My 4 Year old boy is on antidepressants and that’s okay …

I read this post today, and I was humbled and amazed at the bravery of a parent.

I am acutely aware of how difficult and fraught with misguided advice and criticism the decision is to decide to take “head medication” is.

For yourself.  As an adult.

As much as society bandies around the labels “depression” “anxiety and general anxiety disorder” over cocktails at the local.

When you go through the process and find yourself at the bottom of the dark pit, and your fingernails bleeding from trying to scramble out, and find that instead of making progress towards the light, you are sliding further back into the deep dank darkness of the pit.

For what ever reason you want to be “normal”, and also want to be able to cope with life’s little lemons in a happy bright sort of way – but then you realise at some point that maybe “normal” is an inappropriate level to aim for.  Maybe.

Surviving until 10h00.  Then 14h00.  Then until the kids go to bed, and you can climb into your bed, and just lie there and wait for Morpheus to come creeping.  You know how dark your darkest hour can be.  You know that when people tell you to “just be happy” or to “cheer up” that you would kill them with a spoon if it meant you could just be happy.

You have trying to be “happy” for years at this point, and it always seems to be like silver minnows swimming just below the surface of the water.  You catch glimpses, you keep thinking it is within your reach, but it never is something you can hold on to.

It seems okay to say you are depressed, but actually taking medication in the form of pills, every day, well that is just another issue.  Taking medication would mean admitting you really are sick.

And maybe not as “normal” as you try to look and feel.

As an adult and deciding this course of action for yourself is extremely difficult.  Even as society has developed and grown, there is still a stigma attached to being a bit of a loon and needing medication to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Of course there isn’t you scoff.

Yes, there is, I say.

Deciding that your child needs medication for depression, is something I hope I will never have to face.

I have enough baggage and guilt to deal with, without having to deal with the fact that it might be because of ME that my kids are not well adjusted and their brains are not able to adapt to the daily pressures of “normal” life.

Today I read about Shawn Roos’ piece and it made my heart jump – and my breath catch.

It’s a brave and insightful piece – read it:

Don’t let stigma and saving face stop you from saving your child.

We named Micah before we knew him, and as it turned out, around the very time he was born. My wife and I had decided to adopt and were filled with a sense of purpose. We met Micah in a chance encounter in the lobby of our church.

I remember saying to Nina as I looked at this 6 month old boy, rotund and all-cheeks “It feels weird looking at a child knowing that there’s  apossibility he may just become your child.” It’s an experience that only an adoptive parent will ever know.

Turned out I was right. Two months later, Simphiwe – now Micah – became our son.  Read the rest of this brave post here.


Parenting is not always about making the decision whether to go with the dinosaur or the pirate theme, sometimes it is about making those hard decision.

Our children need us to be parents, their guides, their pathfinders …. it’s difficult, and challenging, and not always a decision that we make easily, but not helping your child is not an option – how long do you wait and watch the damage continue before stepping in?



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  1. eventmanagement58

     /  July 17, 2013

    Yes medication be a true help.

  2. If we believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, then it makes sense that children would also have this “problem”. I have seen the benefits of medication in my children and I can honestly say that their quality of life is sooooooooo much better on medication. I do not feel guilty about giving it to them at all!

  3. I also read Shawn’s post this morning, and know the family. It is amazing to see the change in Micah. I was actually meaning to share the post with you because I knew it would strike a chord! Glad you “found” it too 🙂

  4. when I read the heading of this post, I was screaming NO! No! No! But I followed your link and I understand and I get it. The man writes and explains himself really well, not that he owes anyone an explanaination, but I totally get it. No-one knows what that little chap went through and how traumatic his life began. If anti depressants are are a short term fix and will get him functioning more happily, than I’m all for it. Can’t have been an easy descision. If there is one thing I’m learning as I get older, is that, every situation is unique and sometimes tailor made solutions are necessary. Parents’ instincts surpass any medical opinion.

    • reluctantmom

       /  June 21, 2013

      I recall being very judgmental in my earlier life. Quick to judge, quick to criticise.
      Time has definitely been a great teacher, and showed me that we all have our shit to carry with us, and we all need to do it differently to get by.

  5. My brother had serious depression and other issues for much of his short life, but when I was growing up (only like 10-20 years ago) it seemed unthinkable to the adults around me that a kid could have mentall illness issues. He was seen as a bad kid. And he killed himself. So of course I support caution in prescribing medication but I also definitely support it.


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