Family Magazine

Why Do I Suffer From Depression?

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

ID 1006564 Why Do I Suffer From Depression?

It has taken me years to recognize that as a child (and then as a teen and then as an adult) I suffered recurring bouts of depression.

I think the thing was that I never did any of the ‘classic’ cries for help – I didn’t truant, I didn’t do drugs or alcohol, I didn’t have underage unprotected sex. Instead I did my homework, I was polite to my elders, and I went to bed on time and brushed my teeth twice a day. But inside I was often frightened, lonely and desperate. I can vividly remember walking down the street, tears streaming down my face, convinced that I was a bad person incapable of being loved. I cried myself to sleep night after night after night. My mind was a swirl of confusion and self-hatred. It was exhausting.

I don’t even know what it was I was depressed “about”. Certainly there was bullying because I liked to learn and was good at it. Also sexual harassment from the boys at school who would comment everyday about my (lack of) breasts.  But isn’t this a common occurrence? And yes, my parents’ marriage was not working and the atmosphere at home was often strained and tense. But lots of kids go through that right? Perhaps this is why it took me so long to acknowledge my depression – infact to give myself “permission” to acknowledge it.

I thought I was just being self-indulgent or a drama queen; trying to make myself more interesting than I actually was. There were kids at school who were clearly unhappy and had gone right off the rails: sneaking out of school to drink cider and smoke fags and sniff glue. But there I was, sitting in the front row, cheerfully answering questions and eagerly writing down that day’s homework. So I wasn’t depressed. How could I be? I didn’t even wear black.

I also self-harmed (still do occasionally), but didn’t recognize it as such. On the TV and in the teen magazines self-harm equated to cutting, and I didn’t do that. BECAUSE IT HURT. But I did bite the inside of my gum until I couldn’t stand it anymore, pinch my arms, pull out my hair, scratch my skin until it was red raw. But in my mind that wasn’t self-harm. It wasn’t glamorous or sexy enough. Only the cool kids with clear skin, shiny hair and lots and lots of friends self-harmed. I was just me: boring, bland me. Grange Hill has a lot to answer for.

I think my point is this: not all children will exhibit “tell-tale” signs of being unhappy or depressed. Some will carry on as usual, slowly dying inside. In retrospect I gave my parents a few glimpses into how I was really feeling, but they either didn’t recognize what they saw or chose not to recognize it.

Now as a parent I pray that I have the foresight and willingness to read between the lines of what my daughter tells/shows me. And I wish I could wrap my arms round my childhood self and offer the comfort that I so badly needed.

This inspirational post was written anonymously by a mom who is a member of my Facebook mums group. I have full permission to share her story. If you can relate to this post and would like to share your own anonymous post please contact me.

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