Posts Tagged ‘family with depression and anxiety’

I am sometimes asked how it is to be in the middle of a depression. The reply is not uplifting. Because both the depressed person and the family find themselves in the middle of a crisis. And when you feel like how I am about to describe, there is nothing to do but try to firefight.

Twisted reality

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Distortion, André Kertész 1894-1985

The depressed person is in a twisted reality, where you move in absolutes. Everything is black/white and without grey areas.
I am stupid, ugly, and fat!
I am disgusting!
I am hopeless!
I am no good at anything!
I am to blame for everything bad in the world.
I ruin everything I touch: My family, my work, projects, the dishwasher, clothes etc.

You feel despondent. Everything is overwhelming, unmanageable, and is experienced to be a lost cause before you have even begun: shopping, dropping and collecting children, housework, bedtime, getting up and getting dressed. Everything is overwhelming because you don’t have the energy, the perspective or the desire to do these tasks.

All emotions at all times

All emotions are lying near the surface at all times. You go from lying apathetically on the floor to loudly sobbing and the next moment you’re being aggressive and giving your partner a verbal overhaul.
You then get a guilty conscience, blame yourself, and this amplifies the guilt and shame you already feel for merely existing. You have suicidal thoughts that are so appealing and convincing because they feel like a complete solution to existence for one’s self and one’s family – regardless of whether or not you have children.

Do you know it?

It was me back in 2003-2011…in that period, I went through 2 depressions still being able to work and being sick in my spare time. And then finally ending up having a work-stress-related depression in 2010, getting laid off and away from the working force in 3 years.

Anyway when you read above, do you know it?

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This book is for children with parents suffering of depression and anxiety, created to give children a voice on their feelings, experience and challenges when living with depressed parent/s.
The thoughts, feelings, and experience of the girl in the book is based on my own elderst daughter and her thoughts, feelings and worries during the period of depression and anxiety I suffered.
Having overcome a severe work stress related depression, I had learned so much about my disease and understood the impact it had on my children, that I was able to explain to them through drawings what was going on with mum.
These drawings gave such relief and insight to both my daughters, that I realized that the drawings could help other children in the same situation as well.
Enjoy!
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feedback, yes please

I would love to hear from you!

Did the book provide any relief for your children/family?

Please share your experience – and do share the link to the book as well.

Thanks.

The way that my family and I have experienced depression and anxiety, that it all happens all at once. The depressed person is one big chaos that the partner, workplace, children, parents and siblings all get drawn into. The chaos takes up a lot of space, and there isn’t room for anything else. The partner and children are constantly walking a fine line between hell breaking loose, or nothing happening whatsoever. They live with constant emotional stress, and don’t understand what is going on. Children especially are taken as emotional hostages.

The elder children’s experience

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For Isabella – who at that time was 10 years old – the unknowingness has been frightening. I sense that she knew something was wrong with me. That I am ill. I have often wished for spots to appear so that she could see the disease, so it was apparent. Because children only know what we tell them. Seen through their eyes, you’re completely normal, but at the same time, they sense clearly that you’re acting strange and out of sorts.

You’ve probably heard children say that the worst an adult can do is shout at them; it feels like being hit. For Isabella, my aggressive behaviour has been the most frightening aspect of the depression. Because she experienced my shouting and unfair, aggressive behaviour as something that would come out of the blue. It made her incredibly sad. She lived in constant fear of setting even one foot wrong, because then maybe mum would get really mad.

The consequence for the child

For Isabella my disease has meant, among other things, that she has become toilet-trained late, and that she has lived in a fantasy world. She has had a hard time concentrating in school and hasn’t been able to share her problems with us. The disease has also meant that Isabella is incredibly good at reading others, such as the unsaid things that pass between people. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the experience or age to handle what she observes.

In Isabella’s own words

“My mum’s illness is frightening in a strange way. It was scary when she shouted at me. I would get scared because it was like mum turning into a bear. It was strange that she would get angry so quickly. I was sad. I was always thinking about mum and about why she might be getting cross with me. I was scared that she would get angry. I would be more careful, because I was always worried that I’d do something wrong. I also felt bad that mum was feeling bad. I really liked the drawings in the book. Because they showed in a good way how I myself felt, how mum felt and how it was between mum, the Snake and me. Only then did I really understand wat was going on. Before then I didn’t understand anything.”

What have you experienced?

Do you recognize your child/children in above? Please share…