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.

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