A couple years ago, I gave a guest lecture at a community college about my struggle with mental illness. When it came time for questions from the class, someone asked me if I feared passing my mental illness onto my children. At the time, I said no, that I do not fear that.
The reason I said it wasn’t a concern to me is that I know no different. I don’t know what it’s like to psychologically “normal.” But I have changed my mind a bit. I suffer from extreme anxiety and panic attacks. Despite those psychological handicaps, I think that life is definitely worth living.
But suppose that I pass on a predisposition toward anxiety and panic to my child, and my child has more difficulty controlling it than I do. Maybe he or she would be just more panicky and anxious to make him or her regret ever having been born.
What I fear more, however, is the fact that if I were a father, I’d be one of two people (the mother being the second) responsible for bringing the child into the world. A human life is, to me and probably most other people, a very serious thing. Any amount of anxiety and panic — not to mention other negative aspects of life — would, in a way, be my fault, and I would empathize greatly with my child.