Anyone have experience with depressed children? - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-05-2016, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone have experience with depressed children?

Our youngest is 12 years old and this just started in the last two weeks – pretty much out of the blue.

He has had two episodes in the last 2 weeks. By episode I mean he will start to cry and say very disturbing negative things. Both times it’s been shortly after he’s gone to bed. The first time he had been sick for a few days and was over-tired so we didn’t think too much about it. His thoughts and comments were very dark, and we assured him that he was loved and he could tell us anything. If he had any problem he could always come to us for help, and that we were proud of him. My wife stayed with him until he fell asleep. The next day he said he felt better, and he was recovered from the cold he had been fighting. Everything seemed back to normal.

Fast forward two weeks to last night…

About 10:30pm, two hours after he had gone to bed, we became aware of his crying. My wife goes to comfort him but he is very anxious. He says he doesn’t deserve his family or friends. He feels guilty about things outside of his control. His thoughts are again concerning, dark. This went on until the small hours of the night.

We’ve booked a Dr appointment for tomorrow, and I assume we’ll get referred to a psychologist, but I am so far out of my league here. Google says childhood depression is commonly under diagnosed in children with family histories of depression (neither my wife or I have any history). We are not abusive, do not drink, or fall into any of the identified depression risk categories.

Has anyone experienced something similar with their kids. It is so heart wrenching to hear your 12-year-old say that they do not deserve to live. Why would they feel that way?

Any experiences or thoughts would be appreciated.

GHAS

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-05-2016, 04:27 PM
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Re: Anyone have experience with depressed children?

You also need to rule out anything physical. Head injury? Tumor? Glandular issue? Get him to his regular Dr. and ask for a complete workup.

I know this is scary, don't let the medical establishment give you the runaround.

If it happens again get ahold of the local suicide hotline, they can refer you to resources as well.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-05-2016, 04:28 PM
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Re: Anyone have experience with depressed children?

When you think about the evolution of the human, our brain has been wired to ensure survival. When thoughts of suicide enter you know there is something very wrong happening in the brain.

I am sure this must be heartbreaking for you but I urge you to take suicidal thoughts, plans, urges very seriously! A 12 year old doesn't really grasp the finality and irreversibility of death. A 12 year old has little impulse control. If there are any guns in your home, remove them and the bullets and keep them in a place your son can never find them. Check any rx's laying around, gather them and lock them up. Stay near your son at all times.

I'm very glad to know you've got an appointment for the doctor. Be prepared for the doctor to recommend inpatient risk assessment. Please consider this as the best method for keeping your son safe while psychiatrists and therapists begin diagnosis and treatment.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-05-2016, 04:42 PM
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Re: Anyone have experience with depressed children?

All three of my sons have depression and 11-13 is the age it showed up for each of them. In our family there is a strong history of depression and they also all have chronic illness... but I do wonder if the natural hormonal changes of puberty works as a trigger as well.

We also started with pediatrician, then to psychiatrist... they also do weekly therapy. We have had a few times when they were in crisis and threatening to actually hurt themselves where we had to go to the ER for risk assessment and twice resulted in admission. In our area there is also a mobile crisis team that will come to the house for risk assessment.

It's very important not to ignore those dark feelings. I have friends whose 12 year old son hung himself over the summer, so it does happen. His depression was triggered by bullying. We have code words for them now since saying "suicide" earns a certain reaction. We also have safety plans with each of them.

Will be praying for you... I know how heartbreaking it is to see your child suffer that way and not be able to fix it. Good luck!
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-05-2016, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone have experience with depressed children?

Hi NothingOrig, Anon Pink and Heartbroken,

Thank you for your responses and thoughts/experiences.

@nothingOriginal - I hadn’t considered head injury or similar issue – good thoughts we will look into.

@AP - Oh, believe me, we are taking this very serious. We don’t have any guns or prescription meds, but your point was really to be aware of risks and keep a close eye on our son – will do!

@HB – Bullying is what came to mind for us as well. Our son has good friends, is athletic, and does well in school, but I know that bullying can take many forms. We will try to identify his stressors.

GHAS
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-05-2016, 09:18 PM
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Re: Anyone have experience with depressed children?

Do consider medicating with a B12 suppliment. It's very difficult to treat because you don't want to create learned behaviours either.

One of the worst parts about being depressed, is that is a negative experience when people try to engage you in things, especially cheerful things. Often the cheerful things are worst because while there's pleasure as a stimuli, it's almost as if the "fuel in the tank" for such feelings runs out leaving a real nasty anticlimax afterwards and no-one to share it with.

Often a result is a shutting out/off just a continuous numb/vacant feeling, that perhaps you should feel something but there's nothing there - like a house of a newlywed couple who died in an air accident on their honeymoon. It is just a haunting emptiness, that the depressed person knows can't be "fixed".

The only thing I've found that makes a difference (apart from b12, moderate exercise/air, and diet sensitivities) is constant gentle small successes. Where the depressed person can develop coping and achievement values. Again it can make for a person that is overly sensitive to failure, but I've found nothing else effective. Also see if you can pick up what are the _triggers_ - for some kids it's physical bullying, others it is social success and popularity, for me it's financial related. You'll find that these trigger areas shatter confidence and feed the black dog much more than other issues.

I wish you the best of luck.

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone have experience with depressed children?

Thank you Spotthed for chiming in.

Just to update…

My son and I went to our family Dr. yesterday and he interviewed us together and separately. He took about an hour all together and our usual Dr. visit is 15-20 minutes. Very thorough discussion covering all the primary activities and issues in a young one’s life (family, school, friends, activities, computers, food, sleep… there were other topics covered as well).

The Dr. said to me that kids occasionally feeling down or feeling not good enough is not uncommon as they mature and put additional and different pressures on themselves. To be thorough he recommended a children’s mental health psychologist who will be contacting us in the next few days for further evaluation.

My wife was the front line parent with our son during the two incidents and she was not at the Dr so there were a few discrepancies between what she told me she thought he said, and what he said he said. Specifically, our son says he never said “I don’t deserve to live”. He did say that “he didn’t deserve his friends and family” and that “he couldn't remember the last time he was happy”. He has since said he knows these things are not true and that he has many happy memories, but that was honestly how he felt at the time.

We are still taking things a day at a time.

GHAS
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 09:08 PM
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Re: Anyone have experience with depressed children?

Thats odd that the therapist is supposed to reach out to you.

I certainly hope your pediatrician is right and that your son is going through the teen extremes. Can I suggest you take your son for a drive, a long drive. Listen to music, share your favorites and ask him to share his. Then when things are relaxed, tell your son that feeling down, feeling lousy, feeling like an idiot, a failure...these are feelings we all have from time to time. Part of growing up is learning how to identify how he feels and why he feels that way. Maturing is when we learn from our mistakes, because everyone makes mistakes. Then just be silent and wait for him to talk. If he changes the subject he is avoiding a very important conversation and it's really vital to understand why so go back and ask what he thinks about what you said.

I have told all of my kids, during those impromptu deep moments, that there is no pain greater than a parent losing a child. The parent will never feel joy again, never be happy again. The pain never ever goes away and the parent has to learn to live with soul deep sadness that never goes away. The first time I said those things to my oldest, there had been a suicide of an older teen in our area. (Boy took his father's gun, walked into the woods and shot himself in the head) We did not know the boy, but as I described the pain his parents were feeling and explained how suicide is a permenant reaction to a temporary problem she began to shed tears with me. I made a promise to discuss teen suicide with all my kids once they entered the teen extreme stage. Our family has known two teens who killed themselves.

I personally would not wait for the therapist to call, I'd be calling and insisting on the next available appointment.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 09:21 PM
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Re: Anyone have experience with depressed children?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GiveHeadaShake View Post
Thank you Spotthed for chiming in.

Just to update…

My son and I went to our family Dr. yesterday and he interviewed us together and separately. He took about an hour all together and our usual Dr. visit is 15-20 minutes. Very thorough discussion covering all the primary activities and issues in a young one’s life (family, school, friends, activities, computers, food, sleep… there were other topics covered as well).

The Dr. said to me that kids occasionally feeling down or feeling not good enough is not uncommon as they mature and put additional and different pressures on themselves. To be thorough he recommended a children’s mental health psychologist who will be contacting us in the next few days for further evaluation.

My wife was the front line parent with our son during the two incidents and she was not at the Dr so there were a few discrepancies between what she told me she thought he said, and what he said he said. Specifically, our son says he never said “I don’t deserve to live”. He did say that “he didn’t deserve his friends and family” and that “he couldn't remember the last time he was happy”. He has since said he knows these things are not true and that he has many happy memories, but that was honestly how he felt at the time.

We are still taking things a day at a time.

GHAS

Sounds about right.
that "cant remember last time had fun" is issue - and yes is depression...and something quite common through society. what type of fun does he think he's not having (the pleasantness for a game, or watch a comedy movie are not the same as "fun"

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-07-2016, 10:08 PM
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Re: Anyone have experience with depressed children?

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Thats odd that the therapist is supposed to reach out to you.
I personally would not wait for the therapist to call, I'd be calling and insisting on the next available appointment.

We had that experience too... In our case we were referred to Behavior Health Dr. associated with the Pedi's Office and they got us in fairly quickly but they really only focus on whether medication is appropriate. Individual Therapy was a completely different story and runs a waiting list up to a few months usually as pediatric mental heath resources, at least in our state, are way under funded and under staffed. You get put to the top of the list if your child is deemed at risk. If you find there is a long waiting list, you can get faster services through DCFS. That's what I did. DCFS is only an option for interim emergency services but it's better than nothing and they help transition to the new team once you make it up the list.

It's one reason I'm afraid to let my kids stop therapy since it can take a long time to get everything in place.

That said, being the squeaky wheel never hurts!
Good luck!

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-08-2016, 08:28 PM
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Re: Anyone have experience with depressed children?

IF the psychiatrist wants to medicate, please research the medication thoroughly and advocate for your son. Certain common meds have been linked to increased violent and suicidal thoughts in teens and have resulted in death. Be very careful. If a medication suggested seems potentially dangerous, refuse it and ask for an alternative or seek another psychiatrist.

My mother, myself, and my siblings were all diagnosed with various forms of depression. My grandmother was never diagnosed, but she committed suicide at 25, so I believe she was also suffering from depression

My mother had so many suicide attempts, she wore bracelets and watches to hide the scars. She also had internal scars from her mouth to her esophagus because she tried to commit suicide once by drinking Drain-o. She tried medication, but she had other medical issues that required treatment to keep her alive and those medications interacted badly with her other medications, so she decided to do therapy without medication.

My sister was diagnosed and medicated as a teen and it was...difficult. She had night terrors, began sleepwalking, had hallucinations, violent thoughts, suicidal thoughts, and slept about 3-4 hours a night at best. She struggled for years before she recently finally found a doctor that worked with her to get her meds adjusted.

My brother got diagnosed as a teen, as well, but he refused medication and still does. I wish he'd do SOMETHING, because as things stand now he is set to self destruct.

I was diagnosed in my mid-30's.

The first med was the most common prescribed and I had side effects. First, I couldn't feel anything. Life was surreal. I was perfectly calm no matter what. I knew I should be feeling happy or angry or frustrated or that I should want to laugh uncontrollably, but I just couldn't really fee it. After a few days, I also experienced the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. It felt like my stomach was using acid to digest molten rock and glass. I went through labor and delivery without drugs, twice, and refused all pain meds after the c-section w #3 and I can honestly say that this pain was worse.

The second med I was on didn't control the depression very well, but at least I could feel emotion and wasn't in excruciating pain. Unfortunately, I was completely unable to orgasm or even really feel aroused. Sex is very important to me and my husband, so...

The third med I was on caused muscle fatigue and allowed me to become very aroused, but not orgasm.

The last med helped a bit and didn't cause any side effects, but it was discovered that I have a thyroid disorder that was likely the root cause of the depression. Since I have been treated for that, I have been able to stop taking anti-depressant/anti-anxiety meds.

I guess the point of my rambling is that sometimes it's not depression due to a brain issue, meds can have some serious side effects, and you aren't alone. Many people were raised with or currently live with someone who has depression.

Here's hoping it is just teen angst and temporary exhaustion from being an active kid.

Follow the evidence where it leads and question everything.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-15-2016, 03:53 AM
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Re: Anyone have experience with depressed children?

Depression is something that should be given proper medication and therapy. We won't understand what they are thinking. It is one of the dangerous states and at times we won't be able to control their emotions.
My younger sister was diagnosed with depression when she was 15 years old. She had so many suicide attempts and we were scared to leave her alone. She tried medication but it was not that effective. She has been struggling for years with this depression and now she consulted Dr. Eliana Cohen in Toronto ( Mood Disorders (Depression) | Dr. Eliana Cohen & Associates ). I could see a great change in her behavior. I think she is having a good relationship with this doc which she didn't have with any of her previous doctors.
A good relationship with the doctor is very important for patients recovery.
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