Depression is an often misunderstood condition.
I think lots of times, the term “depression” get’s thrown around. In this episode I want to talk about what it is, what it is not, what helps, what doesn’t and how it can affect the realm of parenting.
It’s so much more than just “being sad”.
There are many types of depression.
Having a baby, childbirth, can trigger a plethora of powerful emotions.
It can be exciting, scary, heartwarming, and even depressing. Postpartum depression is not uncommon and can leave people feeling guilty and shameful, which makes it even worse.
Lots of love and support for the mom and the baby is vital during this time.
Often the medical team will check in with the parent to see if depressive symptoms are present.
The parent child relationship is so very important. Especially important are the first 3 years of life. This is when attachment is formed. Attachment is a biggie as it really lays a blueprint in a child’s brain for other relationships. Attachment is an entirely other episode, but I bring it up here to really emphasize the importance of seeking treatment if you are a parent and you are experiencing symptoms of depression. It can affect your child’s development in a big way.
Reaching out for support from a qualified mental health professional can make a big difference in your life and the lives of those that love you.
It can allow your quality of life to improve and help you and your child or children to connect in a more meaningful way. When children see their parents suffering, it can take a toll for sure.
There are many different treatments for depression.
As a mental health counselor, I help many people with depression through therapy. It’s important to know that there are different types of therapy too.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Art Therapy, Mindfulness, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Solution Focused therapy and much more.
I prefer using the whole brain approach. Also there are other things that are great adjuncts to therapy, such as yoga, exercise, journaling, etc... The important thing is that you take action – don’t let it eat up these valuable parenting years. It’s tough and it’s hard to even get out of bed some days, and that’s where the support can come in.
Some people seek medicine to address their depression. I just read Bessel Van der Kolk’s book, The Body Keeps the Score. I love how he describes it in there. Medicine should not be the first response, and when it is used, it should be used with caution and just to make the therapeutic experience more beneficial. It can dull the emotions that are problematic, but therapy ultimately helps the person to heal from it. Some people struggle lifelong with depression.
It’s important to know that trying to convince someone of reasons why they should be happy is not helpful. It can actually make it worse.
It’s also important to mention that depressive symptoms during a time of grief and loss is considered a normative state, and is treated in a different way. Therapy can still be very helpful in these situations.