Depression in children

My story with depression is a long one, and largely one I don't give much thought to. I always thought that I was first affected by it when I went to Uni in 2010- when I was 19- but recent conversations with my counselor have unlocked memories I haven't revisited in a long time. 

I have always had a rocky relationship with my mother, she has never been an affectionate person and that is something I have always struggled with. The last time she hugged me, really hugged me for no other reason than she wanted to, I can't even remember and the last time she told me she loved me it was my 21st birthday, I almost fell off my chair and then I cried. Not out of love or happiness but out of upset that she never said it more, never made me feel it more. My mother is also a teacher and has problems switching off when she gets home, this gives her a tendency to shout a lot, even in normal conversations and to talk more about other people's kids than her own. This always gave me feelings of inadequacy, made me wonder if she cared more about other people's kids than her own. I never thought she was proud of me as she only ever criticised. I once passed a singing exam with 92% distinction and the first thing she said was "Where's the other 8%?", I was 12 and devestated. She has since said it was a joke, but it wasn't funny to the 12 year old me. I felt I had let her down, that I had failed. I don't sing anymore. I realised I must have been depressed even then, I was a weird withdrawn kid and I didn't know any better. 

But my big breakthrough was about a week ago, I had finished a session with my counselor earlier in the day and I was lying in bed just thinking when I had a vivid memory poped up of when I must have been about 9. This is not uncommon for me as my memory is one of the things my depression affects the most, my 3 months at uni feels like 3 weeks because I just don't remember most of it. But I was lying in bed remembering being 9, in my top bunk in the dark, in floods of tears because my mum had sent me to bed without dinner. I don't remember what I did wrong, but I suppose I must have been naughty in some way, but I remember lying there aged 9 trying to think of a good way to kill myself. I thought my mum hated me and so did my dad because he hadn't stopped her sending me to bed hungry- to this day I still have issue with how much my dad says he disagrees with my mum then does nothing. But I was 9 and didn't know much about suicide just that I didn't want to be alive in the morning. I thought I could sneak downstairs and take a knife from the kitchen and stab myself in the chest, then I wouldn't have to be sad anymore. Of course that was a terrible idea and luckily I was too frightened to sneak out of my room. But it shocked me that I must have been suffering to some degree with depression even then. Then aged 10 when I tried to run away, the only thing that stopped me was that there wasn't any money in my mum's purse. 

It struck me that many children suffer from depression and if my parents had noticed the extent of my mental illness earlier on I may not be where I am today, or if I had felt able to speak about it or even been aware of it would I have coped differently. At the time I just thought I was weird, I was different, I was a geek or a loser, but actually I was depressed. I needed someone to talk to, I needed some love. I needed my mum to cuddle me and tell me she loved me, I needed my dad to tell my mum she was being too harsh. I still need these things and so do so many people- children and adults. We need to spread the word and spread the love, so no other 9 year old has to lie in the dark thinking about death.

Sorry for the long post, but I think I needed this. It felt, not good, but a grim relief to let this out.


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2 Replies

  • I'm sorry you have to go through this. I think my Mom can relate to you and so can I to an extent. No one should have to feel unloved or think about suicide at any age. I'm with you.

  • Omg your story is similar to mine and it brought back so many memories.  I became depressed around 6/7 years old and don't remember thinking of suicide but do very clearly feeling a huge weight on my shoulders and wishing I wasn't alive any more,

    It's interesting what you say about memory as I can't remember huge chunks of my childhood and teenage years and even later.  Now my memory is still bad but hopefully this is more old age now.  

    My mother wasn't as harsh as yours in that I never remember being sent to bed without dinner but she made up for it in criticising and judging not just me but all my sisters.   It's awful what parents do to kids isn't it?   x 

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