We're still living in the Stone Age when it comes to our understanding of mental illness. If you find out that your mom needs pills to control her blood pressure, you shrug and forget about it; if you find out that your mom needs pills to keep from hearing voices in her head, you think you're living in a horror movie.
But your brain is just another part of your body, and just as you can get a cold by touching a doorknob somebody sneezed on, there are all sorts of random and innocuous things that can make it go haywire. Like ...
5 Your Birth Month
Typically, the month you're born in doesn't affect much beyond determining what major holiday will make everyone forget to send you a card. However, a recent study in the U.K. showed that your birth month can potentially do catastrophic damage to your mental well-being, and it has nothing to do with that time your friends skipped out on your birthday dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings to get drunk in a parking lot for St. Patrick's Day.
"OK, we'll be there in 20 minutes, for real this time ... 20 to 30. Better make it 30."
One study found that almost every mental illness was connected to what month you were born in -- if you were born in January, you're more likely to be schizophrenic or bipolar. But if you were born in the spring, you're far more likely to get depressed.
And the effects aren't minor -- the results of the study, which looked at every reported suicide in Great Britain over a 20-year period (about 27,000 total), found that people born in the spring were 17 percent more likely to commit suicide. The statistics were worse for women -- females born in April, May or June were 30 percent more likely to kill themselves than people born in the fall.
To be fair, people born in November, December and January get 24 percent fewer birthday gifts.
What the hell? Is it because babies born during the sunny, awesome spring months get the false idea that the world always looks like that, then six months later get bummed out by everything turning dead and brown? Because you'd think that they'd get over it after a few cycles. If there's a genetic component to it, what does that mean -- that depressed people are more fertile from August to October? That people with schizophrenia all start boning in April and May? We'd have heard something about that, wouldn't we?
The reality is that nobody is really sure what causes it. The researchers believe that it might have something to do with temperature, which can affect the way brain cells are arranged in a developing fetus. Babies are not microwave-safe, nor can they be kept in a refrigerator, but children born in the spring have experienced both extremes during their nine months in the womb. Or maybe it's that pregnant women eat different diets during the winter months, or that less time in the sun affects vitamin D levels. Or maybe it's, like, astrology or something.