If you are presently living with depression, you know how physically and emotionally exhausting it can be. There are days when you don’t want to get out of bed, shower, eat, go to work, or do much of anything. You try to look on the bright side, but it’s not long before you find yourself feeling sad, worthless, or hopeless. While this can be difficult for anyone to get pass, when you’re responsible for the happiness and well-being of others, this daily inner struggle becomes ten times harder.
Ways to Cope with Parent Depression
If you don’t get out of bed, the kids don’t eat, can’t get to school, and don’t get to interact with mom or dad as they’re used to. When you’re feeling down these emotions are transferred to your children causing them to feel down too. Your need for isolation and disinterest in things you once enjoyed can result in them feeling to blame, rejected, or abandoned by you.
No parent wants their children to be impacted in this way. Yet, when you’re struggling with a mental illness as complex as depression, there’s a chance of that happening. Essentially, the only way to get yourself and your children through this trying time in your life is to develop a plan using suggestions such as those provided below:
Talk to Your Children
Though talking to your children about your condition may not have been what you planned, keeping it from them can do more harm than good. Children are very intuitive and can pick up on emotions and changed behaviors quite easily. The only problem is, they tend to quickly blame themselves for why mom or dad is feeling or acting this way.
To prevent your children from feeling bad about themselves or feeling incapable of being able to cheer you up, it is ideal that you have an age-appropriate conversation with them. Based on what they can comprehend, let your kids know that you’re struggling with mental illness. Talk to them about your condition, the symptoms, and how it causes you to feel or act the way you have been. Be sure to mention that it has nothing to do with them. Also, be willing to answer any questions they may have.
Whether you know it or not, mental illness is a family disease. It impacts everyone in your household from your spouse to your children. The longer you go on untreated the more of a negative impact it can have on your family. So, the best thing you can do as a parent is seek treatment for your depression. Whether that means visiting a therapist a few times a week, joining a depression support group, getting antidepressants from your doctor, or considering TMS treatment near Los Angeles, the sooner you begin the process of recovering from depression, the sooner your entire family begins to heal.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Parent guilt is very real. Yet, when you are living with mental illness that guilt can multiply. You feel bad that you’re not able to be the strong force in your children’s lives. While it is natural to feel this way, harping on the negative will only intensify your depression. As hard as it may be, it is important not to beat yourself up. Gain knowledge about depression, what it does, and how it impacts your life. Knowing this can help you on those days when getting out of bed seems like too much of a chore. You’ll begin to understand that it’s not your fault, but the symptoms of your condition.
Revel in the Good Days
As you may very well know, when you have depression there are good days and bad. On days when things are good (whether it’s for a few hours or an entire day), try to make the best of it. When you’re feeling a bit more positive about life, spend time with your kids, continue your normal routines, practice self-care, make time for things you enjoy, eat a healthy diet, and even exercise. These are all things that can help to balance your emotions and keep you in a good mood for longer. It can also be the boost that your children need to feel good about themselves and hopeful about the future.
Count on Your Village
From your spouse and family members to educators and religious leaders, there are a plethora of people in your children’s lives on a regular basis that can help you as you try and overcome your depression. Don’t be so ashamed that you don’t count on them when necessary. Let them know what’s going on with you and ask for their help on days you can’t seem to manage. This provides you peace of mind in knowing that your children are still being well taken care of, it gives your children the stability they need, and it boosts the spirits of those around you as they can be instrumental in helping you when times are rough.
Dealing with depression is hard enough. When you add to this the fact that you’re responsible for the happiness and well-being of your children, it can seem unbearable. Though parenting while depressed can be a challenge, it is not impossible. As long as you’re taking the steps necessary to treat your condition and become a happy and healthy parent and utilizing the advice recommended above, both you and your children will get through this trying time much easier.
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