I know a number of mental health specialist. It is rather common for someone like me who both works with those who have mental health issues in my line of work (ministry) and who deals with such things herself personally. For those of you who might be slightly less educated about this, mental illness does NOT mean someone is wacko thank you very much. It can mean anything from a temporary mild case of disrupting depression or anger issues to sever problems of schizophrenia where they are never going to be able to care for themselves alone. As for who is wacko, that usually a media or personal judgmental lable which is inappropriate and never accurate. There is also another misperception, that someone who is mentally ill must of done something to get that way. Oh really? I supposed if eggs had a thought they would chose to rot? The fact that so many with mental illness desire to die, not because they want to be dead, but because they want to leave the pain, should be a clue. The human being prerogative is to above all things, survive. When that is disrupted, something is seriously wrong. So what can cause such a disruption? Frankly I think there are primarily three major causes. I do not speak from a Ph. D. just from personal experience and observation.
Environmental Factors (Abuse being the primary one)
Physical exposures to certain viral infections (which then infect the brain)
Family Genes / History (Hard to separate the two sometimes).
Did you know that showing your Son photos of naked ladies (the Pornographic kind) before he is 18 is considered sexual abuse? Yep it is. [A parent who exposes a child to intercourse or deviant sexual behaviors or pornographic materials is abusing that child. New York State law now clarifies that such abuse is a crime.] Exceptions would be, unless he brought it to YOU to ask questions. Bringing him in to look at your stash however, is big no no. If this was a tradition that your Father did with you to discuss the birds and the bees, you are then combining a family history with environmental factors. A tradition that is actually abusive. On the surface it might seem harmless and male bonding. One can do the same thing at a museum too with out going pornographic and exposing him to degrading images. Things that could trigger problems down the road. Such actions might also signal a sign of deeper issues in the family one might not even be aware of, just the simple fact there is pornographic material in the house signals that.
I want to go a bit deeper here than simple pornography. What about sexual abuse that happens before the child is the age of 5? It does not matter if there was no physical contact, if it only happened once, or if the person who had it happened to them understood it was not their fault and figures they have moved on. The impact, dang nab it, is still life long and disruptive for life. I was raped repeatedly starting at age 4. Now at that age, due to my undiscovered deafness and delayed speech, I was unable to tell anyone anything. I literally had no vocabulary to say anything. I do however remember having a torn pee pee, and Mom rushingly bathing me one time and being angry about it. (I was 5 at that particular memory). Growing up I kept wondering if I was a virgin or not. Oh I did so want to be and yes as I learned more English a lot of the memories I had of my early years did get packed away. Interestedly though, I keep the ability to think without words fresh. I found it stimulating as an artist and writer to do so. It was another language for me and gave me insights for my creative self. Much talk or dismissal has been mention about such repressive and recovered memories. Just how validated are they?
For me, the validation is ironically in my own mental illnesses, my disruptive habits, and unhealthy body. All footprints left that festered from decades ago on a very young mind-body. If there is an interest, I will write more about this.