Let’s really take a minute to take that in and think about it.
Often, we come to think that the stress and symptoms we are experiencing are due to a mental illness, but that is not always that case. Sometimes these are adaptations to a toxic and unhealthy situation.
And that toxic and unhealthy situation may have actually been the environment you grew up in. When there is developmental or attachment trauma, what is toxic can seem normal and the adaptations to survive the situation start to look like symptoms.
More often than not in my work I find that these symptoms we label depression or anxiety or mood swings and even personality disorders can be traced back to an abusive, neglectful or toxic up-bringing. The child and then later the adult come to assume that those symptoms are some sort of reflection of a character defect or some sort of shortcoming on their part.
This can be very difficult to see on our own. Sometimes it takes a friend or family member, and sometimes it takes getting into therapy to figure this out.
What was learned in an unhealthy environment can be unlearned. It is not irreparable damage. These folks are not permanently damaged, but need help learning a new way of coping and living.