So, if I showed signs of having broken my leg, would you, as a religious person, tell me to pray about it, and then go on about your life? No.
If your child was diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, would you tell them to read their Bible, and that’s it? No.
Why do otherwise intelligent people insist that mental illness has to be prayed away? “If you’re depressed, read your Bible more.”
Reading scriptures and praying may not be hurtful, but I think the reasons for not going to a Dr. or therapist have much more to do with fear of what “people” would think, along with hoping that it will just go away…but it doesn’t work that way.
The last time I checked, the same people who would REFUSE to get help for a depressed child don’t think twice about taking medicine when THEY are feeling poorly.
So, here’s my point:
Familiarise yourself with symptoms of depression.
It’s NOT normal for a (child, preteen, teenager)person to stay awake all night, every night. Or to sleep 12+ hours, regularly, for no apparent reason. Or to have noticeable weight fluctuations. Or frequent tearfulness.
Often sadness is hidden behind anger. Surliness, irritability, sarcasm, isolation, fighting…
These things alone, are not necessarily a cause for alarm. If you notice several of them, on a regular basis, you should take notice.
Talk to the person. LISTEN. Then don’t stop looking for a solution until you’ve found one that is agreeable to that person.
If it takes therapy, medication, dietary adjustments, or whatever, do it.
People struggling with depression (or any other mental illness for that matter) DON’T just snap out of it. They will not grow out of it.
What happens if you don’t find something to reduce the depression? Do you want to know? Really?
The person will find a way of relief.
*Self-harm (this can end in accidental suicide)
*Drugs or alcohol (may also end in death)
*Impulsive/high-risk sexual activity (same)
*ALL of the above, and worse (death)
From my own experience as a person in recovery, and a formerly depressed person, I have a good amount of insight. And, I have no reason to lie to you.
If your kid is floundering, no matter what age, do them a solid and get them help.
In case you weren’t aware, they are killing themselves out there.