Parenting While Depressed

Is a  harder task than I could’ve ever imagined. Coping with depression is a full time job; one that leaves very little room to deal with the day to day functions let alone the function of being responsible for the lives of other little people.

Children require much investment. Far more than just feeding and clothing them. Their mental and  emotional development are critical and just as important as their physical  development. This requires having an attention span larger than a gnat. For those of you who grapple with depression, you know that it goes without saying that focus often times feels impossible.

When it comes to my own child rearing I mostly feel an incredible amount of guilt. I am exhausted and being  pregnant exacerbates that. Not currently being medicated makes a huge impact because I am tapping into an energy reserve I simply do not have. After an intense conversation with my daughter last night about her own struggles with puberty and depression and what sounds an awful lot like depression; I realize that I am not as attentive as I want to be.

My son has  behavioral issues that require constant redirection. In moments that I should feel an immense amount of compassion and patience; I feel more annoyed and frustrated. I watch my kids grow and wonder just how much of an adverse affect my depression will have on their growth. On the upside, my children have been educated on depression since a few years ago when I had to be hospitalized. It was important to me that the dialogue occurred so they understood that my absence was not their fault.

This open line of communication has allowed for the topic of mental  health not to be taboo in our household and encouraged them to share their feelings even when they may not necessarily feel compelled to. I often feel like my kids and I are growing together, but I know that in certain situations they need me to be grown already.

I’ve set some goals to help me tackle their needs.

  • Each evening I want to ensure dinner is eaten together as a family. I believe that familial structure is key.
  • I want to give them each their own  individual time to share their days with me as the life of a 7 year old and a preteen are vastly different.
  • Hug and kiss them even when I’m tired. It’s probably the simplest but most important sign of affection I can show and the most effective. I am generally not the most affectionate person; but it’s a personal sacrifice I’m willing to make for them.
  • Lastly, but certainly not the least, I want to take each day as it comes. This is the most important mantra for a depressed person. Each day is it’s own accomplishment.

 

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