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Depresssion/anxiety; what do you tell your children?

(34 Posts)
OrmIrian Sun 01-Nov-09 18:25:10

I've been off citalopram for about a month I suppose. I have been up and down but basically it's not good and I took a 10mg tablet this afternoon as I have admitted defeat sad Can't subject my family to any more. DD and DS#1 are pussy-footing round me and every few minutes one of them is asking if I am alright and give my a hug - which is lovely for me but not good for them.

What I am wondering is whether I should tell them what is wrong. I desperately want them to know that mummy hasn't morphed into bitch-from-hell mother and that they really haven't done anything wrong.

Or would telling them be overburdening them. Is there any possibility that they would just see it in the same way as mummy's athsma for which she takes an inhaler daily?

ReneRusso Sun 01-Nov-09 18:36:49

How old are your children? I think it's ok to mention it just as any other health problem. Sorry you are having trouble coming off citalopram; did you taper off really gradually? And do you have any support such as counselling / therapy?

undervalued Sun 01-Nov-09 18:41:20

Explain it as the chemicals in the brain? Keeping it physical rather than enotional might help. I'm sorry if that's of no help, I'm still struggling to say something to me DS(14) as he has noticed I have 'changed' too.

Fabster Sun 01-Nov-09 18:42:55

I worry so much about my kids finding out my back ground and also that that is why I have depression and that I have it in the first place.

Mine are 4, 6 and 8 and they know I take tablets but only that it helps me to look after them properly.

Depression is just the same as asthma in that it is an illness. You could just say that mummy gets poorly sometimes and that means you need to take tablets to help you.

No mention of them.

GentleOtter Sun 01-Nov-09 18:44:12

Do you have a CPN, OrmIrian? I was so grateful to mine for the gentle and informative way she told my family, including my dd with sn. It is not always easy to make sense of how you feel, let alone try to explain it.

I don't think it would overburden your dcs but would give them an insight on how you felt when you feel unwell.

As ReneRusso said, are you getting support?

bigchris Sun 01-Nov-09 18:46:52

my brother is off work with depression , his dcs have been told he's got a bad back
god only know what they think when he doesn't get out of bed in the morning sad
you sound like you are a fab mummy, really thoughtful of how your dcs feel

OrmIrian Sun 01-Nov-09 18:49:31

No, no support as such. I just went to the GP last year for menopause-related issues (I thought) and she gave me citalopram. It worked really well but I decided after a year that enough was enough. I sort of tapered them off a bit - 10mg for about 5 weeks but then took a bit of a gamble. Which didn't pay off. I haven't even been back to the GP yet.

But I have been depressed an anxious on and off so often that I almost think the meds are irrelevant. I want my DC to be able to understand.

stakethroughtheheartofgold Sun 01-Nov-09 18:51:34

hey orm, sorry it's not good for you right now. i for one don't think it's overburdening them to tell them in a matter of fact way, and i think it does reduce the risk of them feeling somehow to blame for your moods.

GentleOtter Sun 01-Nov-09 19:20:40

Sad days/ glad days book which may help them to understand.

If you can, please speak to your GP and ask if you can have advice and support from your mental health team.

ReneRusso Sun 01-Nov-09 19:30:35

I expect your DC would be relieved if you explained it to them. If you refer to it in a matter of fact way, then hopefully they will pick up on that and treat it in the same way.
Could you get some counselling through your GP? Or afford a bit of private counselling to help you through this? I know some people would consider it an indulgence, but investing in your mental health is a very good use of time and money. I came off citalopram successfully but I was seeing someone on a weekly basis at the time, which I'm sure made the difference. Get some advice from your GP about citalopram. They might switch you onto Prozac which is easier to discontinue because it has a much longer half life, so it stays in the body longer. Or maybe you could chop up the tablets into smaller pieces to taper off more gradually.

stakethroughtheheartofgold Sun 01-Nov-09 20:14:59

thanks for posting this orm - it's prompted me to say something to dd1 (6). up till now i've been blaming tiredness for my low moods, but i think it was good to tell her very clearly that it isn't her fault i'm grumpy.

MrsFarmer Sun 01-Nov-09 20:30:54

Don't know if this helps but...I've had clinical depression on and off (mostly on) since mid 1990s. Yes I am old! Decided early on to be as honest as possible with DD but tailored what I told her to her age. At first it was "feeling ill so taking tablets" until now at 10 she knows I get depression, knows that it makes me feel like I'm in a huge hole and can't get out and knows that the tablets I take generally help but sometimes don't. It means that a) she doesn't blame herself for my feelings b) knows that depression is an illness the same as physical illnesses and c) will hopefully grow up with an understanding and tolerance of something that is largely misunderstood and treated with suspicion at best by many people.
My over-riding and huge concern is that she doesn't grow up to be like me, my mother and grandmother. That scares me beyond belief.

OrmIrian Sun 01-Nov-09 20:51:26

Blimey mrsf! That bit about your mum really hit the spot with me. I was just thinking about how my mother's behaviour when I was a child was exactly like mine atm when I'm in a bad place. I strongly suspect my poor mum had depression for much of her life but without any help or support. I feel so sorry for her now. Her life was very sad in many ways without having to deal with this too.

Actually I did speak to DS#1 - I had just yelled at him again - for some reason I take it out on him more than the others and he loved his mum a great deal too much to say anything back sad. He told me he was releived - he thought it was him causing it (the guilt!).

Thanks for all your kind words btw. MN has dome so much for me recently since things have been bad.

rene - I will have to see my GP soon as I have virtually no tablets left. I will talk to him. He told me that a year was the usual period for treatment with citalopram so maybe he will want to try something different anyway.

OrmIrian Sun 01-Nov-09 20:52:06

vey glad to hear this helped stake!

MrsFarmer Sun 01-Nov-09 21:08:56

You'll get through OrmIran, MN seems like a v supportive place when needed (I'm new). Most anti-depressants work on serotonin (hope that's how it's spelt) but none of those tablets ever really worked for me. I was looking on the interwebnet one day and came across a report about a drug that had originally been used to help with stress incontinence but had the side effect of helping with depression. (no idea how they established that ) It's called Cymbalta and whilst I'm well aware that the same things don't work for everyone, it may be worth asking your GP about. It seems to be working for me AND I can leap around like a spring lamb without wetting myself grin

MrsFarmer Sun 01-Nov-09 21:59:05

did i say something wrong? If I did please tell me and apologies New, don't know the ropes yet.

OrmIrian Sun 01-Nov-09 22:04:51

No you didn't mrsf. I am v grateful for your advice smile

MrsFarmer Sun 01-Nov-09 22:12:08

Phew, that's a load off

OrmIrian Sun 01-Nov-09 22:53:17

oh shit! It's hit really hard right now. I don't know what to do. Fuck.

stakethroughtheheartofgold Sun 01-Nov-09 22:55:13

talk to us.

OrmIrian Sun 01-Nov-09 22:57:55

Cant talk. I need to go to bed. Sorry. DS#1 is here.

stakethroughtheheartofgold Sun 01-Nov-09 23:00:35

me too. will check back in the morning if it would help to talk anything over then. sleep well.

OrmIrian Mon 02-Nov-09 09:31:27

THanks stake.

Feeling OK now. Not great but OK. Last night I just got overwhelmed with a black wave - DH not here. Kids can't help.

GentleOtter Mon 02-Nov-09 09:36:13

Glad you feel a little better today. smile

Can you make an appointment to speak with your GP or a local mental health group?

OrmIrian Mon 02-Nov-09 09:41:37

I have a few days off work at the end of the week. I'll make an appointment then.

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