Depression is often times misunderstood. This can often cause apprehension surrounding sharing your feelings of depression with others, compounding with the symptoms of depression that a person is already feeling. When preparing to tell someone about your mental illness it’s important to maintain appropriate expectations. The people you tell will likely be concerned and want to help you but at the same time lack the knowledge to understand what it means. Telling those how they can support you can be helpful.
Understanding the Scope of Depression shared some tips on how to tell your loved ones about your depression and your children.
For family and friends:
- Ask your doctor or therapist for advice about how to explain depression.
- Use educational materials such as books, brochures or Web pages that have been recommended by your doctor therapist.
- Be sure to explain that depression is common and treatable.
- Reassure your family that you want to get better.
According to Everyday Health – “Depression is often hidden from children out of fear or embarrassment, but many kids will sense that something is wrong. If a problem is not talked about, they may come up with their own reasons, attribute family problems to something they did or didn’t do and feel overwhelming guilt.” Listed below are example question and answer scenarios that may help you explain depression to younger children.
- What Is Depression? Explain that depression causes people to act in ways that are different from how they act normally and that you may be tired, sad or angry and not have energy to do things you used to do. This is an opportunity to tell your child about your depression symptoms and explain that just like other illness, depression can be treated.
- Will You Get Better? Reassure your child that adults treated for depression usually get better, and that you are doing everything you can to feel better quickly.
Sharing and discussing mental illness can be difficult but with these tips hopefully it will ease some of the tension behind it. You can for find more tips about disclosing to family, friends, and children as well as in the work place within Understanding the Scope of Depression.