Writing 101 – Day 8 – Expand on a Comment

One of the serendipitous discoveries I made when I started taking WordPress 101 courses in January 2015, was that my cousin Peggy Kingsbury Rice was also a new blogger. I’m almost ten years older than Peggy and she grew up in Indiana and Michigan whereas I grew up in Virginia. If I had to guess, I’d say we probably had five or six visits together throughout our lives. But even though we didn’t grow up doing things together, the fact that our fathers were brothers, gives both of us the feeling that we know each other and connect with one another – without having spent much time together.

So what a wonderful coincidence to be reunited through WordPress! It was no surprise to me that Peggy is a very good writer – she’s got the Kingsbury writing gene! But more important than being a good writer, she has the ability to write about a topic that is often hard to read about – depression – in a way that makes you want to keep reading.

You really should check out her blog Gray Clouds, Clear Skies.

It is no surprise that the troubles that plagued our grandmother Kitty (depression, probably bipolar disorder and alcoholism) have a genetic basis. My father was truly his mother’s son and when I read my grandfather’s accounts of Kitty’s behavior when she was drinking heavily, it truly breaks my heart for my father and my uncle Deane who is Peggy’s father. And it is very difficult for me to read because I see that so much of what I experienced with my father, was straight from his own experiences with his mother. With one significant exception – my father was a loving person and I never doubted that he loved me. From everything I’ve read about my father’s childhood from my grandfather’s letters, I don’t think my father felt loved by his mother. So heartbreaking, and perhaps a reason why his life turned out the way it did.

So there you have post that is derived from expanding my comment on my cousin Peggy’s post which dealt with her current difficulties in getting the right combination of drugs to treat her depression.

Peggy –
You are so brave for sharing all of this and I am sure it will help so many people. My heart aches for you and what it must be like. I can’t help but think about our grandmother and what her life was like (and consequently our fathers’ lives) before the brain chemistry issue [of depression] was understood.
It is fascinating to consider, unless you’re the one suffering through it. Here’s hoping you’ll find the right combination SOON!

And here is Peggy’s response:

I think of Kitty often, and wonder how things could have been different, for her and our dads. This brain chemistry information has really gained research ground in recent years. As more and more is learned about the brain itself. As therapy techniques expand, as people share their stories. It really is fascinating, except for maybe here in the middle of it!

It was my interest in family history that sparked my interest in blogging. When I’m not taking Blogging U courses, genealogy and family history are the primary topics of my posts. I started blogging to showcase my genealogy research, but through blogging, I’ve learned more about my family – both past and present by reconnecting with a cousin and learning that the mental health issues that plagued our grandmother have been passed on to us by the genes we got from our fathers and most likely beyond.

Do I worry that depression, alcoholism and other mental health issues will affect my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren – you bet I do! Can I do anything about it? Just be open and honest about our family history and encourage those I love to be mindful of our genetic predisposition and get help when they need it.

And remind everyone who suffers from depression, as my cousin Peggy has so eloquently stated in her tag-line: “I am not my depression!” and neither are you!


3 thoughts on “Writing 101 – Day 8 – Expand on a Comment

  1. Wow. That’s just one of the wonders of this blogosphere. I am happy to hear that two brave souls and great writers have been reunited. 🙂


  2. Kalen, you are my link to Writing 101,which I had left before it started. I am totally amazed at the ingenious way with which you were able to tie the assignments into your family research. Then there is this interesting content about depression, which also plagued a few of our family members along some poorly understood genetic lines. Thank you so much for sharing and praise to your cousin, who had the courage to let you publish your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a similar relationship with my cousin Stella. Her dad and mine were brothers. We understand that legacy of depression, as well as Bi Polar disorder and alcoholism. Our grandmother left (or was made to leave…we don’t know for sure), when my dad was four and uncle Dale (Stella’s dad) was still a baby. She tried to take Dale, but grandpa went after him. Dale, and consequently Stella, had a relationship with her that Dad and I did not. I saw Stella once when she was a kid and I was a teenager, but we never really got to know each other until we were both grown. Now, she lives in Tennessee an I live in Missouri, and we communicate through email and facebook. We both had so many missing pieces for things we didn’t understand, and between the two of us, we began to make whole pictures.

    Now, we just shake our heads in disbelief that anyone emotionally survived. Uncle Dale took his own life a few years ago, and my dad is the only one of the four siblings still living. We’re pretty sure Grandma had Bi Polar, as did her son Roger (Dad and Dales oldest brother), several cousins, one of Stella’s sons, one of my sons, and me.

    I applaud anyone who has the courage to stand up and talk about the things that no one wants to talk about. That’s how we open people’s eyes, and that’s how we heal!

    Liked by 1 person

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