There's a homeless disabled man who sits outside my local supermarket selling the Big Issue.
I am less generous these days than I used to be. Today I was with my father and as soon as he saw the man he started searching for change. They smiled at each other and the man caught my eye after my father had passed and pointed at my dad saying " Good man" I knew that he meant that my dad never passes without a smile and some change. I felt proud of him and a pang of guilt that I had let my standard from him slip.
My parents are polar opposites in terms of personality, yet mine is a product of them both.
I grew up wanting only to be like my father. Calm, quiet, kind, generous and friendly. Positive and drama free. Wonderful, easy company. He sees the best in everyone. People like him.
When I'm well, I'm fairly similar, with a bit of chaotic stress thrown in.
When I am good I am very very good...
My mother has good qualities too. She plans ahead. Organises. Budgets. Makes sure that family are taken care of and are safe. She's proactive and makes things happen. She loves to converse and can be very entertaining. I have a lot of those qualities too.
When I'm not well, my mother's negative thinking comes to the fore. Don't trust people. Look out for yourself and your own. Be judgemental and critical. Challenge and resist. Be fearful very fearful. The world is a dark and threatening place. Catasrophe around every corner.
Worry way ahead about any and everything. Expect the worst. See the worst in people. Warn people of all potential danger. Fight or flight. A victim. When in pain the whole world must know about it. Be angry. Very very angry.
...and when I am bad I am horrid.
My mother has often said that she is depressed or refers to the depression.
My father hides many of his feelings. No fuss. Nothing to worry about. He gives selflessly and doesn't say no.
Now that he's older, his vulnerability sometimes shows. He wells up when he speaks about his youth or starting out in life as a young man. There is sadness and he drowns his sorrows.
Both of them love us beyond measure and would do almost anything for us. In spite of their struggles they have grown old together and depend on each other. They achieved their outward goals and taught us how to do the same.
Emotionally they have struggled and so have we. Who doesn't? I have struggled to grow up in many ways, it's taken me a long time to feel like I've started to.
Are you like either or both of your parents?
Other than traumatic life events and biological factors, how have your parents influenced your mental health?
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