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How to deal with a parent who has depression?

Community Member

One of my parents has depression however my family only assume this because of the way they act. They are very quiet, sad, get angry easily, say bad things about people, unsociable etc. Sometimes this can get very frustrating as some of their actions affects how my family works. If they are angry, everyone gets angry. Sometimes they are very unreasonable and my other parent doesn't like to say much as they like to keep peace but when they do speak, there is so much tension between the two of them and I feel like they would spilt if it wasn't for us kids...

If we said anything to them about them having depression they would be very angry with us. They would not like to think they do and I think that's maybe why they're having such a hard time dealing with it.

thanks for listening and any advice on how to deal with this would be great

2 Replies 2

Community Member

Hi Sagelovet,

That must be a really tense environment for you to be in. It's very distressing when a parent is so emotionally volatile.

Both my parents were (still are) very troubled people. My mum was depressed and talking to her was like talking through a glass wall; I could see her but it was like my words bounced right off her most of the time. And my dad was always so angry- the angry man child. Angry + Sad= my parents. So I can empathise with some of what you're going through.

It makes it very difficult when you know that a parent needs help but he/she is too proud or won't seek it for some other reason. I mean, it has to come from them at the end of the day.

If they're not willing to talk, maybe you could print some brochures and fact sheets about depression, etc and leave them lying around the house e.g. with your other mail. So maybe they will have a read and reflect on their own state of mind. Obviously, we can't diagnose anyone here- that's for the doctors to do- but maybe brochures will get the ball rolling.

But you deserve support too, you know. Perhaps it would help to talk to friends, counsellor or even call a helpline just so you can get some of it out of your system. And of course, there's always the forums here too.

I guess my point is you don't have to go it alone. I find it helpful to have some support as it can be very lonely living in a tense home environment (I don't live with my parents anymore but I remember what it was like).

Thinking of you.

Dottie x

Community Member

Living with a parent that has depression, you begin to believe it could be contagious, because the energy of the entire house sinks to the floor, and you absorb the negativity if you want to or not. I'd get off the school bus and walk up the drive way wondering if anyone had got out of bed today. It drove my siblings and I bananas.

It used to be assumed that divorce was the utmost worst possible outcome for children and young people. Then the world became a little more enlightened, and it was realised that couples breaking up can be the best possible result for some kids mental health if the environment is toxic enough. As long as they remain civil as far as the children's needs are concerned when they have visitation, and respect that each parent still has a major role to play in the children lives, breaking the poisonous bond can be a good thing.

Maybe they both have depression, maybe not. They probably would not be making you privy to the details of their unhappiness in an attempt to protect you. They could be having intimacy problems that are causing tension and remain unresolved.

It's embarrassing when a parent is unreasonable for no reason, I feel you.

The only way I could deal would be to go and hang with mates as much as possible.

You are not responsible for their marriage and and in the end what will be, will be.

You're still a sponge, and if the parents negativity extends to also a negativity towards self, this can be a life long unhealthy influence on you. Sense of self is something that is very difficult to turn around once it becomes engrained. I would try and surround myself with friends that are positive, it sounds simplistic, but don't underestimate the power of positive influence.

It pulls at the heart strings because it is a loved one, but you sound irritated and frustrated and your own intuition knows that it is unhealthy.

The success of you suggesting anything to them really relies on how receptive they are. If they have defensive personalities and every tiny little thing is interpreted as a personal attack, like with my own father, you will be banging your head against the wall.

It's a very difficult situation. It sucks.

I know none of this helps because I was there myself..........Good luck