I was depressed. I had a breakdown. I used to be in a dark place. And now thankfully I am not. I am trying to ensure that it never happens to me again. But most importantly I want to help my daughters avoid that place too. And as many other people as possible. It is the worst place to be and makes life really hard work.
I have to admit that to many people I probably look like I have a charmed life. I am happily married to my university sweetheart, my first love, I have three beautiful healthy children, I am now a stay at home mum. I’m not ill or disabled, nor are any of my family, we are lucky that we have an income that supports us all. I have had no major upset in my life, yet it happened to me.
So the paradox is what made me suffer from a mental health problem? On first glance it is easier to understand why someone who has experienced some terrible event in their life suffers from a depression etc. But this makes no sense when you consider that there are others out there who in the face of terrible adversity cope and survive. Why should this be the case?
I draw the conclusion that depression is not something that just happens simply due to an event or just you being you. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that depression is the fault of the sufferer, or denying the biochemical element of depression, or that there is a not predisposition in some people towards poor mental health.
But rather that part of depression is about how you emotionally respond to your life, your coping skills. And for me this was something that I know I didn’t learn how to do very well growing up. The key is that this is a learned behaviour. I have now somehow learned, for the most part, to respond differently to problems in my life, and I attribute that to the counselling process.
I admit that I am not entirely sure how that has worked, it has been mostly talking and not being directly instructed or given strategies. But there has definitely been process of learning and therefore teaching. And so to move forward with my goals for the future of my children and others I am looking inside me for things to teach my children about how to deal with their emotions.
I really believe this link between parents and children must be important for learning the appropriate emotional coping mechanisms. How do you deal with your children and their emotions? What do you try to teach them about how to deal with difficult things in their lives?