, a church goer, rich person who has successful kids and grand kids. And, she can talk like it is my fault that my Mom beat me up and she (my aunt) had to take her (her own sister) for her injections when I was a kid. I really wish that my aunt must reincarnate as my father (a few lifes) so that she can eat her own words. If my aunt reincarnates and is put in my father's shoes, she would really deserve it. Hope she learns compassion through it all.

Why can't the world give children of the mentally ill a break? I am so fed up with all this troubles that stem from my mother's sister's attitude towards my father and I. After all shel lives a great lives. Rich live. What is wrong with these people? I really cannot stand them. This is my story.

After I wrote the above - I am more myself now, and I totally forgive my aunt and everybody who did nothing to help my father and I. And, everybody else who were heartless towards my father and I. However, I still think that by living a few life times as my father (my aunt) - would do her some good. But, knowing her character, she might become a psychopath and pose a threat to humanity. My father is a very, very kind soul. My aunt is a hard hearted, prejudiced, narrow minded, one tracked mind person.

How I cope? Trying my best to keep out of their way, and hang out with positive people. There are plenty of great people out there. Nnaami is included :)


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