How we cite our quotes:
She wasn’t about to let that get her down. She couldn’t let it get her down—that was what had happened to Momma. (1.2)
Worry doesn’t cause mental illness, but it can certainly make it worse if you have a genetic predisposition (like family history.) Lack of money can send you into a spiral of depression and anxiety, and it seems safe to say that’s what was happening to Momma.
But it wasn’t her momma’s own face she saw, it was the photograph the police in Bridgeport had shown her for identification, that faraway face lying back against a white pillow, with the golden hair cut short all around it. (1.163)
Momma’s hair may have been cut off because she was receiving electroconvulsive therapy, or shock treatment, or it could have just been because it was easier for staff to deal with. Either way, it's a haunting image.
"Some people, they’re always outsiders, wherever they are."
"So am I," Dicey told him, finally understanding what he was worrying about. (1.184-5)
It might not be such a big deal to be a weirdo if your mom wasn’t in a mental hospital, but the Tillerman kids are always aware of the possibility that it could happen to them, too. This might be why some people don’t want to know about the diseases that run in their families—it’s too easy to start interpreting everything as a sign of your impending doom.