How can I have a mental health difficulty if I had the perfect childhood?


It is commonly known that adversity in childhood is associated with, but not solely the cause of, the development of mental health difficulties. I’ve had many patients who wondered how it was possible to develop a mental health condition if they had experienced a good childhood.

To begin with, most of us have only experienced one childhood so whatever we have experienced, it was for us “normal”. Consequently, it is difficult to objectively appraise how our childhood has actually been. Furthermore, even though we may believe that we had a good childhood it is possible that we have perceived things in a way that affected us significantly. For instance, we may have experienced that our parents favoured and/or even liked our brother or sister more than us, even if those parents didn’t feel that way or never intended to do that. Thus it is about how we perceived what happened around us that could have affected us. This is regardless of whether that perception was accurate or not.

Childhood is a fundamental stage in shaping who we are and therefore everything that we have experienced at that time affects us in one way or another. Additionally, some of us are more sensitive than others which obviously contributes to how we experienced things. Consequently, the answer to the question of this blog, could be that we may not be fully aware about how things may have affected us as children and how those elements may have contributed to the development of our difficulties.

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