To the Parents of a Child Who Has Depression

Dear mothers and fathers,

You did nothing wrong. Depression is not your fault. Your child’s depression is not your fault. It’s the darkness that overtakes them, you and your family.

You did nothing wrong.

There’s something you don’t understand right now. You can’t connect how your sweet, loving daughter or once varsity athlete son is suddenly alone, crying, angry, sleeping or self-harming. They have the perfect life, you think to yourself. But depression is not about what we have or don’t have. Depression is deeper than the money in the bank or the roof over our heads. Depression is the deeply seeded component to our lives that we cannot control with a credit card or praise.

Depression is not your fault.

You did nothing wrong.

I want to grab you by your shoulders and shake some sense into you. This is not about you, I promise. This isn’t because you didn’t love enough or give enough. This isn’t because you work, or don’t work or didn’t go to Disney World. It’s not because you said no to those shorts that were a bit too short. This isn’t because of you. This isn’t your fault. You did nothing wrong.

Now is the time your child needs you to be the parent. The time you need to find them that help. They will fight you, even when they’re really crying out for you. Even from behind dead eyes you think hold no emotion, they’re crying.

I hate you.

They will say it. Your flesh and blood. Your child who knows the difference between right and wrong. Love and hate. They might tell you they hate you. And it will feel true. Right now, it might be. But you did nothing wrong. You are saving your child’s life. You are saving your own. That is your heart, slowing walking outside your body, dying, reaching for you.

This is your time to parent and their time to child. Just for today, you need to adult. Don’t worry about tomorrow yet. Today is here and now. And adulting is hard. It’s more than waking up and putting your feet in your shoes. It’s not going to be easy. But this isn’t your fault. Depression isn’t your fault. You did nothing wrong.

If you’re reading this, I want you to know I’ve been there too. I wanted to die. I hated my mom.

But she saved me.

And I will save you from the thought that you cannot do this. You can. You did nothing wrong and you’re doing so much right. There is help and love and light. There. Is. Light.

You did nothing wrong.


Follow this journey on A Is For Adelaide.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

How We Can Make the World More Inclusive for People With Disabilities

According to the World Health Organization, there are more than one billion people living with some form of disability, making up the largest minority in the world, according to United Nations Enable. Disability has always been a natural part of the human condition. There have always been people with disabilities and there always will be. But [...]

When Friends Think I Live the Easy Life but Are Unaware of My Disability

“People would love to have your schedule,” my friend said when I told him I would be increasing my swimming to four days a week. What was left unsaid in his comment and my internal reaction covered my invisible world of disability. How often have I wondered whether others understood how I must manage every [...]

The Doctor’s Words That Flipped My Perspective on My Son’s Disorder

July 4th weekend always starts off with a bang of some sort, usually fireworks. For my family, though, the bang of Independence Day weekend 2011 was the crumbling of our world as we learned that whatever was wrong with our precious 18-month-old son Andrew would be lifelong, life-altering and likely life-ending. The weekend was a blur [...]

To My Cousin Who Passed Away From the Same Disease My Son Faces Now

Hello, Lexi. I don’t know if you remember me, but we met twice before we had to say our last goodbye. Your mom is my aunt, and when she had you, I first learned of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). I remember your room was filled with machines that sustained your life, and you required intense [...]