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Nature/nurture

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rsilver15

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I've been feeling depressed lately. In the true, medical sense of things - I feel chemically imbalanced; fatigued, hopeless, withdrawn, with a physical feeling of heaviness, sadness, that I can't shake off. I start to cry over nothing, I constantly stifle inner dialogues that go something like "this will never get better," "it could, it will, maybe"..."no one loves you," "yes, they do.". I may be off about this - I haven't had my neurotransmitters tested lately, but I feel like this is a different kind of depression that what I feel in regards to my past experiences, trauma, etc.

It's hard to put into words, but I can tell the difference. I know I've definitely experienced both of these types of depression (brands? strains? Idk the proper terminology) at the same time, which let me tell you is all kinds of horrible, and I've experienced both separately. Thinking about this has led me down the rabbit hole of - what parts of my personality, my character, my cognitive functioning, even, have been impacted by trauma, and what parts are just the way I was wired? I realize it is impossible to tease any of that out - I will never know if I would still be anxious and depressed if I'd had a "normal" childhood, I'll never know a lot of things about who I would be without the experiences I've had, but nobody can. We are all this crazy mash-up of nature and nurture, and I feel like I tend to get hung up on one or the other. Sometimes I'll put it all on "nurture" and wax nostalgic about all the things I could have been, the person I would be (complete with natural confidence and zero trust issues) if I'd been raised in a different environment.  And then I think, maybe that has very little to do with it - maybe I am the way I am because that is how I was born, and I could have been raised in a Park Avenue mansion or in a park by Charles Manson and I'd be more or less the same. 

Most of the time, I know it is not that simple - the relationship between nature and nurture is complex and nuanced and we don't even understand how it works, really. I do know that sometimes I need to grieve for the person I 'could have been', and that feels right. And other times I need to believe that the essence of who I am, my soul, my personality, is what got me through the things that hurt me, and that I am who I am supposed to be, in spite of (and maybe even because of) what I've experienced. I'm going to try to reconcile these two sides, to stop trying to pin down if my feelings or reactions or tendencies are a reaction to past trauma or a result of my genetic makeup, and to embrace myself as a whole person. Depression, whatever the root cause, has been taking a toll on me, and I realize that I've been trying to pin down something to blame for it... Now that I've written this out, I feel like I can try to move forward into figuring out ways to help myself, instead.

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