Tag Archives: depression

Depression in children

Today Rebecca, mum of 2 girls, asks about your experiences of depression within children.

I’m worried about my youngest girl who is 6. She takes a bit of a beating verbally from her elder sister who constantly knocks her and the things she does. At 9, I think she’s going through a developmental stage of competitiveness; at least her classmates seem similar.

Unfortunately I think my youngest is also going through a typical developmental stage of becoming aware of what those around her think of her. And this is really affecting her self-esteem and self-confidence. She has none at all.

Amplified by oldest’s constant calls of “You’re silly”, “That’s not how you do it” and “No, do it A Problem SharedTHIS way”, youngest’s feelings of self-worth have disappeared and she now feels unable to do anything for fear of getting it wrong, or not meeting other’s expectations.

At home we model ‘failure’ and overcoming it. We talk about how well they both combat challenges. But still, youngest always seems so blue and my gut instinct is that she’s depressed.

Does anyone have experience of depression within children? I’ve spoken to the school liaison officer but not sure where else to turn other than the GP….he’s next on my list.

Feeling low but can’t move forward

I’ve always struggled a bit with my mental health – with short bouts of depression through my university life, and then at stressful times later. It was touched upon in our homestudy but I was able to show how I had previously recognised my depressive times and sought help A Problem Sharedappropriately.

These days it’s different. Without a doubt my mental health has been affected by my children; by adoption. I’m by no means in tune with my children 100% of the time, but I am a lot of the time and I’m down when they are down. However, it doesn’t work the other way – when they are up, I’m still mentally shelving the bad stuff, and preparing myself emotionally for the next angry and anxiety filled moments.

I don’t know what to do now. I can see I’m suffering with my mental health, and I know why.
I have ‘me’ time and I enjoy it, I take pleasure from it and do not feel remotely selfish (as I thought I would). I have mindfulness apps, I try to lift my own mood, I practise yoga, I’ve tried reiki, I eat well, I’m taking anti-depressant medication and have tried speaking with the mental health nurse at my surgery. Where now?

Many thanks to the adoptive mum that wrote this post, I think many of us can identify. If you have advice, please share it below…

A Problem Called Depression

Today Sarah from The Puffin Diaries shares the problem of depression within the adoptive family…..

depression

I tweeted recently about how I was struggling with my depression again and in response a number of adopters said they were too. Although it is supportive and helpful when people tweet in response that they are feeling the same, it saddens me greatly that there are a fair number of us who struggle with this debilitating illness.

For me adoption has become a big part of my depression as I battle my feelings of inadequacy at not being able to make things better for my children.

I know my son’s recent difficulties with school have played a huge part in bringing me back to a place where each day feels like a steep uphill struggle. I find that I am increasingly irritable and one of my children particularly pushes my buttons. I find myself stepping away a little, which my ever vigilant children instantly notice. This results in them feeling less secure and the challenging behaviour increases. It’s a bit of a never ending cycle from there on in, as I start to feel even more inadequate as I know it is my own behaviour that is causing the problem.

So I have to try and take control and first I have to constantly reassure myself,

This will pass, it has before and it will again. Tomorrow you may very well feel so much better.

Then I need to concentrate on making myself better and making time to do the things that facilitate this,

Rest,

Fresh air,

Kindness to myself,

Acceptance of myself and my state of mind,

With my children, I find the activities that we find easy to do together, we read, we watch films, we sit together, we cuddle and I reassure them. They know I suffer with depression and we talk about it and I explain it to them. I hope with all my heart that this helps.

I also let my husband take the strain more, something I also struggle with because I feel inadequate when he has to do the jobs I’d normally do, but realistically I know it helps.

Amongst the tweets I shared with adopter the other day, we each offered suggestions to help each other through.  I had been hiding from social media but actually reconnecting with people gave me a big push in the right direction, so for me that’s a massive helpful tip.

So today as a problem shared we’re sharing the problem that is depression. I’m asking any of you who do suffer to comment below and share the things that help you get through. Lets all support each other.

Oh and I hope @mizzanels doesn’t mind, but she shared this song with me and it really put a smile on my face, I hope it does for you too.

#NAW13 Adopting with Depression.

As part of National Adoption Week we are sharing post from those who have overcome an obstacle in their path to adoption. Today Sarah from The Puffin Diaries tells us about adopting when you suffer from depression…

depression

One day in 2001 I sat and stared at my front door and knew, just knew that on that day it would not be possible to pass through it. To open the door and walk beyond it was not going to happen just as the ten minute walk to work, to sit behind my desk on the third floor of an office block, was not going to happen either.  What followed brought my diagnosis of depression. I’d actually been suffering a lot longer, I just hadn’t realised, trying ever so hard to conceal and ignore the very obvious indicators.

Like many things, once I knew what was wrong with me, I was depressed; I could start doing something about it. I was signed off work; I took anti-depressants and started seeing a psychotherapist.  Things didn’t change overnight but my life did changed dramatically from then on, my whole out look on life altered, it took time but eventually I did get better.

I do however believe that depression is something I always live with, it does reoccur and I always need to be managing it and caring for myself to avoid it reoccurring, something I’ve done with varying success over the years.

When my husband and I decided to apply to adopt ,four years later, I was worried sick that my mental health would be the main factor to go against us. I was sure that the stigma of mental health, thoughts that I may be weak, unstable, inconsistent and self involved, would be the shared thoughts of those making the decision on my fate. However we went ahead and attended a prep course.

We had a diverse mix of those wishing to adopt on our prep course and this immediately opened my eyes to the obstacles that many felt stood between them and adoption. Older couples, single parents, same sex couples and those with their own birth children; everyone wondering if something about them would be considered a deal breaker. The course did help very much to reassure me that we had every chance; however I also knew we needed to think more about how we were going to cope.

When I began to reflect on how I was coping with living with depression, I realised just how far I’d come since those dark first months of my diagnosis. I now exercised regularly, knowing how important that was to my wellbeing, and considered my diet and healthy eating another way of sustaining a positive mind. My psychotherapy had also brought a greater self awareness to my emotions; I now knew the physiological signs and thought patterns that may be moving me towards depression. With this knowledge I was often able to head off further deterioration.

During our assessment sharing these thoughts with our social worker further helped me to see the possible strengths these aspects of my life offered.

By knowing and understanding my own emotions, I started to see how I might be able to help a child with their own emotional instability.

Discussing living with depression was a big part of our assessment and also something I know our referees were asked to comment on, however I can completely see the necessity for this. The Social worker needed evidence that I had strategies and a support network in place, in case my depression did reoccur.

We went on to adopt a sibling group, two boys aged two and three. It would be untrue to say that parenting my children has not been affected by my depression; there are days when I have found it exceptionally tough. Now the boys are older they know that mummy suffers with depression and that sometimes this means she needs to rest to make herself feel better. I am very open with them as I see this as the best way to be, I know sometimes they don’t like how it makes me feel, but knowing there is an explanation is important. I make it very clear that it is not their fault that I feel down and always say that I hope to improve by the next day, which I often do.

In lots of ways I wish they never had to see me feeling so low and sad, however we are a family living with an illness, as many families do, and we deal with it the best way we can.

On the positive side I know that my understanding of emotions has been really useful when supporting my boys. I am very open and confident in discussing emotions and feelings, and ours is a home where saying how you’re feeling is the norm. My ten year old has an extensive understanding of his emotions and a great descriptive vocabulary for describing them, more so than a lot of grown men I know!

 I am very mindful that mental illness can be a problem for children who have been through care; it is more common in those who have had a difficult start. I think the fact that my children see me living my life with this illness, managing it  and still achieving many things, running a marathon, supporting lots of activities in our local community as well as, and most importantly, providing a loving  home for them, is also significant for their future. It’s great for them to know that people live with barriers in their lives, obstacles of many descriptions, and they can be overcome.

 If you would like to find out more about National Adoption Week please visit this Website http://nationaladoptionweek.org.uk/