Depression and Parenting – Seek help

It comes out in different ways. Some moments I just lie in bed and cry. Other days I look around with hopelessness at the wreck my house is in and see no way out. Or I sit in church, surrounded by friends, only to feel alone and numb. My smile feels like a lie and there is no light or joy in my heart.

Or even worse, I am are so overwhelmed, so downright miserable, that I scream at my children. Then I cry in my bed, a mess of self-hatred compiling onto the depression that caused it.

I didn’t ever consider the fact that I had depression. My mother has it and battled it my entire childhood. I have some awful memories of her fits, her tears, her helplessness. I never wanted to be like her. And I never understood that depression was a disease. When I was a child she never sought help for her depression nor did she explain to me what it was. That would have helped me in so many ways. It wasn’t until I was an adult and she was hospitalized for a weekend that I began to understand my childhood through a new set of eyes.

Depression is genetic. It is a genetic imbalance of serotonin in the brain. When I began to experience symptoms of depression it was my very close friends – like Janice – that encouraged me to seek help.

And so I did. I listened to my friends. Deep down I didn’t want to admit that I was broken, that I needed to take a pill to act like a “normal” human being. I wanted to be a strong, successful woman – perfect and complete! But what I did not know was depression is not a shortcoming. You are not less of a person if you ask for a prescription.

Do you think people that take Zyrtec for allergies are weaklings?

No. 

Biologically, our bodies are all made differently. We have different needs. Some can’t eat wheat. Some can’t eat chocolate. Other’s have to take medication for heartburn. And I have to take a medication to increase the neurotransmitters in my brain so I can think clearly.

Depression affects my parenting. I am so glad I sought help from my family doctor. It isn’t simply about being happy or sad, it is about balancing my moods so I am parenting my little children with the most strength and clearest mind possible. And since I know this is genetic, when Lizzie is older I will explain this to her. I don’t want her to go through adolescence depressed and not know she can seek help without being ashamed.

Please, if you have any symptoms of depression, talk to someone. I can testify that your life will tremendously improve if you just ask for help. Make that first step and do not be ashamed. Depression is a scary demon to battle, but you can overcome it!

36 Responses to Depression and Parenting – Seek help
  1. Gena Morris
    November 7, 2011 | 10:53 am

    I just love you for posting this. It is not an easy thing to post and admit. We have all been there at some point to some degree. I am praying for you. One of the best things to do in addition to medicine is read the book of Psalms. It isn’t a cure for depression but it can help you put things into perspective and remind you that you are not alone. You have God with you. Big Hugs!

    • Annie Shultz
      November 7, 2011 | 5:20 pm

      Thank you Gena! I agree 100%. In fact, I believe God protected me my entire life. He carried me through some very difficult times. I never knew I had depression until recently, but looking back I have struggled with this my entire adolescence and adulthood.

  2. Jessica
    November 7, 2011 | 5:51 pm

    Great post, Annie. I love your honesty. We are going through this now with a family member who clearly needs to be on medication to right her serotonin levels but thinks she can handle this on her own. As someone who has experienced a lot of depression among other family members it saddens me to see her not getting the help she needs.

    • Annie Shultz
      November 8, 2011 | 11:19 am

      I know what you mean. And I wish there wasn’t such a bad stigma attached to getting help for depression. If people could just realize that it is something lots of people struggle with maybe they would seek more help. It affects so many people around the hurting person.

  3. Fadra
    November 8, 2011 | 12:24 am

    I hate to say “been there, done that” but it’s true. I was resistant to admitting it and once I opened my mind and accepted help, life got so much better for me. In fact, when my doctor explained it on a chemical level, it made me feel so much better. Thanks for being so open about this.

    • Annie Shultz
      November 8, 2011 | 11:20 am

      It was the chemical explanation – and the fact that it is genetic – that helped me feel so much better too! Thank you for sharing your story Fadra.

  4. Steph
    November 8, 2011 | 12:44 am

    I have been there. In such dark deep places. You are so brave to put this out there. I think talking about it and making it real… not just some stigma makes a difference.

    • Annie Shultz
      November 8, 2011 | 11:21 am

      Thank you Steph. I want people to know that having depression is nothing to be ashamed of. If we are embarrassed by it and don’t’ seek help we are hurting ourselves and those we love so much more.

  5. Nathania Johnson
    November 8, 2011 | 12:51 am

    If you can’t afford therapy, the book Feeling Good is extremely helpful for depression and has some great exercises to help you overcome negative thoughts.

    While depression can be biological (though it is not always), the serotonin link has little scientific proof behind it. http://bit.ly/tztp1v

    Despite this, medication can *still* help BUT as someone who has tried a few and had side effects, then attempted to withdraw but couldn’t – do your research before starting a prescription.

    Last but not least – exercise has been proven to be one of the BEST therapies for overcoming depression. No, you won’t want to exercise when you’re depressed, but if you force yourself to do it, it really does work.

    • Annie Shultz
      November 8, 2011 | 11:17 am

      Thank you for leaving that link. I’m not sure I trust it 100%. It wasn’t written by an MD and while MDs might be biased I do trust my family doctor to read literature and be honest with me.
      My family doctor is always suggesting non-medical treatments if they are proven to be effective. For example, he suggested Gentian Violet for thrush.

      I will be checking out that book next 🙂

      And exercise is always excellent. I’ve struggled with depression since puberty. In high school I was very active, I worked out every day. But the depression was still there and it was scary. It wasn’t until I went on anti depressants that I started to feel normal.

  6. Tammy
    November 8, 2011 | 2:54 am

    Thanks for sharing Annie! I too have it and have suffered the last 3 years. My mom has had it and just found out my aunts do too. I felt so alone and ashamed that I had it too. I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband who loves me on my good days and bad ones. Tonight I just increased one my meds and I pray it doesn’t make me sick for the next week. Thanks again! xoxo

    • Annie Shultz
      November 8, 2011 | 11:22 am

      I am so glad you have a supportive husband. Being married to someone that makes you feel ashamed of your depression can make it a million times worse. I hope the increase of meds does not make you sick and does help you.

  7. melissa
    November 8, 2011 | 8:45 am

    i’m on zoloft.
    awesome post lady!! xoox

    • Annie Shultz
      November 8, 2011 | 11:22 am

      Yup! I’m on zoloft too! thanks melissa!

  8. Susan (5 Minutes For Mom)
    November 9, 2011 | 3:32 am

    Annie thank you so much for sharing your story here. As you know Janice and I struggle with depression and anxiety and both depend on medication.

    I think parenting especially as a stay at home mom is the toughest job when you’re depressed. I wish all moms asked for help when they needed it. And the more we share our stories, the more will.

  9. Katherine
    November 9, 2011 | 11:08 am

    Great post Annie. It’s so important for mothers to talk about mental health, whether it’s postpartum depression or depression at any other time in a mother’s life. I’m sure your words will help others realize they aren’t alone.

  10. […] writes at 5 Minutes for Parenting about being a mom with depression, and how difficult it is to […]

  11. Debbye
    November 14, 2011 | 8:14 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I really think it will inspire others to take positive steps. 🙂

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  22. George
    July 22, 2012 | 11:00 am

    Do you think medication is the only way to balance the mind and work with depression? Is there the possibility to integrate meditation and awareness/consciousness of the mind?

  23. Tejwinder
    April 5, 2013 | 5:26 am

    What an insightful article. You guys are amazing, i like the way you describe every single point so carefully. This can help people and i must come again and again to read such an informational articles.

  24. Eloise Kerr
    May 15, 2013 | 10:44 am

    Some countries have higher rates of depression. Especially according to the study or research is U.S.A depression hit every 1 people out of 10 people and it attack 10 million people in every one year. Depressive disorder can leads serious problem even committed to suicide and major depressive disorder sometimes require hospitalization, therapy and other treatment. And depression is not only occurring in U.S.A but also occur in all over the world. Depression is a severe disorder but it can successfully treatable with medical, counseling, psychotherapy and other therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy, Interpersonal therapy, electroconvulsive therapy. Even some patients have very good record of recovery having only talking treatment from general practitioner. The mild depression can be successfully treatable with the General Practitioner and their prescribed medicines can sought out general problems such as appetite, sleep, anxiety etc. In order to get the proper treatment, it is very much important to identify the type of depression. It is ranges from mild to major. If the mild depression will treated as major depression then it may bring reverse effect, especially in case of children. The depressed child should firstly treat with General Practitioner and some general counseling. Otherwise it may badly affect their soft mind and carry in the whole life as a nightmare.

  25. Silver Price
    June 25, 2013 | 10:02 am

    Wade, T. D., & Kendler, K. S. (2000). The relationship between social support and major depression: Cross-sectional, longitudinal, and genetic perspectives. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 188, 251-258.

  26. Damian G. Jennings
    June 30, 2013 | 2:56 pm

    Wade, T. D., & Kendler, K. S. (2000). The relationship between social support and major depression: Cross-sectional, longitudinal, and genetic perspectives. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 188, 251-258.

  27. Candy Terrell
    July 4, 2013 | 6:18 am

    Until recently, there were limited data on the safety and efficacy of antidepressant medications in children and adolescents. The use of antidepressants in this age group was based on adult standards of treatment. A recent NIMH-funded study supported fluoxetine, an SSRI, as a safe and efficacious medication for child and adolescent depression. The response rate was not as high as in adults, however, emphasizing the need for continued research on existing treatments and for development of more effective treatments, including psychotherapies designed specifically for children. Other complementary studies in the field are beginning to report similar positive findings in depressed young people treated with any of several newer antidepressants. In a number of studies, TCAs were found to be ineffective for treating depression in children and adolescents, but limitations of the study designs preclude strong conclusions.

  28. Elwood B. Mcdaniel
    August 4, 2013 | 4:50 am

    Sadness and unhappiness are common human emotions, particularly in response to troubling situations. For children and adolescents, such situations may include the death of a parent, divorce, a friend moving away, difficulty adjusting to school, and difficulty making friends. However, feelings of sadness are sometimes out of proportion to the event or persist far longer than expected. In such cases, particularly if the feelings cause difficulties in day-to-day functioning, children may have depression. Like adults, some children become depressed even when no unhappy life events occur. Such children are more likely to have family members with mood disorders (a family history). Depression occurs in as many as 2% of children and 5% of adolescents.

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