Both sides of my family, although wealthy beyond belief at one point, have so much mental illness that it is indeed a miracle that I am as normal as I am. My father’s family members were suspected to have had bipolar disorder. I say suspected because in the early 1900’s in India, it was difficult to diagnose or treat mental illness. He had relatives who had to be shut in rooms at certain times and they were perfectly normal at other times. Sounds like bipolar d/o. On my mother’s side, one of my grandmother’s brothers had committed suicide. I would say pretty much all my aunts and uncles from my mom’s side have some kind of mental illness. One of them has schizophrenia, another is cyclothymic. One was a savant in languages, also had epilepsy but was so innocent that ALL the shopkeepers in Pakistan knew him and loved him because they could cheat him out of oodles of money. One aunt has depressive episodes and possibly because of anoxia to the brain while being birthed, has cerebellar ataxia, an awful disease in which the cerebellum suffers mini strokes so the patient loses control of their voluntary muscles. She lives with my cousin, her nephew, along with her niece, who are amazingly loving and kind to take care of her. I mean how many nieces and nephews do you know who take care of their aunts and uncles? My other aunt, I am convinced, suffers from bipolar 2 and my mother had major depressive d/o. The only person who was normal was my Khalid Mamoon, and he, tragically, died when he was 21 years old, in a motorcycle accident. Oh the irony of it all, my grandmother had to suffer through a lot of tragedy in her life. So that about covers it all. Such a bag of mental illness genes we all are! Really quite unbelievable! We should have been studied as a family of individuals with so many mental/neurological illnesses. Amazing, I say it again, that I am as normal as I am considering my genealogy..
Incidentally, Baba Farid, our Sufi saint ancestor, well I am convinced that he suffered from bipolar disorder as well. I mean he is supposed to have hung upside down in a well for seven years with no food or water. I mean, really, who even thinks of doing that?
Anyway, he was a talented poet, and did preach love and nonviolence, can’t really argue with that.