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To the Parents of a Child Who Has Depression

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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.


Originally published: September 4, 2015
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