Saturday, November 3, 2012

How do we know our child's depressed in grief?

Depression in grief was sometimes hard to shake. It came in the first year of widowhood and then made another appearance in the second year. Since I wasn't normally prone to depression, it frustrated me even more that I would be in that state. Logically, I knew that I had to be proactive to pull myself out of it.

Fighting the blues meant paying less attention to my girls. I also knew I'd be no help to them if depression pulled me under. So I did whatever was in my power to fight it. I forced myself to pray, exercise, eat well, sleep enough and keep social.

I then took a trip to visit some friends. As I sat on the beach one night and gazed at the sunset, I felt God's peace. I realized I had to appreciate what I had and life wasn't all that bad. I had wonderful friends and God created such a beautiful world. My mood started to pick up and I was able to conquer my depression.

Back at home a new school year began. When report cards came out, I was shocked. "Jessica! Your grades dropped!" Jessica turned the TV on and sat down in front of it. "So." I pushed on. " need to study more." Jessica looked at me. "I don't want to." I flipped the TV off. "You have chores to do, also!"

"You can't make me do anything!" Jessica stormed out to the garage, hopped on her bike and sped down the road. I stood there, speechless. She's nine years old and running away. She hates her life. She returned 20 minutes later. After dinner, she was restricted to her room. She fell asleep early, without a fight.

Before I went to bed, I peeked in her room. She had put a picture of her daddy next to her bed. So that's what this is about! Why didn't I see it? She's still hurting and is depressed. I realized that my daughter had lived through not only the loss of her father, but also from the loss of love from her mother.

Finally out of my depression, I had to help my daughter out of hers and let her know that life wasn't that bad and I was here to love her!


Samantha Light-Gallagher said...

Sometimes it takes time to realize what are children are still going through after they lose a parent. My oldest child began eating to sooth his pain. I didn't even realize it until I saw the changes in his body. Then I began to look through his room and I would find wrappers and cans stuffed away. Some in his closet, others under his bed and even more in his pillow case. I never understood how he slept comfortably with a can of baked beans stuck in his pillow case. We went to a nutritionist to help us with it. Although challenging, it was well worth it.

Red said...

Being attuned to your children is more difficult when you are emotional. Being able to talk to them helps. Two of my sons are non-verbal. Battling the blues with either of them is a bit more challenging than the other children.

His Sparrow said...

Good to see you on the blog hop Cindy - this is fun!
Our daughter was 22 when her Dad died - in the early morning hours of the same day she graduated from college - goodness - she went into a "shock mode" and made it through the day. She tells me now she remembers very little of the day. That was 18 months ago - thankfully we have been able to help each other and have not had too many days when we were both doing badly at the same time.

Ferree Bowman Hardy said...

Just hopped over to say I love this, Cindy.

Cindy Adams said...

It's so heartbreaking to see our children hurt. I can see how eating would become a comforter in grief like your child did, Samantha, and become very dangerous. And sometimes, the left behind spouse has a hard time seeing it because they're hurting too like Red said. And when I hear other stories, such as "His Sparrows" child, who's father died on her graduation day....I want to cry out...WHY???...And the kids live through it, like we do. And most of us become stronger because of it and this is why we write about it so our stories can help others. Thank you all for sharing:)

Mark Pattinson said...

We need to keep talking with our child time to time. Conversation can only solve problems and keep depression away.

Witness said...

I created a spy account to view my daughters Facebook Page. It was only then that I noticed how deeply depressed she is 6 years after the loss of her Oompa. I took for granted that she was doing okay since she was not crying, but she held it all in. She is not a writer, but every September for the past three years she's blogged about my dad. I never ever imagined the depth of my child's pain. Now I see why she was so angry. I too had to reevaluate how I was handling my own grief in relation to my child. Thanks again for posting, Cindy!

Cindy Adams said...

Yes, I agree that talking about what happened is one of the best ways to conquer depression. It was easier to talk to my friends than to my daughters at times. And it also helped that I handled my grief first so that I could see more clearly the grief my girls were going through. Not an easy journey, but we are all stronger today, with God's help, of course:)