Why is my child depressed?

I Got Major Depressive Disorder

I Got Major Depressive Disorder (Photo credit: 囧-Jean-囧)

Sometimes, a depressed child goes unrecognized because he/she is normally quiet, shy and introverted. Other people may comment that “Joe/Mary seems depressed.” Parents dismiss this as just a natural part of the personality of the child. This is not to say that all shy, quiet children are depressed. How can parents know whether their child is actually depressed?

Everybody has periods of depression. It may last a day or two, a couple of weeks or even a few months, but there is always an understandable reason for normal depression.

Major life changes, such as parents divorcing, a parent getting married again, moving too far away from friends to continue a close relationship, death of someone loved, sexual abuse and the battering of one parent by the other are some common reasons that children become depressed.

Each child is different. What causes depression in some children, will not affect others to that degree. Depression tends to run in families. If a parent is prone to depression, a major life event will likely trigger depression in the child. The personality of the child, family support, number of close friends and general health of the child all play a role in how he handles major life changes.

If a child is a perfectionist, a few less-than-perfect grades may throw her into depression. A child who is too active in extra-curricula activities may begin to suffer health-wise due to lack of sleep and rest or an unhealthy diet. When he is no longer able to handle all these activities and his grades begin to suffer, he may become depressed.

Something as seemingly innocent as the death of a pet, a fight with a best friend or the break-up with a school crush can trigger depression in those who have a propensity. Anyone dealing with chronic pain has a tendency to become depressed. There is no way to protect or shield a child from every known and unknown trigger of depression.

How do you know when your child is depressed? A child who loses interest in things he normally enjoys, who withdraws from family activities and doesn’t see the humor in life the way he once did, is probably depressed about something. Eating habits will change and your child may stop caring about her appearance. He may refuse to take phone calls and begin to sleep quite a bit more than usual.

Any pronounced change in a child that lasts longer than a couple of weeks should be investigated. The longer depression goes unchecked, the more difficult and time-consuming it will be to treat. Depression can spiral out of control and reach the stage of becoming suicidal.

Depression is an illness that must be treated the same way that a diabetic must receive treatment to prevent the illness from worsening or leading to death. There is no shame in being depressed. Clinical depression can often be treated with medication and counseling.

Natural treatments include taking serotonin supplements, getting more sunshine, eating fresh foods instead of processed foods, and adding folate to the diet. “Researchers at Harvard University have found that depressed people with low folate levels don’t respond as well to antidepressants, and taking folic acid in supplement form can improve the effectiveness of antidepressants. For more information, read Low Folate and Vitamin B12 Linked to Depression.” This quote is taken from alternative medicine.

Adding omega-3 fatty acid supplements and magnesium may help, as some people with depression are deficient. Vitamin B6 is needed to help produce the necessary serotonin. Make sure there is a deficiency before adding supplements.

Telling someone who is depressed ‘to just get over it’ will not work any better than telling someone who has cancer to ‘just cure yourself’. Someone with an understandable reason for depression will generally get past it as time moves on. If, after 12 months, the person has made no progress, make an appointment with his pediatrician. Make an appointment sooner if his condition worsens at any time.

When there is no clear reason for a child to become depressed, begin by gently asking questions about her sudden change in attitude. If a child refuses to speak with a parent, find someone she trusts to intercede. Depression can rob a child of precious childhood memories by keeping him from making any. It can lead to a lifetime disability, failed marriages and poor job performance.

Why is your child depressed? Has something recently happened that has caused your child grief, sorrow, sadness, embarrassment, humiliation, anger or disappointment? Some life events may not affect adults in the same way they do children. Ask your child why he is suddenly sad, angry or withdrawn. Who knows, you may actually get an answer.

Love your child, don’t smother him. Make sure she knows she has your support, but don’t enable her depression by making excuses to others on her behalf. Don’t freak out every time your child is moody. This is just a normal child being normal.

Dealing with Christmas stress

Whether you look forward to Christmas every year or dread the very thought of Christmas, either way, there is stress involved. Christmas has become time-consuming and expensive and is rife with opportunities for misunderstandings.

When you consider all the Christmas parties you and/or your children are expected to attend, all the family gatherings and all the food you have to prepare, it is little wonder that stress comes with Christmas.

Some stress is good for the mind and body, but too much can cause physical illness. If you notice excess hair falling out, daily headaches, insomnia, muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, inability to tolerate minor nuisances, anxiety or sudden weight gain several weeks before Christmas, you probably suffer from Christmas stress.

Natural treatments for periodic stress include:

  • Understanding the cause of your stress by writing in a journal: Whenever you feel your muscles tensing up and your anxiety rising, make a note of your symptoms and what took place just prior to the symptoms. For instance, you receive a phone call form a sibling about whose house will be used for the family Christmas gathering and you feel a headache coming on, write, “Sue called, where to meet for Christmas, head began to ache.”
  • When you can see the pattern of cause and effect, you can begin to deal with the issues.
  • Drink chamomile or green tea to help calm your nerves. Use a small amount of honey to sweeten.
  • Ask your spouse, friend or relative to massage your neck and shoulders where tension usually settles.
  • Lie down for 20 to 30 minutes in a dark room with soft, soothing music playing.
  • Exercise: Do some stretches to keep muscles from becoming tense.

If Christmas events cause you great stress, you might want to make new traditions that will lessen the stress and bring back the joy you once had at Christmas. Too many activities, too little time, too little rest and sleep and too little money to spend on gifts equals a great deal of stress.

Always remember that you are in charge of your life. You decide what you are willing to do, with whom, where and when. You can’t please everyone no matter how much effort you put into trying. No one expects you to be perfect. If they do, the problem belongs to them, not you.

Have one Christmas gathering for each side of the family. Draw names for gifts or agree that all gifts will cost no more than five dollars and will be functional, usable gifts. Gifts can also be handmade, re-purposed or come from a thrift store.

Begin a new Christmas tradition of baking cookies with the entire family where each makes their favorite kind, then exchanges so that each person has a dozen of each kind. This can take the place of a formal gathering with the exchanging of gifts.

Don’t give in to emotional blackmail. No one can make you feel guilty unless you allow them. The more you know about your own expectations, the easier it will be to make a stand for your beliefs and your values.

Enjoy this Christmas and end the stress that robs you of your joy.

Tropical Traditions: Your source for virgin coconut oil

Gold Label Virgin Coconut OilWhen making your own soaps, balms, lotions and other grooming products, there are a number of oils you can use. I use coconut oil because it is rich and creamy and I love the fragrance of coconut. Think long, lazy days, the beach, suntan lotion and the warmth of the summer sun. The key is using high quality oils like those sold by Tropical Traditions. One lucky person will win one quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut oil to use for the holidays. With a full 32-oz. jar of coconut oil to use, you can make the rich, creamy fudge and the hand-crafted soaps for grandma this year.

Although Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, I was under no obligation to review this product. Neither was I obligated to write a positive review or sponsor a giveaway in return for the free sample.

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut OilYou can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. In my opinion, the coconut oil from Tropical Traditions is superior to all others I have used in making my natural grooming products. The taste of Gold Label just has to be experienced to appreciate how much better it tastes and performs than other oils.

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

Since there are hundreds of uses for coconut oil, you may appreciate these recipes by Tropical Traditions. Yes, virgin coconut oil can be used to make delicious cakes, pies, desserts and more, like creamy black and white toasted coconut fudge.

Click on the link below to enter for your free 32-oz. jar of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. The giveaway starts November 27 and ends December 18, 2012. Enter once a day until the giveaway ends.
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Buy virgin coconut oil from Tropical Traditions today. They have a money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose. Receive bonus entries by doing the following:

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If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Happy Thanksgiving

Sometimes, we may not be able to see it, but everyone has something to be thankful for. Maybe you’ve recently lost a good job, lost a loved-one or received bad news from the IRS. Whatever your hardship is in life, there will always be someone who has lost more, been through more, and has more pain and suffering than you can imagine. So, how does the problems of others make your problems any less painful or difficult to deal with? They don’t.

Knowing that someone is living in a cardboard box and the temperature is 30 degrees Fahrenheit and they have only a rag to cover up with should help you be thankful for a house, heat and basic comforts. If it doesn’t, finding something to be thankful for is not your problem. 

There are people living without arms or legs and sometimes, without all four limbs. They get up every day and make the most of it. Even if your problems feel overwhelming and there appears to be no way out of trouble, take a deep breath, let it out slowly and repeat until the fear subsides. In a calm state of mind, count the things you have to be thankful for. Doing this will help you realize that you don’t have to face your problems all by yourself. Your life is full of possibilities.

If you still feel all alone and that there are no answers to your situation, talk to someone who can see possibilities that you are not able to see. Talk to a minister – doesn’t have to be your own – talk to a grandparent, they have lived it all and know things you don’t know; talk to social services, call a help line in your phone directory or Google your problem and look at all the ways it can be handled.

As long as you have life, you have an opportunity to solve any problem. If you know Jesus, you know you have a solution. If you don’t know Jesus, get to know Him. He is the only one who promised peace to those who accept Him. No one else ever promised this. It is a wonderful feeling. I recommend it highly.

I am thankful for Jesus, family, friends and for you. Without you, to whom would I be talking? God bless and Happy Thanksgiving every day.