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Growing Up Economically Privileged Didn't Stop My Depression or Schizophrenia

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I didn’t grow up in a big house. In fact, I grew up on the side of town that was considered a poorer area. I learned why later on in life, though, growing up on that side of town didn’t phase me too much in terms of what I was able to acquire. I grew up economically privileged. I suspect you guessed this was coming. I’m hoping to shed some insight on this, though, from the perspective of someone who has had material items given to them at the drop of a hat, plus more.

My hometown is considered a wealthy town, in general. In its heyday, it was considered the No. 1 place to live in America. I forget what year that was, but it is now 2020, and it is no longer the No. 1 place to live, at least it’s not at the top anymore. In the 90s, my hometown had a major drug problem among teenagers. I believe it was a cocaine problem. Cocaine is expensive. It is apparently the “rich man’s drug.” My hometown made national news because of the widespread issue. Even on the poorest side of this town, it was still a pretty wealthy town. It still stands as one today.

I was raised in a rather small house. It was very modest. During the holidays, the oldies would be played on the radio, per my parents’ preference. Sometimes it was very classy music that was played. It didn’t matter if it was Christmas, the Fourth of July, someone’s birthday, or even Labor Day; my sister and I always got lots of gifts for holidays. Sometimes we received gifts for random unofficial holidays, just for the fun of it, and sometimes we received gifts just because. I grew to expect it. I grew to expect asking for what I wanted, even a large purchase and getting it out of the blue.

I was a very depressed child. I was in and out of hospitals since I was 13-years-old for depression, suicidality and eventually schizophrenia. My mother didn’t pay a lot of attention to me as a young child and teenager. I begged for her attention at times only to be turned away. I would get some quality time here and there, but that wasn’t enough for me, not for a growing child.

We would regularly go to high-end stores where, in boredom, I’d have to watch my mother shop. I wasn’t too into shopping at that time. My mother loved Nieman Marcus, Ralph Lauren straight from the official store, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, etc. I hope you get the picture.

Our yearly trips were to Tahoe and California on a regular basis.

That’s the story of my economic privilege; a brief glimpse. I’ve received everything I’ve ever wanted. I have everything I’ve ever wanted — high-end cars, designer clothes, seeing my parents buy multiple houses, to even vacationing wherever we wanted to. Yes, I was happy but temporarily; it never lasted. After all these years, and having everything I’ve ever wanted in life, I still wasn’t super happy. When I was a kid, all I wanted was for my parents to spend time with me. My father worked three jobs at one point. I spent time with my father on the weekends. My mom had her own business, too. I was a latchkey kid, coming home to an empty house, after a school day of bullying. Any attempts to spend time with my family were thwarted by them being “busy.” I’m sure they were sometimes, but what about their children? Did they forget they had children?

I suffer from depression. I say “suffer” because its not something I have personally found a viable treatment for, amongst my many other diagnoses. So, that factors into things a lot. Although, having all this stuff doesn’t make me happy. Does this computer show me love and decide to actively spend time with me? Does this Xbox carve out time to help me with college homework? None of that.

The real lack in my life is my lack of friends. I don’t have many at all. In fact, I have a few online friends, and that’s about it. Give or take a few people (besides my fiancé) who talk to me every once and a while, but we don’t hang out whatsoever, despite me trying to accomplish that goal. These things don’t give me satisfaction as a real person can.

I remember telling my mother, “I don’t want your money. I just want your time.” Which has been given by my father, but not anyone else, really. What kills me more than anything is being in this world alone. What is a cool-looking car going to do for me? Or even the biggest house?

That stuff is not what I want. I never wanted that to begin with.

Photo by Kate Skumen on Unsplash

Originally published: September 19, 2020
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