Parenting with depression is often a lonely and overwhelming experience, whether you are doing it alone or with the help of a partner. Drawing from her own experience, health writer Lana Barhum shares her advice on how to be the best parent possible, in spite of depression.
I AM NO STRANGER TO DEPRESSION. I HAVE STRUGGLED WITH IT MOST OF MY ADULT LIFE, AND I KNOW THE LIES WITH WHICH DEPRESSION CAN FILL YOUR MIND.
I am no stranger to depression. I have struggled with it most of my adult life, and I know the lies with which depression can fill your mind. That you are a failure because you didn’t do everything you meant to, for instance, or that your kids deserve a better parent. Depression may even tell you everyone would be better without you.
But I also know that you can still be a good parent even when you feel like you have nothing left to give. Here’s how:
1. Learn your triggers.
It has taken me years to understand my feelings and what triggers them. Every once in a while, my emotions may even lead to an outburst of anger, a panic attack, or a crying fit. Should this happen to you, try to reflect on what led you to feel upset in this way. Knowing my triggers helps me avoid them – or at least expect them – so I am better able to deal with how I reaction.
Lately, the news has been one of my personal triggers, as it can bring about feelings of hopelessness or lack of control. So I keep this in mind as I watch the news on television or read news stories online. I also manage my Facebook feed to exercise control over the information I see, and how it makes me feel.