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I am seeking some tips on how to approach my mother to tell her how I feel and how I think I may possibly have depression?

I am afraid that she will dismiss my feelings, and ultimately feel uncomfortable at the thought of telling her. I want to seek professional help to enable me to understand and cope with my feelings and to know whether what I am feeling is 'normal' (lack of a better word) or is due an underlying issue. My father has depression, which has worsened severely since my parents broke up (I am in grade 11, they split in grade 5). He does not know that I know that, and only told me he had depression several months ago. I have a fractured relationship with him (his words, not mine) and we have never really openly discussed feelings so I definitely don't feel comfortable discussing it with him.

It is only recently that I have felt these symptoms worsen (app. past 3 months). I have been moving houses, and am still in the process of finding a new house to live in. The process is unbelievably frustrating and has made my overall mental health worsen severely. My productivity levels have stunted immensely over the past few months, and I feel so unmotivated. The best way I can describe how I feel is empty. I feel void of emotions a lot of the time, and will go through these periods a few times a week (lasting 1-3 hours) where I feel extremely tired (even though I may have received adequate sleep that night) and like i'm just existing, like the world is operating around me but i'm frozen in time or in slow motion. In addition to this, I experience lots of anger and frustration, and the smallest things may set me off. I've lost enjoyment in lots of activities, and struggle to focus. I discussed them with my closest friends, one of which said she experienced the same feelings as well as point out that they are symptoms of depression. I have considered it momentarily before, but never seriously until now. I don't want to label it and self-diagnose or even suggest that I may have it as I feel like people will respond by thinking I am an attention seeker. This is also why I also struggle to voice my concerns to my parents, the last time I did so to my mother (about trouble concentrating in school and exhibiting ADHD symptoms) she dismissed my worries, and told me that it was because I spend "too much time on my computer" or other similar reasons.

Sorry for the rambling, if there is anything you would like to know do not hesitate to ask.


2 Replies 2

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni


You've come to the right place! Sharing our mental health struggles with our parents, especially when we're young, presents two challenges that can combine for a tricky balancing act: 1) having your concerns be taken seriously and not dismissed or attributed to unrelated factors, and 2) telling someone who loves you and protects you that you are dealing with an internal struggle that they can't immediately intervene in.

I appreciate your hesitance to self-diagnose, and I'm not a medical professional, but I do think that many of the feelings and phenomena you're describing sound a lot like depression and certainly resonate with my own experiences with it. Whether you choose to take on that as part of your identity, or as a useful shortcut to get the resources you need, or not at all, is completely up to you.

I'm new to the country so am not very familiar with health regulations here, but I *think* (don't quote me on this) if you are over 18 you should be able to see a GP on your own who can refer you to a counselor if that's something you're interested in pursuing. If you live near a Headspace center, you may also receive care there for free. Many online options also exist.

Focus on yourself for now. Connecting with your father about this shared bond can be a conversation to have later and may be a painful or awkward topic, but can also be a powerful point of common understanding in your relationship going forward. It wasn't until later in life that I had very moving and candid conversations with my dad about his depression and how he felt responsible for mine.

I'm sorry that this burden has fallen to you at a time of life that is already confusing for so many other reasons. Please know that there are many who have come before you (myself included), and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.



Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor


I truly feel for you so very much as you seek to gain a greater understanding of what is challenging you in the way of mental and physical health.

Personally, I struggled with my own depression between the ages of about 20 to 35. At 45, I look back now, having gradually gained a greater understanding of what led me into it, what kept me in and what has served to keep me out of it.

Not sure if the following will resonate but it's simply my wish to provide some hopefully helpful insight:

  • With our parents typically as our primary guides, sometimes we need to ask the question 'How have they been guiding us?' Whilst they may guide us in the way of what it means to show kindness to others and in social law abiding ways, while offering us the basic support required to function in this world, how do they guide us in numerous ways to rise to challenges which go toward shaping our natural sense of identity (as opposed to a contrived or social sense of identity)?
  • How are we taught to naturally 'charge up' when we're feeling exhausted or run down? What aspects of life provide us with the energy we need to function on a healthy mental, physical and natural level? How are we taught to discharge or exhaust huge rises in energy, such as with anxiety?
  • Who teaches us to recognise the mental triggers that need attention, before those triggers unknowingly pull us down further, into a depression?

While my parents are truly beautiful folk, they'll be the 1st to admit they couldn't pass on the life skills they themselves weren't taught. I ended up teaching myself a lot of necessary skills when it comes to rising mentally and energetically in life. Years of researching stuff - the basics of how the brain ticks, how diet impacts our system, how spiritual energy related stuff (like Prana) can give a unique perspective, the fascinating world of epigenetics and so on - is some of what has led me to know myself.

There is a fascinating aspect of psychology around these days that might be of interest to you. It's called 'Positive Psychology'. It focuses a lot of natural skill development in the way of meeting life's challenges. Might be worth looking into.

It might pay to ask your mum to help you seek out forms of skill development and self understanding. You could mention that you feel yourself sinking into a significant depression without such support.

First port of call may be to see your GP to rule out possible reasons for your exhaustion (iron or b12 deficiency etc).