The following blog is from a guest blogger that is the mother of a child with Adolescent Depression.
Being a mother is a gift and a challenge. Being the mother of the child with adolescent depression (AD) makes you appreciate the gift of the good times, but enhances the ongoing challenge of providing a supportive, nurturing environment.For me, it’s heartbreaking to watch my daughter suffer the effects of AD: losing friends, being irritable and unhappy, and not wanting to participate in activities with friends and family. As a parent, we always want to fix everything for our children and make their pain or suffering go away. It’s difficult to accept that it’s not possible for me to fix it myself or that sometimes I unintentionally contribute to her suffering.
The key to helping any child with AD is finding the best treatment for that specific child. I was given a multitude of suggestions and “diagnoses’” from well-meaning friends and family who either had depression or knew someone with depression. Ultimately, I knew the only way to help my daughter was to get her diagnosed by a medical professional who could help us find the right treatment for her.
On the journey to find the right doctors, we encountered a lot of ups and downs as it required meeting with numerous psychiatrists and psychologists to find the right “prescription” for us. (I say “us” because we are in this together. Having a support system is critically important to anyone suffering from depression.) Once she was diagnosed properly, we decided that having two doctors – a psychologist and a psychiatrist – was the best way to support her needs.
The decision to put my daughter on medication was a difficult one. Once we decided that medication was the right solution for her, we tried several different options until we found the right one that worked best for her. This was, and will continue to be, a long, bumpy road with many detours. With each medication, there have been side effects, including an increase in irritability, heart palpitations, sleeplessness or being too sleepy, being lethargic, stomach pain, and headaches. The worst side effect was the weight gain that came with several of the drugs. Being a teenage girl is hard enough without uncontrollable weight gain and mood swings. To be honest, there were many times we second-guessed our decision to put her meds… although we ultimately agreed it’s the right thing to do for her.
While it is a quite a journey there is light at the end of the tunnel. We found the right combination of doctors and medication that help make my daughter’s life better. She’s able to think more clearly to make better decisions and she has a more positive outlook on life. While we have to constantly monitor her meds and make any necessary adjustments, this is a small thing in the bigger picture of making her life run smoother.
My daughter will always struggle to have a “normal” life. Having a good support system of family, friends and the right doctors helps to ease the battle.