10 Ways to Help When Your Child is Depressed

Image: Calm Morning by Frank Weston Benson

Calm Morning by Frank Weston Benson

Being a parent is rewarding, but tough. One of the hardest things to deal with is your child’s pain. If your child is depressed, you probably are scared and feel helpless. There are some ways in which you can help your child, though.

1. Recognize that clinical depression is a disease.

Internalizing this fact will help your child in two ways. One, it will hopefully keep you from blaming yourself or your child. This is no one’s fault. Second, if you think of depression as a disease instead of a choice your child is making, you won’t say anything thoughtless like, “Why don’t you just pull yourself together,” or “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”

2. Don’t freak out.

This will definitely not help your child. Clinical depression can be successfully treated more than 80% of the time. As long as your child has a good doctor and supportive parents, he or she has a very good chance of recovering. Notice that last part – while everyone with depression really needs a good doctor, supportive parents are absolutely critical for a child with depression. Continue reading

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Keeping Your Senses Alive When You’re Depressed

When you’re clinically depressed, you may lose touch with a lot of things. Your relationships, the feeling of being present in the world that most people take for granted, and even your sense of self. Losing touch with your senses is is an almost universal experience among people with depression.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can keep your senses alive. Below is a less than exhaustive list of possible ways to keep in touch with your senses, and all of them can be done from home (with a little shopping). Continue reading

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What to Do (On and Off the Web) While You’re Waiting for Your Antidepressants to Kick In

Image: Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

I’ve been there; I’ve done that. I’ve suffered from depression nearly my whole life, and wasn’t diagnosed till I was 27. I know all the stages you go through when you’re waiting those six interminable weeks for your antidepressant meds to start working. So, as my gift to you, since I know your mind might be kind of cloudy if you’re depressed right now, I’ve compiled this list of suggestions. I hope they give you some moments of relief. Just so I’m not accused of discriminating against non-depressives, you all who don’t suffer from depression can feel free to check out my suggestions too. Someone pointed out to me that it takes some people more than six weeks to feel much better. That’s definitely true. Everyone’s different, and some people could even take fewer than six weeks to feel normal again. And the newer antidepressants can take considerably less time than six weeks to be effective. This guide is divided the way it is as just a general guideline. Continue reading

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What to Do During the Middle Two Weeks You’re Waiting for Your Antidepressants to Kick In

Image: Harmony in Red (The Dessert) by Henri Matisse

Harmony in Red (The Dessert) by Henri Matisse

Chances are you’re not having quite so many devastatingly low days now. You’re functioning a little better overall, but you’re still not ready to run any marathons yet or run for public office. Don’t worry about it – this recovery takes time, and it happens so subtly you may not notice it till someone else points it out. You’re probably still not eager to spend too much time outside your home, but the cyberworld provides many diversions (you can wander around it in your pajamas, and no one will know). I’ve found that things of beauty are both soothing and refreshing at this point, so that’s where we’ll start first. Continue reading

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Recovering from Depression

Image: A Coign of Vantage by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

A Coign of Vantage by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

So you have successfully come out of your depression, either because you have received treatment, or because the depression went away on its own. How can you stack the deck against it coming back? What’s the best way to celebrate this renewal of life?

Keeping Depression Away

Your enemies are stress and illness – either of these can bring on depression, at least temporarily. Your tools for fighting both stress and illness are eating right, exercising, and stress reduction. There’s a good chance that you weren’t paying much attention to your diet or exercising properly when you were in your depression, so this is a good time to get back on track. Continue reading

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