Many depressed persons are resistant to seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist. But do you know that the sooner you attain therapy and counseling, the sooner you can give yourself a chance to experience a better life? There is an excellent opportunity of getting proper medication for the depressive disorder.
Depression is too complicated to handle even for adults who primarily have their lives already figured out. Some regress from the society, ridden with shame for having the mental disorder. Others feel lured to end everything before their loved ones can move to help them. If these are the illness’ influences on grownups, how will a mere child be able to overcome it?
Unfortunately, the latter isn’t a theoretical question. The number of kids who acquire this disease keeps on increasing, to the extent that even a seven-year-old angel may already be in a depressive state. And as undiscriminating as it is, the children within a loving family aren’t entirely safe from the disorder.
“Depression is a serious medical condition that can negatively affect a child’s ability to connect with friends and family, enjoy normal daily activities, attend school and concentrate while there, and enjoy childhood.” Says Katie Hurley, LCSW.
If you detect signs of depression in your offspring, don’t let weeks pass before taking the kid to a health professional for a psychological assessment. Should the diagnosis confirm your assumption, though, avoid opting for antidepressants as much as possible. There’s no cure aimed at this illness at the time of writing this article, and the drugs have side effects anyone can live without. You may ask for a suitable therapy for your child in place of that, which doctors recommend too.
But then again, the best decision is to try to help your kid overcome depression even if the psychiatrist or licensed therapist isn’t available. Continue reading to know-how.
- Talk About Everything With Them
The #1 cause of depression in most children is their inability to voice out their thoughts, especially in front of the parents. Many don’t want to burden people with their issues, while the rest aren’t used to sharing deep emotions with family members as they probably didn’t grow up seeing that happen in their household.
Either way, as the parent, you should be the first one to open the communication lines within your brood. Don’t be afraid of asking questions about their day, the classes they attend, and other extracurricular activities. Answer the queries they throw at you too – that’s an indication that they’re becoming comfortable to chat with you.
Once you no longer have problems in that department, you may then inquire regarding the depression and the suicidal thoughts they might have. That will let you fully grasp your child’s situation and be able to help them deal with it. “Some moodiness, anxiety, and social and school difficulties are expected as kids grow up,” says psychologist Kristen Eastman, PsyD. “I call them bumps in the road.”
- Make Them Feel Safe
The mental disease can root from bullying and peer pressure too. When a kid experiences maltreatment from other students at the school, he or she can shut up like a clam. It can also occur if they are active on social media and some online users start ridiculing their photos. “Childhood psychological abuse is the most challenging and prevalent form of child abuse and neglect but also the most difficult to define. While physical and sexual abuse are obvious and easily named as such, psychological and emotional abuse can just as often be about the absence of something rather than the presence of certain behaviours or treatment,” says Krasi Kirova, registered psychologist.
To improve matters for them, focus on getting down to the bottom of their issues. If it’s indeed school-related, visit the principal’s office or have a conversation with the bullies’ parents so that they can reprimand them for their rude behavior. If it’s the people on the internet, encourage them to do physical activities instead of being online all the time. Assure them as well that what those individuals said don’t matter as long as they know their value as a person.
- Learn Coping Mechanisms Yourself
Finally, spend time on understanding depression and the ways to handle it. There are a lot of articles and books dedicated to a mental disorder; you can speak with professionals anytime too. When you’re knowledgeable about the illness, it won’t be much difficult for you to guide your child away from depression.
Becoming a new parent is both a blessing and a bane to people. The infant brings happiness to the family and makes their bond tighter than ever, yes. But having a baby to take care of for the first time can also cause anxiety to parents or, worse, depression.
If you noticed, we didn’t say that the mental disorder only affects the mothers, which is the typical occurrence. The reason is that dads can have depression as well, and that’s not unusual. Men experience a lot of stress as the head of a family; that’s why they may feel down sometimes. “New fathers also face challenges and changes in the relationship with their partner that few fully anticipate. Suddenly the need to argue, negotiate, and resolve conflicts about parenting takes center stage in their relationship.” says Chuck Schaeffer Ph.D.
However, as expected, various problems come with it.
- The Father Can’t Fulfill Fatherly Duties
When the depression is on, the person tends not want to do anything aside from moping and overthinking. The wife, therefore, will need to pick up the slack and power through the day to watch over the newborn, finish chores around the house, and perhaps get her real work done.
- You May Turn To Alcohol And Drugs
The thing about extreme sadness is it may make you think that drinking alcohol or using drugs can improve your mood. For sure, the substances can do that as they’re still in effect. Once that wears off, though, it leaves you with emptiness and the desire to abuse more chemicals, which turns you into a massive threat to your loved ones. According to Sheehan Fisher, PhD “There’s research on the concept of ‘masculine depression’ that suggests men may report and engage in externalizing behaviors, such as aggression, hypersexuality, and substance use [like with alcohol] in response to depression.”
- Shutting Out Your Spouse Or Kid Is Possible
Your affection toward the family members can’t come through because of the depressive disorder. In some instances, the patient can grow apart from his wife and children because the former may often push the latter away. Thus, an irreparable rift may develop between them.
- The Child Can Develop Behavioral Issues
A father’s love is so essential to a kid, especially when they always see their friends’ dads actively looking after their children. Several artists sang about it too and how sad it was for them not to have a reliable patriarch to guide them while growing up.
More than blues, though, the problems in a child’s behavior later in life may be the result of the depression that their biological father experiences. After all, the ideal way of looking after a kid is that everything should seem exciting so that they’ll want to try new things. If the parent shows lack of interest in their offspring’s activities and won’t even come out to play with them, it can impact the child’s way of thinking harshly.
It’s possible for the little one to act up and throw tantrums, assuming that’s how they can get the depressed dad’s attention. Other times, they may feel secluded and won’t speak to anyone. Worse, the kid may acquire depression as well, just like his or her father.
“Depression affects how fathers interact with their children. They may be more irritable, they may be more withdrawn. That might affect children’s understanding of emotions and how they learn to regulate their own emotions,” says Psychiatrist Paul Ramchandani.
Depression is as incurable as other mental diseases, but it surely is treatable. There are alternative treatments that licensed therapists can recommend particularly to patients who wish to stay away from anti-depressants. Look into them if you want to become the dad – or the husband – that your family deserves to have.
When you’re single, coming on top of your group seems to be the most important. You need to answer to no one but yourself; that’s why it’s effortless to work hard towards your objectives.
Once you marry the love of your life, though, everything changes. All the I’s turn into we’s. Your joy and pain become theirs, and vice versa. There’s nothing to worry about if you’re both mentally healthy, but if your spouse has depression, then the situation turns a whole lot challenging. “Depression varies tremendously in severity, but it has many behavioral impacts that can profoundly affect all significant relationships,” said Dr. Jay Baer, a psychiatrist.
In case it’s the first time that this dilemma hits you as a couple, don’t fret. You can help your husband/wife overcome the psychological disorder. “Many symptoms of depression can be poorly understood, particularly irritability or apathy, which partners can mistakenly label as ‘being crabby’ or ‘lazy,’” says Melissa Frey, LCSW.
Below are the things you can do.
- Interpret Unmistakably
The initial step towards healing is to broaden your mind. Considering you’re the only person your spouse talks to the most, they will inevitably do stuff that will test your patience. Some statements that come out of their mouth may hurt you as well. But the truth is, they don’t mean any of it.
More often than not, the unpleased behavior roots from the patient’s desire to shield you from the illness. Depressed folks push their loved ones away so that the latter won’t go through the extreme negativities they’re feeling. In case you want to assist your better half, therefore, believe the opposite of their adverse actions.
- Help Gently
Though there may be different techniques to offer assistance to your depressed significant other, yelling at them or belittling their condition will make matters worse. The first impression that will cross their mind after hearing you do that is, “Even my love does not understand me.” Rather than voicing out the root of the issues in front of you at that point, they may prefer to open up to a friend or stranger.
To prevent that from happening, you should tread the waters in the beginning. You can’t merely sign your husband/wife up to an assessment or therapy without their consent. Give them the opportunity instead to decide how to deal with it and offer your support in any way possible.
- Plan Smartly
In reality, depression can quiet down sometimes and enable your spouse to function normally. During these occasions, you need to speak to him or her about what you can do to cheer them up once the disorder wreaks havoc in their head again.
You may discuss triggers – that’s perfectly alright. It’s also not wrong to ask whether they’ll be willing to exercise on those gloomy days or stay indoors. Don’t be afraid to converse regarding the depression when they’re “sober” because that’s one way to help them feel better.
Other than that “You might feel like the best way to be helpful is to find the best available treatment in your area, find support groups, or talk to other people battling depression to find out what “works,” but often the best thing you can do for your partner is simply show up.” Says Katie Hurley, LCSW.
- Love Unconditionally
When your significant other experiences depression, do your best to show how much you love him or her. A lot of miracles took place with such an intense emotion at the core of everything, so you can bet that it can heal your partner too. While it may not occur at once, not giving up on this person may increase his or her chances of overcoming the mental disease.
That sums up all the things you can do if your spouse has depression. You can forget the order, but your better half’s condition – and your marriage – may improve once you follow the tips above.
Hearing parents say that they want the best for their children feels reassuring. It implies that they care for the youngsters’ future and that they will support them in any way possible. It is also a sign that they will do anything for their sons and daughters to make sure that they have an excellent life that others will envy. So, they work day and night as soon as the baby comes to the world and prepare for their future. “If you’re trying to figure out if a teen is depressed, the thing to look for is a change of behavior or mood,” says Lori Hilt, PhD.
The problem with such words starts to arise when the child goes to school. Even from their first day in kindergarten, the mom or dad may say, “You should show your classmates and teachers that you are the best. I will give you a prize if you get a lot of stamps.” In a youngster’s mind, they connect a good deed to a reward, so they may try to do what they’ve been told.
The more the kids’ grade levels move up, though, the more the parents’ expectations grow. When I was still in middle school, I had a classmate named Jason, who’s used to being on top of the class every year. He graduated from elementary school as a valedictorian, from what I heard. He managed to do the same thing during our 7th grade as well. Unfortunately, when 8th grade came, Jason lost to another classmate CJ, whose grades were not even close to his in the past. It made Jason’s parents frustrated, so they pushed him to do better by comparing him to CJ. The result was that his mind snapped at some point, and Jason got so depressed that he needed to take some time off school for treatment.
There’s no doubt about the love that you have for your children. So, if you want to prevent them from getting depression like my former classmate, you should know the following:
Celebrate Achievements, Big Or Small
The first thing that you should do is to celebrate your child’s achievements. You should do it whether they have come second in class or they have gotten a Gold medal in track and field. Both of them are great results — something that not all kids will be able to achieve. Recognizing their success will push them to work harder next time.
Stop Having High Expectations
It is not acceptable to set the bar too high for your children as well. That will be all that they will think about, after all, and forget how to be happy. If they fail, therefore, they will take the failure too hard. The result will either be depression or, worse, suicide. Kristen Roye, PsyD talks about suicide which is chilling – “For many people the initial reaction to hearing about suicide is discomfort or fear. Often time, our behavior is to automatically deny that suicide is an issue that affects us personally; or we may simply ignore it and hope the problem goes away on its own. Unfortunately, denial will not solve our problems.”
Give The Kids A Mental Break
Some overbearing parents force their kids to study in advance even during summer break to “get ahead of everyone else.” Well, don’t be like them. Allow your children’s minds to rest. School vacation is the time for playing, not studying. If you don’t do that, they may lose interest in education overall.
Parents need to set their priorities straight. The welfare of your kids should come before any success that may bring to the family. Insisting on the opposite of that may strain your relationship with them later or become the cause of their depression. I am sure that you don’t want either to happen, so kindly follow the ideas mentioned above. “The key to living with depression is ensuring you’re receiving adequate treatment for it (usually most people benefit from both psychotherapy and medication), and that you are an active participant in your treatment plan on a daily basis.” Says John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
Depression is too big of an obstacle to tackle, irrespective of how cool you think you may be. This mental health condition can naturally force you away from your goals and loved ones. It can also drain your positivity and energy. Hence, winning over it is worth celebrating at any time.
Despite being out of the depressive state for months, however, the disorder can still wound its way into your world. That is if you don’t become attentive to your surroundings and your actions.
So, in hopes of keeping hope alive in your heart and mind, be wary of the things that may push depression back in your life.
Staying under pressure for weeks on end can easily trigger a relapse for anyone with a depressive history. The stressful events may enable your brain to overproduce specific chemicals that you just need in small doses. For that reason, you may experience hormonal imbalance that can lead to another bout with depression.
When you’re seriously hurt physically, there a lot of activities you may not be able to do. That put so much burden on a person, especially if you love your independence and don’t want to rely on others. You’ll have plenty of time to overthink as well, which isn’t favorable when there’s a mental disease you wish to thwart for good. “Minor physical injuries can be managed with little to no disruption in activities of daily living (e.g. working, self-care) and rarely trigger psychological impact or emotional trauma,” says Shawna M. Freshwater, PhD.
A split with your boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, or even a long-time best friend is enough to make you extremely sad. Crying about the matter is only OK for a couple of days. Once you let yourself wallow in misery longer than that, however, it’ll be like welcoming depression with open arms.
Distance From Loved Ones
Missing your beloved family members to the point of becoming depressed isn’t impossible. It can occur, especially in case you’re a parent whose child leaves for college or work for the first time. You may feel lost as you sleep and wake up without seeing the face of your loved ones, except the pictures. “Emotional distance can develop from months or years of unresolved conflict and life stressors in your relationship. As time passes and circumstances change, it is not uncommon for couples to express dissatisfaction with the level of emotional connection that they feel with their partner,” says Dr. Melissa Estavillo, PsyD.
Bullying can push depression back in your life too. Once you stay on the receiving end of it, it’s effortless to think that everyone wants to judge you and that you have no one on your side. There may be instances as well wherein you feel too weak to go out of the house and face others’ critiques again.
Death In The Family
Grief is like a magnet for mental disorder as well. You tend to hit rock-bottom if someone close to your heart passes away, and the process to overcome it isn’t – for lack of better term – rainbows and daisies. You may get angry, in denial, and very gloomy. But that’s better than bottling up your emotions and brewing depression.
“You have to enter into a partnership with the grief. This means acknowledging that the transformative process will be hard, that you will most likely have to let even more things in your life go, but that in the end your voice will be clearer and stronger,” as reminded by Jade Wood, MA, LMFT, MHSA to the followers of her blog.
Lack Of Treatment
Assuming you’re not entirely well yet, and you stopped receiving treatment halfway, you may return to a depressive state in an instant. The mental health experts tell you to get therapy or medication for a specified period based on the severity of the depression. When you discontinue it, though, you might say hello to hopelessness soon enough.
Acknowledge every single factor that may trigger the mental illness relapse. You have to be aware of such matters so that you can prevent depression from messing up your life again.
This afternoon while I was on the train, I happened to overhear a middle-aged mother more than scold her son who’s probably around 14 or 15 based on his stature. I had to say “more than scold” because the woman smacked the teenager’s shoulder and arm while continuously loudly telling him how crazy he was to fail his Math exam in front of more or less ten people, including me.
I was pretty shocked when I saw it since her son was practically a young man already. Still, she’s treating the poor teenager as if he’s the dumbest person in the world for not getting a passing grade in Math. What I’m trying to point out here is that not every single person in this entire universe gets straight As all the time. If ever she’s one of those lucky people, apparently her son is not. Instead of soothing him, she’s bashing him, her own flesh and blood. Ugh! “The sooner I correct [my mistake], the less pain and trouble I cause myself and my loved ones. I am much quicker to forgive — myself and others,” says Christina Hibbert, PsyD.
Is It So Bad To Make A Mistake In This Lifetime?
I’m sad for that guy, and I know he’s not the only young person out there who has a perfectionist for a mother or a father, or worse, both (yikes). I get that they want their kids to come out as the best among their crowd because my parents want that for me, too. Their only difference is that my folks tell me that it’s okay to fail sometimes, provided that I know how to myself get back up. What the pushy moms and dads merely achieve is to push their kids towards the depression lane.
There are times that we hear from the news that a girl slashed her wrists until she bled to death or that a young guy jumped from the highest floor of the high school building. The reason: he or she cannot bear to see the disappointment in the parents’ faces if ever they get wind of the fact that she got B+ instead of her usual A+. Others prefer to die more than reveal that they lost a scholarship grant and see the disappointment on their parents’ faces.
It pains me to hear about such stories. Had their parents stopped pushing them into always being faultless and did not teach them that a minor dent in their grades is majorly unacceptable, they would have been alive and having fun with their loved ones by now. They would not have thought of committing suicide either.
We are teenagers, people. If the adults themselves have their slipups and downfalls now and then, surely we can too, right?
Not because I am saying that it is not wrong to make errors means to say that you are already entitled to make mistakes for the rest of your life. You’re not, and I haven’t seen or known anybody who’s been able to do such a thing. Committing a mistake or two for the same cause is excusable; however, if it goes beyond that, then you’ll give your parents no other choice but to shake your senses up a little bit. After all, it signifies that you still haven’t learned anything from your fault, so you keep on doing it again and again. “It’s so easy to get into the habit of believing that we are our mistakes, yet the truth of the matter is that we are an amalgamation of ALL that we learn in life,” says Carla Marie Manly, PhD.
A mistake is NOT something that should be made as a habit. Like we always hear from the oldies, “Once is enough, twice is too much, and thrice is dangerous.” “Remember, mistakes are a part of life. If you cruise through life avoiding risks, you’ll likely never grown in meaningful ways. Mistakes don’t halt your momentum; they help you figure out a better path” says Barbara Markway Ph.D.
Learn from it, but do not live with it.
How did you feel the moment your mental health physician confirmed that you were indeed suffering from depression?
Most likely, you knew even before you got the assessment. It’s quite impossible not to have even the tiniest idea about it because the disease makes your colorful life seem and feel gray. The activities you used to enjoy, e.g., swimming, laughing, and hanging out with friends, drop down the bottom of your priorities too.
Depression is one of the worst enemies you can find. You don’t see it, but you can undoubtedly feel its symptoms. It prevents you from seeing all the positive things that take place in your life, as well as the people who will do anything for you. It affects your cognitive function until you begin to believe that you are unloveable, hopeless, and unworthy of anyone’s respect and love.
Since we don’t condone to self-medication or self-diagnosis here, allow me to help you realize the different ways to tell whether you are depressed or not.
You Are Thinking About The Same Problem For Days Or Weeks
Have you been thinking about the same thing for a while now, as if it’s on loop? The same words or ideas merely play in your head over and over without stopping. Regardless of what you are doing, they still consume a considerable part of your mind. “Ruminating is worsened by another difficulty of the depressed and anxious brain—an inability to flexibly generate solutions,” says Margaret Wehrenberg Psy.D.
You Stay In Bed But Don’t Sleep
The second sign of depression is sleep deprivation. You may start feeling too lazy to get out of bed; you wish to stay there unless your urinary bladder is about to burst. However, sleeping may not be on your agenda. No matter how much you try to doze off, it is simply not happening because your mind does not give you a chance to rest. “Chronic sleep deprivation also affects the immune system and the cardiovascular system negatively, increasing the risk for other medical problems,” psychiatrist Dr. Nina Urban said.
You Eat Only When You Can’t Take The Hunger Anymore
Another result of overthinking is that you forget to feed yourself. Food is among the primary necessities of humans like us. We need it to survive, to be able to perform different activities. For a depressed individual, though, eating on time is not a priority at all. You might continue lying on the bed with your arms hugging your stomach, but you might not get up to get food. It can go on for a full day or two, depending on how long you can take your hunger for granted.
You Feel The Need To Lie About Your Situation In Front Of Your Loved Ones
It is also common for depressed folks to feel the need to cover up their condition. Your overthinking brain may insist that you should not tell your family about it because they might worry about you. The other part of you may push you to do so because your friends might choose to stay away from you when they get wind of it. So, when your loved ones are around, you act like there’s nothing that’s bothering you. You smile, joke around, and even make stories about the “great” things that have been happening in your life. “Everyone has sad moods, and most of us know what we do when those moods hit: call a friend, watch a sad movie and cry, eat some comfort food. However, what many people do not know is how to tell if you are moving from being sad to being in a clinical depression,” says Dr. Dara Gasior, PsyD.
If you realize that you have been doing all the things mentioned above and more, please do yourself a favor and see a psychiatrist. Depression is not like the flu or allergy that will go away on its own over time. Instead, it is comparable to cancer that will worsen if you leave it unchecked.
Get the mental help that you need as soon as possible. Good luck!
I am a survivor of depression. I was diagnosed with this mental disorder when I was 19 years old, during my final semester in college. It happened around the time I had been working non-stop to fund my thesis. In truth, that was also when I was more convinced than ever that I should drop out because my heart was not in the field I was preparing for (Chemistry). The problem was that I did not know how to tell my parents, who were extremely eager to see their firstborn wear a graduation cap, that I wanted to quit. So, without realizing it, I was sleeping less, almost not eating daily, and staying in my unlit room. “Those who have worked in counseling centers for the last decade have been consistently ringing a bell saying something is wrong, things are getting worse with regard to college student mental health,” says Ben Locke, PhD.
The more weeks passed by, the worse my depression would get. Since I could not bear for my folks to know what’s happening, though, I kept on lying to them about my condition. Every time they’d call me, I would say that I was making progress with my thesis. I stopped going to my classes as well and told different alibis to my friends. It only occurred to me to see a psychiatrist when I started hearing voices in my head. Although their words were hard to understand, I knew something was wrong. “Depression affects 1 percent of the population. More than three-quarters of these people experience visual or auditory hallucinations at some stage of the disease,” according to a psychologist, Dr. Łukasz Gawęda.
After the diagnosis, the mental health professional said that I could take antidepressants for six months. She also mentioned recommending me to a psychotherapist while getting medication as a complementary treatment. What did I do? I excused myself, paid the consultation fee, and got puzzles instead of pills or therapy sessions. I went through a total of eight puzzles — one for every time the voices would come back. Not only are they all hanging in various parts of the house now, but they have also helped me regain my self-consciousness and overcome the illness.
Why Do Self-Help Tips Work When Treating Depression?
The first reason why self-help tools work is that they are not old wives’ tales at all. Not everyone may believe it, but it is a fact that many of them are science-based. Meaning, there have been actual research conducted in the past that have proven their usefulness. For instance, studies showed that listening or playing music could increase a person’s happiness level and improve their cognitive function. Working on puzzles (like I did) could have a similar effect.
Another reason is that you know yourself better than any psychiatrist. Yes, they can pinpoint what your disorder maybe after running a few tests, but they need to make money, too. It is rare for such people to offer self-help tips to their patients right after giving a diagnosis. They may say, “You have to take these prescription drugs for faster recovery” or “You need to get therapy with this widely known therapist.” On the other hand, you are aware of what’s happening in your head, so you should know what’s best for you. This is also seconded by Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D. “The best progress happens when you apply what you’ve learned outside that setting, in your real life.”
Do not be afraid to try self-help methods before taking any pill or paying for therapy. If you put your heart and mind into it, they will work for you as much as they did for me. Then, you will not be at risk of becoming dependent on drugs and therapy.