Well I’ve been doing a great job of ignoring everything I was supposed to do today and spent the last several hours reviving a family history project instead.
Stumbling upon an 1880 census record with some of my ancestors information was a bit of a treat, funny how at that time it seems like all of my relatives were farmers with loads of children, everyone living the 1880 hard life so I can go on living the 2011 hard life today.
Dates do give one a general sense of a life that was lived, but I can’t help but wish there was more.
Did any of these people, for example, experience bipolar symptoms? Were there days on the farm where Annie had trouble getting out of bed? Days when she milked all the cows and baked six pies in record time?
The ultimate cause of bipolar disorder is still somewhat debated. Is it caused primarily by external factors? Is it passed down through genetics? Perhaps it is a vulnerability that is passed down that requires an external factor to trigger the onset?
I’m not trying to start a debate here so don’t bother, personally I really don’t care where it comes from. The way I feel now is the way I have felt my whole life. Unlike those who were completely caught off guard by their diagnosis, I’ve always felt that something different was going on inside me.
With hundreds of ancestors though, I find it hard to believe that not one of them might have experienced life similar to the way I experience it with bipolar disorder. As I search the faces in these black and white photos what it all comes down to is speculation.