If you’re a parent who is depressed, it can be a struggle raising a child. Sometimes, you feel like no matter what you do, you’re not good enough for your child. Other times, you may not feel like you have the motivation to take care of your child. If you’ve had any hobbies, you’ve lost them.
Depression can happen shortly after birth. This is known as postpartum depression. However, some mothers, and fathers too, can feel depressed all the time, and this can hurt their child. The child may not be getting all the care they need, or the child may feel like they are to blame for the parent’s depression.
If you feel depressed, here are a few ways you can tackle it.
Sometimes, depression is triggered by something. For example, you may think of a childhood memory or hear something in the news that concerns you about your child. Other times, it’s self-defeating thoughts. Write down the circumstances surrounding your depression. What do you think triggered it? What can be done to prevent the triggering in the future? By finding ways to prevent triggers, you can feel less depressed.
As a parent, it can be hard to exercise. If you’re a mother, you may have lost the motivation after having your child. For fathers, they may feel too busy to work out. However, working out can release feel-good chemicals in your brain and can help treat depression. Go on a walk with your child. Go to a yoga club. Find a good fitness trainer. You don’t need to get fully buff, but by working out just a little, you can improve your mood.
Be Honest with Your Child
As you’re fighting your depression, your child may wonder why you’re upset or have lost all motivation. If this happens, be honest. Explain depression. If your child is younger, you can do it in a colorful way. Just stress to your child that it’s not their fault. People can get depression under any circumstance. This can help your child’s own depression, and allow them to be more mindful about their mood.
When you’re depressed, you may be overwhelmed with goals, or feel pressured to be on a routine. Don’t do everything at once! Instead, start a small goal. Maybe you want to cook a meal today instead of buying food at a restaurant. Try that. Then, work your way up!
Parental depression is often complex and doesn’t have a single cause or single way to treat it. Often, you may need to seek the care of a therapist or a counselor. A health professional can diagnose you with depression and give you medication for the symptoms. Then, you can learn coping skills and strategies to reduce your depressive episodes, along with figuring out the triggers and causes for your depression.
Parenting should be a joy, but for many, it’s not. There is no shame in being depressed. Instead, you should realize depression happens, and try to treat it as soon as possible.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.