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


What are the Risk Factors for Childhood Depression?

I had untreated clinical depression starting from a young age. When I was finally diagnosed at age 27, I started trying to figure out why this had happened to me.

Why would a child suffer from depression? What are the factors that can combine to create depression in a young child? In many cases, one of the usual suspects is a family history of mental illness. But there was no such history on either side of my family. So I started looking for other explanations. Continue reading


Five Excuses that Might Prevent You from Getting Help for Depression

The Day Dream by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Day Dream by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

So you know you have depression, or you’re pretty sure you do, but you’re putting off doing anything about it. Procrastinating is a fairly common state of affairs for people with depression. I once put off renewing the registration for my car (before I was diagnosed with depression) and of course it expired, as they do. I ended up getting a huge ticket, about one week’s pay, because I was unlucky enough to be in front of a state cop in stop-and-go traffic. It seems really stupid now that I didn’t get it done, but I do remember the complete lack of motivation that came with my depression.

Lack of motivation is one of the ways in which depression can screw up your life, especially when it is keeping you from getting professional help for your depression. You may think you have good reasons for not getting help, but are they reasons or excuses? I don’t know if these could be considered the top five excuses, but they’re definitely the ones that I’ve heard most frequently. Continue reading


How Lincoln Survived His Depression

“No element of Lincoln’s character,” declared his colleague Henry Whitney, “was so marked, obvious and ingrained as his mysterious and profound melancholy.”

I’m not sure how many people know that Lincoln suffered from lifelong depression (it was essentially dismissed by an influential biographer in the 1940s), but those of us with depression could see it written clearly on his face.

As you can imagine, in the 1800s Lincoln’s options for treating his melancholy were very limited, and nearly as painful as the illness itself. Operating under the theory that melancholy was caused by an excess of black bile present in the body, the treatment regimen involved, among other tortures, bleeding, blistering, inducing vomiting and diarrhea, fasting, and mustard rubs and sweating followed by a cold bath. I’m guessing that the only reason this method saw any success was due to patients saying, “Yes, yes, I feel much better!” simply to get it to end. Continue reading


Study Reveals How Concussions Can Trigger Depression | TIME.com

Two new research projects – one published this month and another that is still preliminary – suggest why some professional football players, particularly those that get concussions, may be more vulnerable to developing depression.

For both studies, researchers focused on a group of 34 retired NFL players, aged 41 to 79 and living in north Texas.

via Study Reveals How Concussions Can Trigger Depression | TIME.com.