I’ve made no secret of the fact that I live with depression, I have for many years. I started to crawl out of the dark pit of despair in 2008 after 3 years of living in darkness. What I don’t talk about (partly because it’s not my story exactly) is the day in 2012 when my son came home and said “when I see a car driving down the road towards me I just want to jump in front of it so it will be over.” My experience with severe depression in children starts here, although this wasn’t the first time we had sought help for him. He suffered from teenage schizophrenia which I believe passed.
Depression in Children.
This was the first indication that he was not coping well. In other ways his behaviour had been absolutely normal. I kept calm and arranged to see our GP later that day. I can’t praise them enough. Our Drs surgery closes in a Monday afternoon as they reopen to do an evening surgery. They told us to go in during that closed period and as my son asked me to go in with him I did.
He talked with he Dr and opened up. To this day I don’t know how I remained calm. The night before he had gone to a bridge near our house that goes over a motorway. He had climbed over the railing with the intention of jumping. Thankfully he couldn’t let go. Instead he called one of his friends who came and got him and encouraged him to talk to me.
Over the next few weeks he was seen my some mental health professionals and he was given medication. He left to got to university and while I was worried about him being away and the pressure of university I couldn’t and wouldn’t have stopped him. He stopped taking the medication because he didn’t like the side effects and he didn’t register with a GP at university. Over the next few years his mental state has fluctuated and I have tried to be there when he needs me without smothering him.
I’ve always seen it as my job to be right there when they turn around and look for me, to dust them off and send them back on their way, to encourage them to move forwards and try again. Even when what I really want is to wrap them in bubble wrap so they can’t hurt themselves!!
Some of his biggest challenges (as I see it) he has also inherited from me. He expects perfection from himself. He expects at times the impossible. He has an image of what life should be and when it fails to measure up he can’t accept it. He’s overly critical of his (as he sees them) flaws, and he finds it hard to compromise. This expectation that is extremely unrealistic has dogged him throughout his childhood and at times made him very angry. What I didn’t know is that in children depression can manifest as anger and frustration.
I’m hoping that time will help him to accept that life isn’t perfect and that we as people are imperfect beings. That happiness can be fleeting but achievable, and that life doesn’t happen to any timetable but it’s own and you can’t control it.
In the mean time all I can do is reassure him that life is worth living and hope if he feels this way again he will reach out to someone, and that he never is able to let go of the rail.
This post is linked to Sex Bloggers 4 Mental Health #4 ‘Children and Mental Health’, click HERE to see more posts inspired by the topic.