Monday, 14 November 2011

Depression: What if my children have it?

I got asked to write an essay once on “All about You”. It was for my new form teacher she wanted to know a little more about us. Mine was the only one where instead of saying what my favourite things were and what I looked like I actually answered with what I thought about myself.
It wasn’t pretty reading.
I was 15 years old.
If I had such negative feelings about myself then is it any wonder that I struggle with putting a positive spin on myself now; some 30 year later?
And it has got me thinking about my boys, in particular my eldest.
He lacks confidence. He says to me, on a more regular basis than I like how useless he is and how he wishes sometimes that he was dead (I don’t react well to that particular commentary).
And I worry.
What if he grows up to have depression like me?
What can I do to prevent it?
Could I be the problem?
And what should I do?
The Boy has been dealt a mean hand: Absence Seizures and Dyslexia. It’s a cracking little combo and we took a while to work out exactly what was going on.
For both though my main aim is to get him more confident. Get him to feel good about himself. But boy is it exhausting. Sometimes I want to shake him out of it, make him know what a fabulous boy he is in an instant because then it would be brilliant for him, life would be easy and he would quite literally fly!
Instead though, I try to get him interested in things that he could be good at and bolster him like mad, much to the detriment of my youngest who has to shout for my attention from the side-lines.
I feel so utterly useless as a parent sometimes and I dread the thought that he may develop depression because of me.


The Untamed Shrew said...

I know and understand the dread you describe. I feel it every time either of mine tell me how rubbish they feel they are as people. It breaks my heart, as I know it does yours.

We love them, these miniature people. We would risk life and limb to keep them safe and well. But don't despair, it isn't time for that yet.

When I look at my family history, it's amazing any of us survive, given the great swathes of doom which depression and mental ill health cuts through the generations. And yet, somehow, here we are. And we continue to be. Most of the time fairly contentedly.

Without the lows there cannot be appreciation of the highs. If you do pass on in some way (be it genetic or situational) your depressive tendencies, please bear in mind the enormous list of people with wonderful talents which are and have been affected in similar ways. With great creativity, talent, gifts and strength there seems to be a balance. If that is the price of depression, your son will probably not mind that he has inherited it too much.

ps You're doing a GREAT job. xxxxx

Anonymous said...

I think all parents have that fear. That they are not doing/giving their best for their children.
They don't come with instruction manuals, which is a shame. Imagine if they did! Wouldn't it be much easier.

Your sons need you.
Don't be too harsh on yourself as it might further send you spiralling in the wrong direction.

And as parents, we can only do our best.


mum in meltdown said...

This worries me also as a sufferer myself. Will it get passed on to the boys or will they remember me in a certain way. My eldest (13yo) has mild traits of Aspergers so his self image is not that great and he constantly underestimates his potential. My father suffered with Bi polar and I know the affect it had on me. I don't want the same for my sons!
Very interesting post :)

Anonymous said...

Whoa, lovely lady. We mums will worry about anything and everything on a daily basis, it's our job. But it's also our job to encourage our kids whether or not they are diagnosed with any condition, however complex it may be. You are a wonderfully supportive and caring mum and even if your boy does suffer with depression one day, he will always have you standing right beside him. That in itself is something to smile about.

Take care, CJ xx

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