My Mom Doesn't Understand My Depression


My mom and I have a pretty great relationship. She lets me call her when my animals do something cute, when I need the same recipe for the hundredth time and when I’m bored. She helps me “adult” despite being over three hours away. She has always tried to support my dreams and goals. But there’s something that we struggle to communicate about: my depression.

I have struggled with depression since I was a young child. As a teenager to young adult, I also developed a sleep disorder, not related to my depression, but that increased my symptoms. I finally admitted something was wrong when I was 15. I told my mom I wanted to see a counselor and she drove me an hour to the city every week and paid for the sessions and meds. I began to improve, but I was still tired and grouchy constantly. Until about a year ago, this was attributed to depression. She tried so hard to connect and motivate me through those years of high school. I was constantly grouchy, irritable and distant. She never gave up though.

In college I made it two years before having to drop out and return home to get help and relieve some stress. My mom helped pay for me to move, helped me move in with my aunt and uncle and went with me to seek care. She helped get me to a sleep study. When I started meds for the sleep disorder my depression symptoms lessened, I had energy, I was social. We sat down and talked about how this is how she had always wanted me to feel, more like myself.

When I went back to school last August she was right beside me, cheering me on. When a severe depression spell hit in March, she stood by me though she didn’t understand the sudden onset of it. She did her best to help me through the weeks long spell that almost caused my failure of the semester.

My mom doesn’t understand my depression, but she stands up for me, stands with me and tries to help. We are still learning how to communicate openly about it. We have come a long way from the exhausted teenager to friends. She doesn’t always get it, but she’s always there for me.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo via contributor.


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


Related to Depression

A woman meditating

How I Became a Mindfulness Convert

In 2011, I was asked to participate in an experimental National Health Service course called Mindfulness for Depression. Back then, mindfulness was not yet mainstream. Adult coloring books promising instant zen had not yet landed on the shelves of Rymans, and living in the moment and paying attention were good ideas, rather than million dollar [...]
young woman wearing a hat looking sad

Why I Don't Tell Anyone About My Depression

Have you ever had pins and needles? That feeling of numbness, “static” in your feet or legs? If you had it and someone were to say “come on, get up and run,” it would be pretty darn hard or frustrating to do without stumbling, wouldn’t it? You’d tell them to wait until the pain subsides [...]
two wooden spoons holding salt and pepper on wooden board in warm light

What Spoon Theory Means to Me as Someone Living With Mental Illness

When I first heard the word “spoons” used in a mental health setting, I didn’t really get what it meant. After all, a spoon definitely isn’t a conventional unit of measurement. I went out onto Google and looked up “mental health spoons,” and found Christine Miserandino’s personal essay that started it all, and I realized [...]
A woman sitting on a fence

Maybe I Need to Redefine Happiness

I recently read this quote by Beau Taplin: “I’m beginning to recognize that real happiness isn’t something large and looming on the horizon ahead, but something small, numerous and already here. The smile of someone you love. A decent breakfast. The warm sunset. Your little everyday joys all lined up in a row.” It got [...]