Does anyone else feel like they are responsible for the whole world? Reading this book about Adult Children of Alcoholics (my family disease is depression not alcoholism, but the similarities in terms of effects on children are startling), I’ve come to realize something. I grew up in a family of five. I was technically the youngest, but that is laughable as I now look back. Because of my father and brother’s mental illnesses and consequent inability to show/practice any kind of emotional support, I was forced at a very young age into several “head-of-the-household” roles I should never have been cast in. I had to become a second son and husband (emotionally) to my mother, a father to my brother, a father and second brother to my sister, and a father and brother to myself. Little wonder then that still, to this day, I feel completely responsible for everyone and everything. Not surprising, also, that whenever anything goes wrong, I instinctively feel that it is entirely my fault (it is irrelevant to me as to whether or not it really is) and my responsibility to make it right. How do you unlearn a lesson like that? Once you’ve been “taught” that the rise and fall of the entire world rests on your shoulders alone, how can you ever erase that deeply ingrained belief from your psyche? As I have learned to my cost, even young children who may not appear to be grasping the true nature of their parents' emotional collapse are still, nonetheless, absorbing a lot of the psychological toxicity circulating around them. And then, when we grow up, all that poison starts to build and catalyse our own breakdown. So much for being the youngest. And no bloody wonder I have always felt like such an old soul, almost as old and weary as the world itself. Do others feel like this? I would like to hear from anyone who grew up in a family where depression was the Voldemort of our time: the monster which must not be named nor spoken of. Silence is a cunning bastard. What it protects today, it destroys tomorrow.