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How do you explain this to teenagers?

Community Member
I have been battling for over 20 years. Recently I have had a number of triggers that have lead to me going through the worst episode of my life. I have no motivation, no enjoyment and I am struggling to explain to my teenage boys why I feel "sick". There is nothing physically wrong with me, my mental health is really bad. How do I explain this to them without them worrying about me? My husband has also said this weekend he doesn't get it. How do I make him understand? These are supposed to be my biggest supporters but I can't even talk to them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
3 Replies 3

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Brokenbluecat, and a warm welcome to the site.

It's really sad when someone like you has suffered for so long, that's far too long and I feel so sorry for you.

There are so many others who also fit into this category and sometimes this may cause your children to worry or even to wonder if your behaviour is their fault, it isn't, depression is a powerful illness that anybody can get and at the moment that's what you are struggling from.

Just explain to them that sometimes you may be able to get out of bed, or maybe in bed when they get home, it's not because you don't love them, but this illness puts you into a dark hole where you can't see anything positive and even though there maybe times when you may laugh, this doesn't mean your mood has overcome depression.

There were many times when I could laugh when friends came around but as soon as they left I crawled back into my hole.

Another good way is to book an appointment with your doctor then a psychologist and take the family with you because these are qualified people and can explain what depression is and how it affects you.

I would also click on 'Get Support' and scroll down until you see 'Publications to download or order', which you can do by ringing BB.

In this booklet, it explains depression and all the different types in a way people can understand, then your husband and teenage boys can read it at will.

There may also be someone else the family knows who has gone through this before.

It doesn't mean that you may have everything you want and should be happy so why are you depressed, depression has no barriers, it could affect absolutely anyone at any time.

Sorry my post is long, I certainly didn't want this to happen.


Hi Geoff,

That is very helpful, thankyou.

I have been to the GP and been placed on a mental health plan. I am waiting to get into the Psychologist. Mental Health services are sparse and difficult to get into. I will definitely look into those materials.

Thanks Again

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi brokenbluecat,

Thanks for your post. Geoff has written some great advice but as a young person I thought I might chip in too.

I'm really glad that you want to share what's going on with your boys and it sounds like you've tried to share what's going on with your husband too. Can I ask what you have said or what they might know already?

I think a big part of explaining what's going on is finding out what they know already and adding to it. They've known you for 20 years which means they've seen you battle this for 20 years. This isn't new information and in a sense they will already have some understanding.

There's a great website here called COPMI, which focuses on children of parents with a mental illness and helping them understand. Here's a link on how to talk to your teens -


For me personally the things that I would need are

- Time. Know that if I don't respond straight away or I need to think about things then that's okay and doesn't mean that you've said something wrong or said too much.

- Opportunities to ask questions. This may mean you need to up the self-care or do it on a 'good day' so that you can be ready to talk about things and how it affects you day-to-day.

- Space. Talking about this on the way to work/school is going to be much more difficult then sitting down and talking over dinner.

- Support. You might want to recommend the forums as a place to go for people in the same boat, or you might want support yourself so you can have that conversation.

- Advice. I really think teens (and husbands) like to be practical. What can they do? What would be helpful? If you could give them a practical suggestion like 'it would be great if you could make tea' vs 'it would be great if you could be there for me', then it's something they can physically do. It helps you and it helps them as it gives them a sense of control and helpfulness.

I hope this helps!