Depression in children … whose parents have depression ….

Once we have got past the party in a cellophane wrapper that Depression and Anxiety Disorder is, it really is something I would be reluctant to wish on nearly just about everyone.

It’s not like a broken leg where you have a cast and the cool kids sign, and in 6 – 8 weeks you can take it off and that is you good to go.

Unfortunately it is bit like diarrhea.

It strikes you usually in the middle of the night.  You spend quite a bit of time in the bathroom wondering if you will survive this.

When the sun rises you still have shit coming out of every orifice, and it is such an unattractive process you really do not want to post it on your status update.  You do not want everyone to know that you are making skid marks in your panties, and more importantly you have no idea where you got this bug from, and how long it is going to hang around for.  So instead you make jokes about “feeling a bit off colour” …..

So enough about me and the simile that is depression and diarrhea.

I really “fear” for my children.  I worry that they will not inherent my good hair and nail genes, but instead will be the proud new owners of full scale depression and anxiety disorder.

Can I prevent it in some way?  Sadly no.  Can I worry and stress about it?  Worry is my middle name.  Actually it is Lucille, but you know what I mean.

I worry about all of them.  I worry about Connor the most, he is so sensitive and has always been an “old soul” – he got really upset when he found out about what happened to Jesus around Easter time.

Connor was at a Roman Catholic school when he was young.  Great school, they were quite into Hail Marys and Our Fathers though.  I was willing to over look my discrepancies with the trinity because I liked the school.

The first year Connor was there they taught the usual run up to Easter.  I fetch Connor from school and he is sobbing.  Like crocodile tears with snot.

He gets in the car and goes: “Why, why, why did they kill Jesus?!” and bursts in to tears.

That really was one of the first, of several signs that Connor just took too much from a situation.

Connor gets very upset if we are upset.  Not because he is in trouble, but he gets upset if we are upset.

If we are sad, Connor is desperately sad.

It is like his boundaries of what are his feelings versus the feelings that belong to another person are a bit hazy.  Sound familiar?

The reason I am raising this issue today is that Connor has been struggling with stomach cramps for a few days.

Stomach cramps and me, have a very close relationship.  I have so much buscopan, levispas, bevispan, and anything else you can get on a script or if you cry loud enough at an all-night pharmacy – doubling over and crying like a 3 year old, can sometimes prove quite effective.

I started my IBS relationship in about 1994.

It was there before, but 1994 was my first big person job, and with my first big person job came IBS for 3 – 7 days per month.  For years I thought it was menstruation cycle link — fraid not.

Connor’s complaining about cramping makes me worry he has the first signs of IBS.  I worry he has the first signs of IBS.  I worry that IBS is a pre-cursor for signs of depression.

My (other/too many to number) concern is that taking Connor to a psyciatrist/psychologist to have been assessed for depression/anxiety disorder, will add as a catalyst to depression … I know that sounds unreasonable, but there it is.

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10 Comments

  1. Snap my friend, I have huge IBS issues, amplified by stress and anxiety.

    Reply
  2. I worry about this for my son, too. The thought of him dealing with depression – not to mention the lovely cocktail of depression plus anxiety – is hard to bear. But mental illness runs in my family, so I do think it’s something we need to watch for. For me, my depression started when I was a teenager. Everyone chalked it up to hormones. Not helpful.

    Stomach issues and depression/anxiety seem to go hand in hand. 😛

    I hope this is just a bit of a blip on Connor’s radar.

    Reply
  3. I have to ‘side’ with Kennith on this one. I had IBS for many many years and although my mother has had depression all her life, I have never had depression.

    Reply
  4. OK – from a child’s perspective… and that would be me. I was diagnosed with bi-polar about 3 yrs back. I always worry that it is just a ‘fad’ type of illness, and that it really is in my head. In fact, yesterday, I mentioned this concern to a doctor, who told me that it was actually more prevalent that depression? (Don’t quote me.)
    But back to the kid’s side… As I have grown older and been able to reflect on my life, right back to my teens, I have been able to pinpoint times in my life where I was extremely depressed and moody and anxious (I cannot tell you how many times my mother used ask me why I was in a bad mood.) and where I was suffering bouts of mania (luckily never to point of being admitted) and these are usually characterised by addictive behaviour (drink, drink, eat, eat, diet, diet) ,extreme spending, ludicrous business ideas that have included buying a chip ‘n dip van, a sunbed, opening new stores and being over-the-top creative, cue: painting, pottery, flower arranging, interior design and, you guessed it … blogging.
    But, even more scary, is that I am also realising that my dad (who has been dead for 9 yrs now) displayed such similar moodswings, depression, addictions – love of booze and smokes; and of course the same slighty manic periods … I cannot tell you how many cars we had while growing up.
    The main difference between his affliction and my current state, was that, in those days, no one knew of Bi-polar. He was not on any meds; he did not seek alternative therapy. It was ‘taboo’ to be depressed, or have any mental health issues, even. I am sad that he suffered through this, alone, without help, and perhaps, often being misunderstood.
    As I said before – today, it seems to be a very common thing. But, I would just relax about the kids. Although, I do feel the genes do come into play, I also believe that other variants, such as parenting styles, your better half – of course, education, community, social class, etc., all play a roll. It is a case of not putting the cart before the horse, or as my Dad would have said, “Moet net nie die hond uit die bos gaan haal nie.”
    Phew – that was my bout of verbal diarrohea for the day… (You may see some of this stuff on my blog – apologies in advance.)

    Reply
  5. hardingswing

     /  October 16, 2012

    I worry about my 16 yo son having depression…I am diagnosed and on a prescription for depression. He is displaying the same things I did at his age. Sigh. It’s so hard.

    My DD (almost 8 years) had the exact same reaction to Jesus’ crucifixion as your son did. Her Sunday school teacher, who has been teaching for decades, had never seen a child exhibit what our DD did. She also has the added burden of foreign adoption and mourns for her original parents. I am sure she’ll need meds as an adult. 😦

    Reply
  6. I have struggled with depression and anxiety since childhood. I started antidepressants when I was sixteen and I cope with life in a very different way if I am not on them. As a depressed child I had many reactions to my condition, my mom was very empathetic and listened to me when I told her how I felt. Others, felt that I was ‘acting up’ or ‘looking for attention’ which really wasn’t the case. I really feel that information and awareness is the best aproach to depression and anxiety. If Connor understands more about why he is feeling this way he will cope better……………..my two cents worth.

    Reply
  7. Kennith

     /  October 16, 2012

    Okay, lets take a breath people, Connor is largely fine, he is just a sensitive soul and I will monitor him and if there is a valid concern, we will address this. He is a well balanced social kid who is a bit more emotional than the rest, but he is allowed to be so hopefully he will not be scared because he is being told to be something he is not.

    When it comes to his cramps, it is the first time this year he has had any and they have been accompanied by a mild case of the runs and him really stinking up the toilet while his sisters bang on the door because they want to brush their teeth – so there is zero evidence to suggest it is anything more than a bug!

    Lets keep things in perspective and not type cast him due to our personal fears and experiences.

    Reply
  8. Carrie

     /  October 16, 2012

    How about Play Therapy? So its not just sitting and talking to someone (where they can say what they know you want to hear). I’ve heard it works wonders. My collegue is currently taking her 11 yr old son to a woman in Durbanville

    Reply
  9. Celeste, I have a much milder form of anxiety disorder than the one you describe but it is something that has travelled with me my entire life. As a child I battled with IBS as well because of my constant anxiety companion.
    I do want to share something that happened to me… not to scare you… but use it don’t use it. So here goes:
    I was in Std 1, I had a teacher who hated my timid, sensitive way who was not kind to me at all. MY IBS was exacerbated in the year that I was in her class. So much so that eventually my complaints of stomach cramps when pretty much unnoticed by everyone, because I was like a broke record…. until the morning that I woke up with pain wrapped right around my belly and unable to get out of bed. After a house visit from our GP, I was rushed to hospital for an emergency appendectomy! My appendix had ruptured (this is also where the bulk of my infertility issues stem from) but because everyone was so used to hearing me complain of stomach cramps, they hadn’t taken me seriously.
    My opinion – take him to your GP, get him thoroughly checked out, if there is no physical cause for the cramps, then take him to your psychiatrist for an assessment, but don’t just ignore it.
    Strongs!

    Reply
  10. coco

     /  October 16, 2012

    Take him! The sooner he learns to set boundries between his feelings and those of others the better. He is becoming a teenager and maybe an outsider he can talk to will help? GL – I share the same fears!!

    Reply

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