I was faced by a persistent depression and there have been times when I was really struggling to be happy and content with my life. One of those times was when I was a kid. As a kid, I was a very shy and subtle girl. I was easily bullied by other kids and as a result of that I kept losing my self-confidence and it also affected my self-esteem. But even as a kid, I figured out some of my strengths that really kept my spirits high. I kept working on those strengths all throughout college and later in professional life. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. It was a constant struggle to not fall back to that “low-confidence me”.
Depression affects kids in a very different way than it affects an adult. Adults have an understanding of their own feelings, kids struggle to put their feelings in words. In my case, I never wanted to go out and play with other kids, I would not make any efforts to make friends with somebody, I would never want to share anything with anybody (food or toys or likewise). I was constantly scared that I would be made fun of. Anything that I wanted to say had to be repeated a hundred times in my head to ensure I am not bullied because of something that I say. All this was happening at its maximum when I was between 6 to 13 years of age. Somehow things changed when I entered my teens and life began to look better. I remember even having suicidal thoughts when I was about 10 years or so. There was a constant feeling “nobody needs me”.
I never shared any of this with my parents because I felt that they would never understand. Keep an eye out for your child. It is important to keep the communication channels very open. Observe for little changes in his/her behavior. Don’t just take things for granted, question “Why is your child behaving the way she/he is”. Most importantly, don’t label your child as extrovert, introvert, naughty, outspoken etc. When you label your child, you tend to look at your child in the light of the label and you would stop questioning the behavior of your child. Your child needs you the most during the difficult times like these. Stop everything else in your life to just ensure that your child is not under this demon named “depression”.