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Child number 2 depressed as well - am I failing(7 Posts)
Feeling like I must be completely failing and need any advice on not making same mistakes again. My lovely 18 yo son has really struggled with depression though we only appreciated that he was depressed and not just shy and ‘teenagery’ when he hit rock bottom at 16 (suicidal thoughts and barely able to function).after a long road,CAMHS, lots of family TLC and big college changes he is in a really good place but I am still furious at myself for not realising he was getting so ill. Especially as my husband really struggles with depression as did my Dad so you’d think I would know to spot and help early!
Although my son is in a good place now my husband is in the thick of a major depression, he thinks triggered by big changes at work. However, I am in a total state of panic as my wonderful daughter who is 12 yo now is talking about just not being able to get rid of constant sadness and feeling nothing. She has really struggled with the transition to secondary school, although mature she is definitely quite an innocent little girl and I think has found it overwhelming. The school have been great, especially with friendship changes and the pressure she puts on herself needlessly (she struggles to see how great she is doing even with lots of reassurance from us and the teachers). I am absolutely terrified we are heading down the same road and want to try and protect her and prevent any depression if possible. ( we’ve gently been asking about bullying, other worries etc). I just want to wave a magic wand and help my lovely family feel better. Selfishly, I feel like I’m running on empty with a full time job and trying to be family cheerleader and horrified my sweet daughter might end up with the same black cloud as my husband and son have struggled with. Any advice appreciated.
I'm sorry I don't have any advice but it must be so overwhelming for you. With your background experience its natural to fear the worst but it may be just normal pre-teenage hormonal changes. My ds is also very shy and becomes anxious and is also negotiating Year 7 ups and downs. I think it's good that she talks to you about her feelings - her dad and brother being unwell will probably have had some impact. Keep the school on board looking out for changes. Look after and be kind to yourself too. Can you go part time for a bit to have some breathing/relaxation time?
First, have a big hug. You have a plateful of stress and worry there, I can understand you must feel absolutely beleagured with it all.
My family has a dreadful history of depression, with 4 deaths from suicide through four generations, and I felt very guilty when my DD1 developed severe depression, including two serious suicide attempts. However, like your son, we eventually found the right combination of treatment, and she is now very happy and enjoying her life, with a good partner and a career.
Your daughter may just be having the usual teenage mood swings/worries, or she may indeed be showing the early signs of depression, which can present around puberty. But she is very lucky to have you as her mum! Because you know the signs to look for, you know how to access psychiatric help, and you did a brilliant job with your son.
If you find that magic wand, please lend it to me - I wish I could have been spared the exhaustion, stress and worry, and the guilt of passing on my awful genetic depression to my DD. But here's the thing - we can't change our genes, but we can accept the hand we've been dealt, and try to manage it as best we can.
You should feel proud of how you've handled things. And if necessary, you'll handle it for your daughter too. But what you need right now is some support and comfort, and reassurance.
It might help you to have some CBT or some relaxation therapy, and a place to offload your worries a bit. Don't feel that you're alone with this, or solely responsible for keeping your daughter safe and well.
I had some counselling, and also a very good minster at church, who helped me deal with my fears through prayer.
We all need a helping hand, and we all find different coping mechanisms. Try not to fear the worst, or run "what if" scenarios in your head. Just take things a day at a time, find things to enjoy, things to relax you, and trust that things will work out okay.
You and your family will be in my prayers. God bless.
Remember it's a big dose of genetic predisposition as well as any impacts of other family illness and circumstances. No fault, no blame - you pulled together for your son and you can for your daughter, it will make you stronger. Golden rules - take your own support wherever you can get it and don't deprioritise it; take control over a healthy family routine including family meals, games activities and exercise (teens benefit from quantity family time); make sure she works on things like good sleeping patterns, having reasonable expectations of herself (not trying to do too much or avoiding everything), and interests, values and social contact with wider family and friends. Take good care and stay steady x
Ladies, thank you so much for you genuinely comforting responses! I had tried to accept the genetic hand with my gorgeous son though (I know it’s ridiculous) feel angry it might be two fold.
Your practical advice on healthy routines is great and just what I needed reminding of!
Can’t really say much else as overwhelmedby how reassured I feel from lovely mumsnetters on my first ever post. Thank you.
Realised I think I might have posted on the wrong bit of health chat forums - sorryxx
Lots of sympathy OP. My OH has Bipolar and both my kids are or have recently experienced mental health problems. It's hard not to feel responsible but it sounds like you've been a brilliant mum to your ds.
Make time to look after you.
You are not failing at all!! These things really can and do run in families so there may be some risk despite every precaution you could ever take. You could be the absolute best parent in the world and your children may still have suffered mental health episodes due to their genetics.
Try not to be frightened because many people can suffer episodes of bad mental health in their teens but go on to be fine into adulthood. You have done the very best things for your children in flagging up issues and trying to get them sorted early. You sound very supportive and compassionate and your children are lucky to have you.
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