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Are you Depressed?

Part 1

mom giving finger

It was my mom’s catchphrase for a good portion of my adolescence. I heard it countless times: if I slept in on the weekend, if I zoned out watching Nickelodeon, if I was in a bad mood after a tough day, and God forbid I fell asleep on the 30 minute ride home from high school after waking up at 5 am.

I grew up being aware of my moods.  Not because I was surrounded by emotional intelligence; well, not 100% of the time anyway.  Because my belief is that my mom was terrified that she had passed her condition down to me. 


In the McDonough household, coming in hot 12 years after the 3rd kid, I was a “blessing”.  I naively didn’t learn what that meant until freshman year at Northeastern when some d-bag said “oh, you were a mistake.”

Not a question, a statement.  Who the hell did he think he was?  But, his crass delivery aside, he was right.  I was not planned.

Before I arrived on the scene, my mom had gone through a pretty significant bout of depression.  The kind serious enough that warranted her sister to come and help watch over the household and my siblings while she went away to an in-patient facility.  She took the steps necessary to get better and got better she did.  In fact, so healthy and well that she got pregnant shortly after her release. 

The hills were alive! 

They say it takes a village.  I don’t know if I needed a village but I certainly got one; 2 chiefs and 3 elder McDonough siblings.  The elders had left the village to begin their adventures away from 9 Carleton Court by the time my adolescent hormones and my mother’s pre-menopausal mood swings started flying around the house.

It was around this time that mom’s watch over my moods became vigilant.  That woman knew when I hadn’t gotten enough sleep, when I was hungry, when I had a bad day...she could call it with the accuracy of a clinically trained psychologist.  And to be honest, I resented her for it. 

“Are you depressed?” “No, moooooom.” I would groan under my breath like a bratty teenager. 

What did she know?

But she did.  I was her, reincarnated and she could see it in me.  She couldn’t bear the thought of passing “it” down to any of her children, but especially the one she had after her “funk”.  The kid that came after she had acquired so many of the tools to combat it.  Come hell or high water...Chistine Winifred wasn’t falling victim to the D-word. 

That’s a lot of pressure to take on.  But I suppose that’s what you do as a parent; wish/hope/pray that none of the things that plague you continue up the family tree.  This is a three part breakdown of my mental health journey, but I would like to pause to ask you this…

What traits would you save your children from?  What pain or hurt that you’ve endured would you spare them?  What tools would you arm them with to navigate this world?

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