Parenting with depression
October 23, 2019 5:31 AM   Subscribe

Kids are still a hypothetical for me, but as a person who lives with depression, I wonder about how it might affect family life. What can a parent do to keep their depression from negatively affecting their children? Responses from children of parents with depression and from parents with depression themselves especially appreciated.
posted by ocherdraco to Human Relations (26 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Choose a supportive partner: someone who provides you the space to care for yourself the way you need to and doesn’t put you down for it behind your back. My dad made his contempt for my mom’s struggles clear in some ways that really weren’t appropriate, especially given that I was an adolescent at the time. He’s mellowed a lot with age but I absorbed considerable fear and self hatred because of those conversations.
posted by eirias at 5:56 AM on October 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


I don’t have access to this article, but according to the abstract it looked at what factors of the parent-child relationship are associated with children being resilient in the face of maternal depression*. It looks like low control and low over involvement, and high warmth are associated with resilience. In my experience that make sense. Parental warmth is really the biggest thing; even if you can’t be the perfect parent or use every teaching moment or whatever, if you have a warm and positive relationship with your kids that’ll buffer pretty much everything else.

*obligatory ‘I’m annoyed at how much we focus on maternal depression and ignore paternal depression as if that’s the only one that could possibly affect the kids’
posted by brook horse at 6:45 AM on October 23, 2019 [14 favorites]


As an adult who grew up with a parent who had periodic depression—while it’s ok to be honest about it, please resist the urge to share too much with your children. My parent would sometimes share feelings of despair, hopelessness, etc with me at length, and while it may have been cathartic, it left me with feeling that I somehow needed to “fix” the situation. While I know it was unintentional, that was a big burden for a kid.
posted by bookmammal at 6:50 AM on October 23, 2019 [30 favorites]


I have clinical depression and anxiety and have two adult children. First, I got medication and therapy when it was clear to me and my partner that what I had been doing to mitigate my mental health wasn't working anymore. Second, we were always, always open and honest with our children about my condition (with recognition to bookmammal's point that we didn't share too much); basically, mom has mental health issues, here's what they are, none of this is your fault or your job to fix, here's what she does to feel better, you can always come to us if you have concerns, etc.

I worked really hard with my therapist and my partner to never let my anxiety get in the way of my kids living full lives, taking risks, learning to detach. They've both been super honest with us about their own struggles and I believe that's at least partly because we taught them that there is no shame in having mental health struggles.

On the other side, my mother had (has) incredible anxiety and that totally affected every part of my childhood/adolescence. She still freaks out over the most benign things; me traveling, my daughter going to college in another state, my son (who is almost 23, btw) living downtown (even though it's perfectly safe), etc. I definitely didn't want to raise my kids like that.
posted by cooker girl at 7:45 AM on October 23, 2019 [18 favorites]


It's super difficult, and extra super difficult if you have anxiety about new people and groups. Source: the last 12 years as the less messed-up parent.
posted by turkeybrain at 8:18 AM on October 23, 2019


Gently, describing someone who struggles with mental health issues as "messed up" is not helpful and can actually be incredibly damaging. Please don't.
posted by cooker girl at 8:23 AM on October 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


Sorry, it does not have this connotation for me. This is a phrase I use for all manner of physical ailments. Acknowledged, since my aim is absolutely not to say hurtful things.
posted by turkeybrain at 8:30 AM on October 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I grew up with a depressed father. I only realized that in retrospect, because that's not how it was recognized or defined at the time. It was not a good experience – there was a lot of anger in that house. I would not recommend parenthood to someone unable to get a handle on their mood, sorry if this is not supportive enough.
posted by zadcat at 8:33 AM on October 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


If you’re going to be the one going through pregnancy, antenatal and post-partum depression can feel different than “normal” depression, especially when combined with sleep deprivation. The lows were really, really low for me after my baby was born, but I was too exhausted to bother to cry (whereas crying was usually my signal that my “normal” depression is back). After a while, irritability seemed to be my new depression signal, which is a bit of a mind-fuck because kids can be irritating a lot, so what’s excessive irritability? And there’s the extra spiral of guilt about not enjoying your kids as much as you should, etc. etc. I had to try out multiple therapists because some didn’t comprehend my kid’s specific chronic health condition, and I needed help learning to cope with the baseline level of anxiety needed to keep him alive (medication schedules, strict diet, frequent hospitalizations) vs. extra anxiety that I could try to let go.

My dad has had untreated depression and major anxiety for at least the last 30 years. It has taken being an adult myself to realize how that affected my childhood, and even now that I can see it, I have a hard time figuring out if his behavior is/was due to mental illness vs. him just being an asshole. His depression and anxiety made doing things outside of the routine or trying new things very difficult. He rarely left the house aside from work and my siblings’ sporting events, and now he’s basically a hermit. I was scared of angering him during most of my childhood, and it seemed really easy to anger him or cause his disapproval in general, but maybe he was just prone to disapproving due to depression. Or due to being an asshole. Either way, I’ve had to learn how to communicate my feelings with other people rather than just shutting down and giving them the silent treatment. I know too much about how my parents’ relationship has been impacted by his untreated mental illness and wish I didn’t. I have always felt bad for my mom for having to deal with it, and maybe during the next part of my life I will better understand her choices. I don’t want my own child to have to think about it like I have.
posted by Maarika at 9:25 AM on October 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Child of depressed and anxious parents here. The thing is, I didn't realize that anything was out of the ordinary growing up. They were unmedicated until recently, and hoo boy do I wish they had looked into that option long, long ago. Fun memories from childhood include rage, bleakness, threats of suicide, throwing things, and violence. They also didn't recognize when I was depressed and anxious, so it took a major event for me to go for treatment for the first time when I was 19. Looking back, I had been depressed since I was 10. If I could go back in time and change something, it would be to have my parents go to therapy, take medication, and acknowledge when they were having difficulty rather than pretending that everything was okay. (The fact that you're asking this question means that you're already doing better than them).
posted by sugarbomb at 9:31 AM on October 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


From my "armchair psychiatrist" perspective, my mom had undiagnosed mental health problems and my dad had his share of issues too. It made our home a place of tension, resentment, and uncertainty, which gave me some pretty distorted ideas about families and how they're supposed to work. I think if Mom's depression had been diagnosed and managed properly, our family could have functioned a lot better, but without any support she just tried to slog through everything in a gray fog which frequently erupted into rage.

Looking back on it, I think Mom would have had a much better life if she had not had children. (And I think she knew it herself, but she felt pressured to produce grandkids ...) I would say that depression and kids are not a good combination, unless you have a good support system (spouse/partner, therapist, medication, friends, whatever it takes for you). If you're not very confident in your support system before you have kids, it's probably a sign that your support system won't be good enough after you have kids. So either try to improve your support system or don't have kids - I can tell you, growing up with a depressed parent was bad for everyone and the effects last long beyond childhood. I decided not to have kids in part because I don't want anyone to resent me the way I resented my mom, so please take better care of yourself than my mom did. Best of luck to you, whatever you decide.
posted by Quietgal at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


It depends entirely on your response to depression, in yourself and in your kid(s) if they inherit. My father has bipolar depression and gifted my brother with it. He refused to do anygoddamnthingatall to treat the depression, though my mother begged him to try. As a result, he ruined both of our childhoods and my mother's life. Then, when my brother needed support, he frolicked off and got married a few more times and ruined some more people's lives instead of helping his son. Understand, my father did all this ruining not because of his depression, but because he is an ASSHOLE. Do not be an asshole; do try things to help yourself; do support your children if they inherit the disorder; and you will have done well.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:24 AM on October 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


My dad had bouts of depression that I didn't notice because I was a kid and they were well-managed. Then he developed treatment-resistant depression when I was a teenager. His thinking got so distorted and paranoid that he thought my mom was out to get him so he filed for divorce to "protect himself." He wound up hospitalized for really intensive treatment for a period of months. He was so difficult and upsetting to talk to (blaming my mom for everything, siccing various well-meaning but clueless relatives on me, escalating divorce proceedings and having us at hearings, having our car repo-ed and our house sold out from under us, freezing all bank accounts, doom and gloom every single call) that I had to break off contact for a few years. It was not great, I cannot lie.

After years of experimentation and treatment, my dad finally found something that worked for him and he gradually came back down to earth. We reconciled and we are very close now. He really suffered and everyone around him suffered and it was not his fault. Maybe he could have done more therapy and not just medication earlier? I'm not sure if it would have changed the result. He was good at shielding us from the effects of his minor depression, but everything spun out of control and no one could really help once he got into the treatment resistant depression. When we were little, he was good at saying he wasn't feeling great and he was going to rest for a while and he'd let us know when he felt like playing and it wasn't our fault he felt bad.
posted by *s at 10:30 AM on October 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I decided not to have kids in part because I don't want anyone to resent me the way I resented my mom, so please take better care of yourself than my mom did. Best of luck to you, whatever you decide.

I had a not dissimilar issue. One parent with alcoholism (untreated) and one parent with... something (untreated) that manifested itself in a lot of externalized blame for their conditions which then fell to me. I feel like I could have written a book "I was a great community moderator because I had terrible parents" because I learned to be on the lookout for any sign of dis-ease or problem in advance because if something went wrong in the household (or two households because they later divorced) it fell on me to fix it. I got sent to therapy because my own parents were terrible (at parenting, they were pretty good human beings) and wanted to fix me instead of themselves. I was a child, this was bullshit.

One of the things that is sometimes said of depression or anxiety is that it can manifest sometimes as narcisism. Not that this is intentional, but just that many people who wind up with metal health issues can get sort of stuck in them and their treatment/management and have a hard time putting someone else's priorities ahead of their own. Certainly not everyone, but it can be worth paying attention to that failure mode. I, too, had a parent who would overshare about their own misery and that was inappropriate of them. It was really hard for me, as an adult, to be in adult relationships as someone managing her own anxiety because everything I'd learned was how to just wallow in my own problems and blame other people for them. No one wants to date that person and I don't blame them. I am doing better now.

I agree with others, if you have a good support system and have a metal illness that is mostly "under control" (however that works for you such that you're on top of it and it's not negatively affecting your life in out of control ways) I don't see any reason to let that stand in the way of having kids. But if you have depression that is difficult to manage or you don't feel that you are in a place where you have support if you are having your own challenges, I don't think it's fair to children who have no other options but you.
posted by jessamyn at 10:47 AM on October 23, 2019 [15 favorites]


I think that having a supportive and 100% non-depressed co-parent helped my kids a lot. Essentially, having as many other loving trusted people around as possible is ideal (and sometimes reduces the worst depression sinks too).

That said, if I had it to do all over again... I wouldn't. I worked incredibly hard to force myself to rise to the occasion despite depression, and while I think putting that effort in has left my kids a lot healthier than they would be otherwise, my level of burnout now is soooo high. I generally don't think people should have kids unless they desperately want them, as in it would be painfully hard for them to get through life without that experience. This is doubly so for those of us with mental health problems.
posted by metasarah at 10:50 AM on October 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


My dad has had depression for at least my entire life. My mom had various issues that she never got diagnosed because admitting something was wrong was just not something she could handle. My dad drank to self-medicate depression. My childhood was not pleasant: while my parents were reliable about feeding me and keeping up appearances, I learned very quickly not to trust them with anything personal and not to expect much. My mom was abusive, and my dad's depression and self-medication meant he never stepped in to stop her, didn't pay much attention, didn't want to hear about it. As an adult I'm aware that because of how I grew up I have no idea what "normal" parenting looks like, and this is one of many factors in my decision against raising children. The big factor is just that I'm aware that it's a ton of work and I don't want to come home from my actual job to do childcare, but that I grew up in a seriously dysfunctional environment and don't want to pass that on is significant.

I'm also strongly of the opinion that you should have kids only if you cannot meet your need to be around children in any other way, because it's just such a huge commitment. So my serious advice is to start small, like by volunteering with kids, and see how you feel from there and what you might need to work on if you do decide to raise kids.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:19 AM on October 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


I spent ages 15-20 in a deep dark hole and clawing my way out of it was the hardest thing I've ever done, so I didn't have a kid until I'd been okay for a decade and had plenty of practice minimizing, recognizing and handling relapses. Well-established medication regimen, supportive habits (diet/exercise/sleep/etc.), strong network of friends, family, and care providers. I would not have attempted it any earlier.

Mostly it has been fine. For me, the hardest part has been that having a kid makes it harder both to recognize and to address some of the signals of depression so that I can deal with it before it gets bad. All of the things that are usually red flags for me--extreme fatigue, emotional swings, sleep and appetite disruptions, irritability--are a normal part of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and raising young children. It's very hard to know when to worry. And the things that help--medication, exercise, good sleep hygiene, therapy, time outdoors, time with friends--can be much harder to do, logistically and financially, now that I have a kid. A supportive partner could help with both recognizing the symptoms and helping you find time/space/funds to address them; I just did not have one of those.

I have tried to be open with my kid, in age-appropriate terms, about that fact that I have depression and that it's a kind of sickness. Also that it sometimes makes me extra tired or grumpy and that it's because I'm sick, not because of her, and that it'll get better if I take good care of myself the same way I take good care of her when she's sick (medicine, doctors, rest, exercise). I am probably more tired and irritable than some parents, but not to an extent that is going to be harmful to my kid in any long-lasting way.

I honestly don't know if being open with my kid to that extent is the right thing to do or not. I certainly don't want to burden a five-year-old. But my mom had mild untreated depression my whole childhood and never talked about it, and I of course thought her unhappiness was all my fault, so I don't want my kid to feel that way. And given the history of mental illness on both sides of my kid's family, I think it is terribly likely that she'll experience it herself at some point. The possibility that I'll pass that legacy on to her is devastating, honestly, but if it comes for her I want her to know what it is, that it's nothing to be ashamed of, that I've managed it for years and created a good life that I love despite it, and that she can do the same.
posted by xylothek at 1:33 PM on October 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


My ex refused to admit he had depression until we were divorcing. I think it’s helped him now he’s gotten treatment in his fifties, but he has a distant emotional relationship with his older kids as a result. I had therapy and medication for what turned out to be anxiety and ptsd, not depression, and I think it helped in some ways because It normalised that mental health stuff was ordinary stuff of life. I’d rather not have it and a million dollars, but there are ways to build a thoughtful and resilient family around it. You need support, practical stuff like family or friends to help with meals and housework during bad days and play dates and conversations, and also therapy and meds as necessary. You can’t do it alone or be full-on, you need recovery time built in. But it’s possible to do it with thriving happy children.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:32 PM on October 23, 2019


My mom's had depression and anxiety and likely some sort of other mood disorder my entire life, she's almost a shut in at this point unfortunately and has cut most of her friendships and family ties off. I ended up being codependent with her and it's taken me years and therapy and work to have some perspective on it. She overshared to varying extents with all of my siblings which isn't great (some took a very long time to leave home, and one still hasn't out of obligation to her), and she let her biases affect the messages she conveyed to me via sharing a lack of belief in my abilities growing up like "I could never do that" or straight out "you can't do that!" when I went more out into the world and got my first jobs, that wasn't helpful as I was a shy and anxious child to begin with. I've always just wanted her to be happy, but nothing I do can really make her happy, and that's been hard and I ended up parenting her over the years which wasn't healthy. As she gets older she isolates herself more and I have to make so much effort and put up with her moods to try to spend time with her or give my child a relationship with her, at this point in my 30's where I've got my own family I don't have as much patience or energy to devote to the relationship but I still feel a lot of guilt and obligation about it, accepting how things are is a constant practice for me. It's been one of the hardest things in my life to deal with. That said all of us kids are reasonably high functioning (except the one still living with her) and have grown into decent people with stable lives for the most part, like not much worse than several "average" people overall, but I think we were set back several years by not having some healthier role models and my sister and I have been in some really bad relationships where we were care-taking for mentally ill partners in our teens and 20's (our dad was largely absent too and had mental health/addiction issues which also had an impact).

So my takeaways - therapy/treatment for you (my mom has largely resisted opening up to anyone but does take medication sometimes), therapy for your child as they get older especially through the preteens and teens and lots of other role models and outlets. Children just want their parents to be happy, and if they grow up seriously worrying about or taking care of their parent it will have a lasting impact on them. I think it's possible to be depressed and still convey the sense of "okayness with self and life" that allows children to relax and thrive (along with the unconditional acceptance and support of the parent), but the former takes so much more conscious effort imo. I have anxiety myself and I work hard not to pass that sense of unease onto my child. I model positive self talk, normalize difficult feelings, show him how I make healthy choices and generally how to practice self care like "wow, we had a busy day, we're so lucky we can go home and relax" or "I'm going to read my book while you play". I also just let him be if he's contentedly occupied (there is research showing depressed mothers wake up their infants more often because they want the companionship/don't know what to do with themselves), as a mom I've seen how I have urges to overshare or interrupt my child when they're just fine and I try not to. It's simple but very powerful imo to show children how to enjoy simple pleasures, to "just be", to practice self care versus searching for happiness in external things like working too much or shopping or never being still. My mother wasn't able to do that much because she didn't have the self-awareness or tools so I saw unhealthy coping methods (via food and alcohol and relationships and shopping), a lot of misplaced emotion and misdirected anger due to repressed grief, and she didn't have breaks or outlets to take care of herself raising several kids (which I can see now was largely driven by her inability to just be although I have the utmost compassion for how she came to be the way she is).

I also really like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and the related books by Ruth Baer and Kirk Strosahl in that they are very practical and explain some of the unhelpful thinking patterns associated with depression and anxiety.
posted by lafemma at 6:02 PM on October 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


the risk of over-sharing is parentifying your child and straining their organ of responsibility past its natural capacity, but the risk of under-sharing is leaving them with a vast cloud of paranoia and lifelong mistrust of any surface assurances, with the conviction that something has always been wrong at home & inside but nobody can say what, because those who know won't say and those who don't know can't ask.

so, do a little of both, and try to explain yourself. in the simplest of ways, the way even enlightened and communicative parents sometimes forget is necessary because it is so basic: Yes, I'm feeling unhappy, and I know you notice even if I don't mention it. It's because of (whatever mental health explanation). I don't want to talk about it too much because it's not always good for kids to listen to grown-up problems. but you can always ask questions. and you can always talk about your own feelings with me, in as much detail as you want, because I'm your parent and it's my responsibility to take care of you more than you take care of me.

there are a million parents who would basically endorse this way of thinking and try to behave accordingly, but never once articulate it out loud. the best rationale in the world for disclosure or non-disclosure is useless to a child if they don't know you have that rationale because you never told them.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:52 PM on October 23, 2019 [11 favorites]


I want to emphasize how mental illness can present as narcissism. My mother's intense anxiety made everything about her feelings and how I as her child could manage them because she had no friends and no therapist. If I failed to mollify her every worry, I was hurting her on purpose; it was my job to fix this. In such an environment, her anxiety was guaranteed to get passed on to me, with all the surety and speed of a case of measles in an exclusive campground full of wee unvaccinated Mikayleahs and Braydens.

A dear friend had a similar, but much worse, childhood. Her mother essentially considered her daughter to be a part of herself because there was no one else in her life to help her manage her mental illness. She would co-opt her daughter's friends and try to impress them, read her journal entries without permission-- things like that. When she threatened suicide, she would casually include her child in the situation, for instance saying something like "I think I should just poison our food and be done with it". She needed friends and she needed a therapist.

If you want to have children and you have a mental illness, you need friends and you need a therapist. Explaining your situation to a child and why you act a certain way sometimes is fine. But it really, really needs to end there.
posted by the liquid oxygen at 7:35 AM on October 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


My own parents were both depressed when I was a child. They used substances, neglect, and violence instead of strong relationships and therapy to manage their lives and emotions. They blamed us children for their own failures, and of course, our own. Our coping mechanisms were mocked or punished. My family had a strong ethos of "don't air dirty laundry on the front porch." This was understood to mean that telling anyone of unpleasant or dangerous things going on in our home was not for sharing. When I confided in my mother that I was being sexually abused her response was "that's not a nice thing to say about somebody."

So that's a concise list of what not to do. It also may not be surprising to learn that I am also a depressed person. I'm currently in therapy to work on a bunch of stuff around maybe having kids. Because if I'm going to do it, I need to have some stronger versions of the DBT skills I already have.

My advice to people considering having a child now is to understand what a good enough parent really is. There is research on this. John and Julie Gottman's work started with studying childhood attachment and the realization was that the best predictor of children's later successes and struggles were the relationships their caretakers had with each other. Have solid healthy relationships with not just your parenting partner, but with as many loving adult people as you can. Have folks you know you can call at two in the afternoon and say "I need you to come over tonight so I can take a bath/a walk/a swim" and if that friend can't come over, they can activate a phone tree of people you already trust with your kids.

Have people you can call to complain, have people you can call to action, have people you can call to celebrate.

A huge area of anxiety for lots of parents is around eating, especially around their own food, but also manifested in controlling children's eating. There's a lot of stuff that really harms children. Check out Ellyn Satter's work on the division of responsibility. Some of this is counterintuitive for many people. Start practicing thinking this way now so you're not caught off guard when it gets really hard with a toddler.

And maybe listen to the One Bad Mother podcast. They've covered a lot of ground, with some surprises along the way. And they've developed a community around the podcast, so there might be some one bad mothers in your area already.
posted by bilabial at 7:52 AM on October 24, 2019 [11 favorites]


Maarika's childhood sounds a lot like mine. One angry parent with undiagnosed anxiety and depression, the other with a chronic illness (treated, mostly) and depression (untreated and unacknowledged).

None of that was talked about, and most of it seemed normal until later - when we children were independent and figuring out our own health issues (likewise unacknowledged in the family).

Looking back, I would not say my parents shouldn't have been parents - but our family unit was a sick system. Walking on eggshells, silent treatments. Conspiring with one parent against the other. Ganging up on the "oversensitive" child because sarcasm is the best. So...more of what not to do?

My parents joined a church when I was a teenager - the dynamics in the family were set by then, but I think it helped all of us to have that social outlet.
posted by mersen at 10:53 AM on October 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


As a physician, you will compartmentalize what you see, hear, and do. When this skill at stuffing things in locked boxes overlaps with depression, it can be hard on loved ones, the people who are looking for openness, connection, relationship...sometimes at 3 a.m., after a bad dream, or because a favorite toy has gone missing, on that night when you're exhausted and you've had to deliver really bad news to patients. I do not know what the literature is on physicians and retaining emotional connection, or on physician depression and family life, but I'd urge you to find it. bilabial is 100 percent correct here: "Have solid healthy relationships with not just your parenting partner, but with as many loving adult people as you can."
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:58 PM on October 25, 2019


Jumping in belatedly to say something that I hope has not already been said—that it can be remarkably unnerving and heartbreaking and hard (hard, hard) to struggle up through the muck of your own young adult depression and find yourself face to face with a child who seemingly inherited your affliction and confronts it daily, and for years.
posted by baseballpajamas at 6:47 PM on October 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


There's a saying everyone on my wife's side of the family uses, Family is family. I've always rather liked that. It really gets to the heart of the matter about acceptance and the "we're all in this together" nature of having a family.

My wife suffers from significant depression, generally managed by drugs, but there are still days when she struggles to get out of bed, and she can't help but cry a lot. And I've got two kids who also have been diagnosed with depression+, with my son the + is anxiety and with my daughter, it's also anxiety but there's a bit OCD as well. She's also on the spectrum.

I've never been diagnosed with depression but then again, I don't usually bring it up with my doctor. I tend to self medicate when things get difficult. I've been good about keeping it in check but it still worries me.

I knew my wife suffered depression when we decided to have kids. Looking back at it now, I was more concerned about my brothers' Down syndrome being passed on, but that typically surfaces every other generation. I knew we'd be kicking the can down the road on that one. It would be my kids' decision to make. Though my nephew, my sister's kid, had a malformed heart with holes between the chambers, which is another manifestation of the same genetic trait, so I did worry a bit about that.

Of course, it turned out that my age was likely the factor I should have been more concerned about. We had our first kid when I was 40 and my wife was 28. And research now is showing a correlation between older fathers and kids on the spectrum. It's not like I feel blame, but I do wonder if I had kids when I was younger if that would have been avoided.

I certainly don't regret having kids knowing the risk, but I also don't think of depression as unnatural or something to avoid. Debilitating depression sucks, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but there also seems a connection between depression and creativity and genius, and hell yes I want my kids to be extraordinary.

My wife and I just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary, and the kids are in the middle of their adolescence and I've got to say, I've loved every minuted of it. The thing is, even those who suffer depression can be happy. We are a very happy family. Yeah, there are arguments, and sometimes that conflict can come from the angry part of depression, but because we all know what it feels like, we can all be more empathetic and helpful of the family member suffering. And I think all of us being exposed to each other's depression has helped all of us to be more mindful and aware when we're struggling.

I guess I'm trying to say it is harder, but in my case it was definitely worth the risk. I'm so glad I'm with my wife and I really love my kids. And if anything, we've all come out of it much better people than if we never tried to be a family.
posted by Stanczyk at 6:54 AM on November 2, 2019 [2 favorites]


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