Childhood Depression

Children and Depression

Childhood depression like childhood anxiety is often either overlooked or over pathologized. Not all sad children resort to self-harm, most don’t. Most children get sad, work through it, and move forward. They fight with friends, lose pets, and get in trouble when it was really their siblings fault. They don’t get the grade they wanted, or the part in the school play, or they get cut from the team that they so looked forward to playing for. As they get older they go through break-ups   Their hearts break, our hearts break, and then they move on.

But for some children it’s not so easy. They want to. They understand that things aren’t terrible but it sure doesn’t feel that way. For some everyday is just a sad day. They don’t know why, it just is. For some the days are so pain filled or worse filled with numbness that they resort to cutting into their skin to feel something or something other than what they are feeling. For some they resort to alcohol or drugs just to escape a little. And for the few they get a point where life is just not worth living to them and they take their own lives. Triston had ADHD and it was so severe that if his parents forgot to give him his medicine he would throw desks just to release energy. His parents disagreed on whether or not to medicate him so when he was with mom he was medicated and when he was with dad he was not. By middle school he was experiencing depression and his parents again disagreed on the option of medicine and neither took the time to take him to counseling. He began to self medicate first with alcohol, then with marijuana, then with cocaine and eventually with heroin. I don’t know if he planned to end his life with the overdose but when I got the call on a trip to Universal that he was gone, it didn’t really seem to matter. Parents if your children say they are sad listen to them. Learn more about it. It is nothing to overlook. It is not a reason to run them to a therapist because they have a few sensitive days but if you see them withdraw make the call. If they say they can’t find joy and that they are numb make the call. If the doctor suggests medicine consider it to avoid them taking that choice into their own hands. Depression is no joke. I have seen too many to succumb to it. Pray with them, listen to them, connect them to the services they need. You can’t do it alone. They can’t either.

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