Seeing your mom or dad in a depressive state more often than not has a vast impact on the offspring’s perspective. Questions like “Is it because of something I did or didn’t do?” and “Am I not enough reason for them to be happy?” may start filling your head at one point. But understand from here on out that it may not even be because of you.
Parents tend to experience some depression when they go through a significant change. It can come right after retiring from work, getting a divorce, losing a beloved, or sending off the kids to college. The symptoms may disappear once they get accustomed to their new life. If the condition remains the same for weeks, though, it’s your job as the child to help your depressed parent in any way possible.
The aim is to learn to regulate your emotions – and note that regulating emotions is not the same as controlling. — SUSAN J. O’GRADY, PHD
Below are the three tips on how to be effective at that.
- Recognize Their Pain
People, in general, avoid receiving assistance from others who belittle or can’t understand what caused them to feel down. Thus, you need to show your folks that you see where they’re coming from and that you want to help them get over it.
It’ll also be great if you recognize that their negative emotions won’t go away instantly. There’s a process for that. You just have to stay by their side without judgment at all times.
The practice of gratitude journaling is an effective way to build resilience and optimism, which act as antidotes to that negative voice. Gratitude journaling is a practice of focusing on things in your life that are positive. — SAUNDRA JAIN, MA, LPC, PSYD
- Encourage Your Parent To Share Their Woes
It is quite common for parents to keep problems to themselves to prevent burdening their children. That can happen as well even when the kids are old enough to live independently. Rather than saying they aren’t OK, therefore, they always put on a happy face in front of the brood.
Despite that façade, you perhaps know your parent too well to realize if they’re truthful or not. In case you notice them going down the depression alley, get out of your way to reassure them that you’re there once they’re ready to talk. Sometimes, individuals need that kind of encouragement to be able to speak up about their issues.
- CallOr Visit Them Every Day
The ideal action when your parent is in a depressive state is to persuade him or her to live with you. Or, move back in with them so that you’ll be able to monitor their condition. However, if your job location doesn’t allow you to do the latter, or your old folks just won’t leave their place, you may resort to regular visits and daily calls instead.
What a depressed parent needs to feel is that they are still valuable to you and other members of the family. The fact that you probably have a life of your own and no longer asks for money from them may amplify their helplessness and hopelessness, which are a couple of depression signs. Hence, you should let them detect your love and care often.
Besides, doing so will give you the opportunity to look for signs of suicidal tendencies. Thoughts of death easily flood a depressed person’s brain, especially when they have nothing to do. You won’t then have regrets too once you stop them from making such a horrible – and irreversible – decision.
We all needed the “good enough” mother, and we also need the “good enough therapist.” We are not perfect. — Sarah Jenkins, MC, LPC
If all else fails, you may coax your mom or dad to get therapy. They may not be amiable at first, but you have to try to help them get out of depression.