Thursday, February 25, 2010

BCC's next question: Impact on family members

BCC's latest depression post was about depression's impact on relationships. Here's what I said over in the comments:

I feel like I'm a little late to the comments here, but as a depressed gal who worries and worries over the effect it will have on my kids and husband, I've found that being honest with them about what's going on helps.

I tell my kids that there are days that my feelings get out of control or that my mind is hurting and I need a break. They know mommy has a "feelings doctor" who helps out when "the feelings get stuck." They also know I have another doctor who is in charge of the special feelings medicine that I have to take sometimes. I hope that I am being honest with them and that my willingness to answer their questions in an age appropriate way will help them deal with my bad days a little better.

I also make a huge effort to make clear to them that it is my problem and I am responsible for it. Not them. I apologize for things that have hurt them and make honest efforts to listen when they want to complain about it. Then, if I need to, I go vent to my therapist about it.

I'm hoping that being open with them about it will not only increase their understanding but help guard them against similar troubles in their lives. I also hope I'm paving the way for them to ask for help if/when they need it.

I don't talk about what my depression does to my spouse because, well, he's a private person and might not appreciate it. And because I'm not really sure. I know the ups and downs scare him. I know they frustrate him. But, over time and through a great deal of trial and error, we are teaching each other what is and isn't helpful. There's never a clear path . . .

Depression is hard on the depressed person and on the people who surround them. But (and this a point I really had to work hard to understand) just because it's hard doesn't mean it's wrong. It just means that it's hard. And sometimes that's okay.

All right, y'all, you know this is a huge issue and you have thoughts so spill! I'm not always good at responding to comments, but I do read them and so do others. It feels good to share!

1 comment:

queensister said...

I have seen my kids rally when I'm having a bad day. My lowest moments have brought out the sensitive side of my most self-centered child. If I were always strong and in control, they wouldn't have the opportunity to step up and help carry the burden of family. Believe me, I'd rather be in control, but when they rise to the occasion, it lessens my fear that my depression will scar them for life.