This was supposed to be a happy post. A post about getting a boy a puppy to help deal with teenage depression, but that post wouldn’t make a difference. I hoping by sharing this story we do make a difference.
Let me start out by saying that I love being a mom. My children are my life, my everything and I have put absolutely every ounce of myself into the past 15 years. But every now and then motherhood sucks!!
As 2018 drew to a close, our world was rocked when Ashton’s doctors confirmed that his hormones were wrecking havoc and as a result his condition had taken a turn for the worst. He was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and mild depression at the age of 9. Five years later and we are dealing with clinical teenage depression and borderline personality disorder. Teen depression is real and its a serious mental health problem.
The persistent, often unexplained feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how teens think, feel and behave. In addition to that it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. Although depression can occur at any time in life, symptoms may be different between teens and adults. Peer pressure, expectations to perform at school and their ever changing bodies can bring a lot of ups and downs for teens.
In Ashton’s case (and many other teens), the lows are more than just temporary feelings as they are in fact symptoms of depression. Depression symptoms ease with treatment such as medication and psychological counseling. Our efforts which include healthy eating, exercise, adequate rest, medication and counseling have however proved futile over the past two months.
When Hormones Come Into Play
Adolescence is a confusing and in fact a horrible time for teenagers. It’s a time of change, transformation, and adaptation. It’s also a time of the unknown for teens. The hormonal events that occur during this period have significant effects on brain development, neuro-cerebral chemistry, adolescent behavior and increases risks of depression. In the case of Ash, this is where we are at.
Symptoms to look out for
Behavioural: antisocial behaviour, compulsive behaviour, hostility, impulsivity, irritability, risk-taking behaviours, self-destructive behaviour, self-harm, social isolation, or lack of restraint
Mood: anger, anxiety, general discontent, guilt, loneliness, mood swings, or sadness
Psychological: depression, distorted self-image, grandiosity, or narcissism
Also common: thoughts of suicide
Am I Failing as a Mother?
I’m a good mom … actually I’m a great mom. I’m hands on and involved. I spend copious amounts of quality time with my kids. In fact I’m often criticized for spending too much time with them. I’m also a fun mom who goes river rafting and plays lazer tag, but why do I feel like I’m failing at being a Mom. Ash gets the best in exercise, health care and nutrition but nothing I do seems to help my child. Judging if his behaviour is because if his condition or just normal teen behaviour is incredibly hard. My heart breaks because he’s an incredibly brilliant and intelligent young man who isn’t achieving his full potential. I live in fear, constantly walking on eggshells. I don’t have a support system when it comes to this. This is a road I have tackled on my own for the past 5 years. Unless you are living this, you have absolutely no idea how raising a child with depression debilitates a family. I’m at a complete loss and while I face tough choices, I’m torn between my heart and my mind.
Breaking the stigma of depression
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Should there be cause for concern, contact a medical professional of the SA Depression & Anxiety group without delay!
For counselling queries e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday,
Call: 011 234 4837
For a suicidal Emergency contact us on 0800 567 567
24hr Helpline 0800 12 13 14
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post.