After thoughtful consideration on selecting an individual to interview that best reflects maternal depression, the interviewee selected was a family cousin Marie. Marie grew up in a family home with a mother who suffers with lifelong depression. Interviewing Marie would give a more in-depth personal understanding on how having a mother with depression can have an impact on all four areas in Dr.
Bruce Perry’s novel ‘The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog”, based on attachment, resilience, PTSD, and the brain. 40% of individuals by the age of eighteen will experience at least one traumatic event such as, a death of a parent or sibling, physical abuse/neglect, sexual abuse, serious accident, a natural disaster, a victim of domestic violence, and/or a violent crime (Perry & Szalavitz, 2017). Dr. Perry (2017) also states that most of these children were unable to ‘bounce back’ from these experiences.
This paper will discuss the interview with Marie, and will focus on questions correlating to Dr. Perry’s novel pertaining to her relationship with her mother during childhood to present day, focusing on attachment – her relationship with her mother, resilience – how having a mother with depression played a part on how she is able to cope with stress and bounce back, PTSD – if she currently is/had an triggers and/or disassociation to events in her childhood, and lastly the brain – how did childhood impact her overall learning experiences both in school achievement and other relationships.
Question: How was your childhood like growing up? Was there a lot of love and affection?
Answer: Overall, I felt I had a good childhood and that my needs were met. My mother and I didn’t always get along growing up and she was not very affectionate with me however, even though at the time it was difficult for me to think that she loved me, I do know now she did the best she could and does love me. My father and I have always been pretty close, he always made me feel loved and was extremely affectionate with me growing up and playful. He reminds me of a big kid. My father did a lot with me and my brothers growing up. He would take us to the park, bring us to the store with him. He was very caring with us. My mother was also caring with us, but I felt she was a little controlling and focused a lot on our faults and discipling us. She was absent a lot from what I can remember when were not at home. Most nights I remember my father being the one to read me and my brothers a bed time story and put us to sleep.
Question: How has your childhood experiences influence your relationships now being an adult?
Answer: When I was younger, I did have difficulties making friends as I was always very shy and really only had one good childhood friend that I felt comfortable with. Once I hit high school, I began to have more friends but learned quickly that it was best to stick to my own group of only a few friends. I felt there was too much drama and fights the more friends I had. To this day I only have a few friends that I am close with to and talk to on a regular basis. I believe in quality over quantity. Now being married I have become closer with my mom. We talk on the telephone a few times a week however, I talk to my father pretty much on a daily basis. I go and see both my parents typically once a week on the weekend.
The impacts Attachment has on young children’s development discussed previously in our BCD program, and now discussed in Dr. Perry’s novel ‘The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog’, was the inspiration needed when producing questions based on the connections of attachment and maternal depression. As Dr. Perry (2017, p.92) states, caregivers during children’s early years provide a template that serves as a primary “world view” on relationships with others, this “worldview” is impacted and influenced based on having a kind, attuned caregiver vs. an inconsistent, neglectful and/or abusive caregiver. The questions given to Marie were to find how her “worldview” living with a mother with depression during childhood, has shaped her into who she is as an adult based on if she was loved, cared for, and nurtured or if she was neglected, abused and/or had inconsistent care as a child.
Question: In childhood how would you handle feeling sad or worried?
Answer: I was definitely an emotional kid. I had times I felt more sad and worried then others, sometimes it took me I would say longer than normal to feel better. I remember an incident when I fought with a friend and was worried that I would lose a friendship. I remember coming home that day from school crying, my mom asked me what was wrong but I didn’t feel comfortable talking to her as I felt she had enough of her own things going on that I didn’t want to add this to her plate, so I mostly whenever I had an issue I felt comfortable talking about it with my dad. When he saw me sad, he asked me what was wrong and then began to hug me. My dad always had a way of making me feel better and giving me the best advice. Most of the times I would take his advice. Things normally had a way of working out, the next day I went to school I listened to my dad and talked to my friend, luckily we were able to work things out and are currently still friends to this day. I remember even being at the park with my dad and falling off the handle bars spraining my ankle, he immediately carried me home and put ice on it to reduce the swelling, giving me a popsicle to have to make me feel better. Ultimately when I felt sad or worried, I went to my dad instead of my mom as he always had a way of making me feel better.
Question: How do you currently cope with stress?
Answer: I have learned over the years that whenever I am starting to feel overwhelmed and stressed in everyday life that I need to take some time for myself. I enjoy doing yoga as I feel it calms me. If work is bothering me, I will take a day or two vacation day to rest and let my mind relax so I go back to work energized and focused ready to tackle any problems. I also enjoy talking at times to my mom, dad and friends to vent and get advice.
As Dr. Perry (2017, p.38) states, “Resilient children are made not born” helped create the resiliency questions for the interview, along with Dr. Perry (2017, p,70) ideas on how having a safe and adequate caregiver will play a critical role in helping shape a child’s responses to stress. The questions asked gave an insight on if Marie was provided with the adequate tools/skills by at least one caregiver at a young age to be able cope with life stressors. Based on any tools/skills learned as child would reflect how Marie deals with current life stressors as an adult.
Question: Do you have any repeating flashbacks about your childhood or dreams?
Answer: No, I have never experienced any flash backs or dreams related to my childhood.
Question: Do you have difficulties sleeping and/or have you ever found yourself to be somewhere else in a present situation?
Answer: I do have difficulties sleeping. I find when I have more stress with work or fighting with my husband then that is when not being able to sleep can really impact me. Times of stress I do find myself more lethargic, and at times do catch myself once in a while spacing out almost daydreaming I guess·but I am able to quickly snap out of it. I do suffer from depression but I am able to control it.
According to Dr. Perry (2017, p.79) PTSD is an over aroused state where individuals can act on impulse, or aggression that is out of their own control when triggered. PTSD individuals tend to respond similarly to how they did during the traumatic incident. If the individual went into a dissociated state during the traumatic incident, they will often go back into this state when triggered. Dr. Perry (2017, p52) also states symptoms exhibited in a disassociated state are daydreaming, hyperarousal, aggression, impulsivity, defiance and/or opposition. Based on Dr. Perry’s PTSD definitions, questions were produced focusing on PTSD symptoms as well as the correlation to disassociation. Marie was to answer if she has ever experienced daydreaming, or difficulties sleeping, and if she had any flashbacks and/or dreams pertaining to her childhood particularly relating to her relationship with her mother.
Questions: How was your overall achievement in school both academically and socially?’
Answer: My overall achievement I think I did well. I did extremely well academically. I went to university where I got my degree, and as a result I am currently a counsellor working with children. I met my husband while I was getting my degree and we hit it off, and have been inseparable since. As I had mentioned, I did have friends growing up however, made sure I kept the right friends in my life. I have a small group of friends but I am happy.
Question: Are able to get along with a variety of different people’s temperaments, both in friendships and with coworkers?
Answer: Yes, I would say I can put up with a variety of different temperaments, however it doesn’t mean that all these types of temperaments I could put up with as having a friendship with. I do like most of my coworkers, and have made a couple friendships outside of work however, for the most part most of these people I put up with because I need to work with them on a daily basis. I just need to keep it professional. Other than that, I would not spend the time or day with them on a personal level. The really strong temperaments I tend to have the most difficulties with however, I am able to keep things civil and only talk to these people when needed.
Dr. Perry (2017 pg. 250) states, the brain is organized from the bottom to the top part of the brain, the cortex being the most complex giving us the ability to be able to think, the lower regions of the brain gives us the central emotional areas in our brain which allows us to make social connections and controls our stress levels, and how the core part of the brain drives the response by itself. Brian development starts from the inner part of the brain moving outwards towards the cortex as the child develops. This information from Dr. Perry inspired the brain questions as it gives an insight to how Marie’s brain from childhood experiences has shaped her overall , giving an insight on her thought processes in social and academic situations. As well, her emotional reactions and stressors when dealing with a variety of different temperaments.
There was me who is the oldest, my brother Andrew who is three years younger, and brother Anthony who is five years younger. Me and my brothers grew up being very close. I was like a second mother to them helping them learn things such as assist in changing them, making them breakfast in the morning when they were younger. When they got older, they would come to me for advice, and sometimes I just gave it to them even if they didn’t want to hear.
Due to Marie’s mother depressive state, Marie and her mother’s relationship growing up had been severely negatively impacted. Because of this, Marie and her mother did not have a close relationship during Marie’s childhood. For the ‘Day In The Life’ assignment, a character that will be created in a video, will exhibit a character with depressive symptoms. The character will lack consistency in relationships and will be in a constant sad state. The character will also lack having any caring or nurturing skills. Due to the disconnect with her mother, Marie’s father has taken on a consistent, supportive, loving, nurturing role which has allowed Marie to grow and develop in a healthy loving environment. This has allowed Marie to grow up learning tools/strategies to become resilient. Based on these findings, another character that will be created for ‘The Day In The Life’ assignment will display being a consistent, loving, nurturing provider that creates a safe and secure environment. Although Marie’s mother has depression, in the interview Marie stated hoe she also grew up also with depression but has it under control. However, the effects of her depression has caused Marie to have sleepless nights, and at times can day dream. Another character for the ‘A Day In The Life’ assignment will be a child who suffers from depression, this child not have a close relationship with her mother however, will have a close relationship with her father. Since Marie did not feel comfortable confiding in her mother during childhood as she felt she would be a burden to her mother, Marie was able to confide in her father to give her the tools/skills needed to deal with everyday stressors that help impact future relationships with others. This positive relationship did help shape Marie into the well rounded person she is today. For “The Day In The Life” assignment, I will create two different scenarios with two different outcomes (eg. A supportive father vs. a non-supportive father).
Perry, B.D. & Szalavitz, M. (2017). The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook. Philadelphia. PA.: Basic Books.
👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!
Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.get help with your assignment