What is it like to learn mental illness may run in your family?
Author and science journalist Victoria Costello writes first hand about her experience bringing her son to the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and having to give a detailed psychiatric history to find out what may be affecting her child.
I didn’t, couldn’t look at her. I exhaled, thinking that at least now the worst was over.
“And your paternal grandfather?” she asked.
“I’m almost sure that Grandpa Michael got hit by a train,” I said, but it was as if someone else was speaking; I felt disconnected from the words and their possible meaning. “My mother said it was an accident.”
Dr. C stopped scribbling and looked me in the eye. “Has it ever occurred to you that your grandfather’s remaining on the railroad track may have been an intentional act?”
“No, never,” I said, stunned by her question. “I mean, not until you just asked me.”
Read the rest of her poignant account: