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Old 12-26-2018, 08:16 AM #1
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Default Parent's depression and its effect on kids

Hi,

I am a 57-year old male and was "officially" diagnosed with depression in 1996. I am quite certain I had been depressed throughout my twenties, high school, and probably from 13 years old onward. My mother in my opinion suffered from depression. I would like to know if her mental health my have contributed to me becoming depressed?

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Old 12-26-2018, 01:41 PM #2
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Smile Re: Parent's depression and its effect on kids

Here are links to 5 articles, from PC's archives, that address the question of the effect of parental depression on children:

Depressed Parents and the Effects on Their Children

Your Untreated Depression Can Affect Your Children

How Does Your Depression Affect Your Child?

Growing Up With A Depressed Parent

7 Consequences of Having an Emotionally Detached Parent | Caregivers, Family & Friends

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Old 12-26-2018, 02:07 PM #3
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Default Re: Parent's depression and its effect on kids

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Originally Posted by BigZen View Post
Hi,

I am a 57-year old male and was "officially" diagnosed with depression in 1996. I am quite certain I had been depressed throughout my twenties, high school, and probably from 13 years old onward. My mother in my opinion suffered from depression. I would like to know if her mental health my have contributed to me becoming depressed?

BZ
You raise an important and complex question BigZen. There is research on the effect of a primary caregiver's depression particularly on young children. In many cases, researchers found that primary c/g depression led to neglect of young children. With regard to whether your mother's (presumably untreated) depression contributed to yours...very tough to say definitively...for example you may have been born with a genetic predisposition to depression. Problems in your home environment (depression or any number of factors) could possibly have triggered the manifestation of that depressive predisposition.

I have lived with depression my whole life. One therapist suggested that part of the problem may have been that my maternal g/mother died when I was 2 years old so my mother's grief may have affected her bond and interactions with me. Another therapist said I was basically born into "the wrong family" whereby there was a major mismatch between my temperament, needs, and my parents' ability to support me. To me, my parents both presented with s/s of depression and anxiety though they would never talk about it or seek help.

Overall, I say who knows? I am now in my late 30s. Medication didn't work for me but therapy has helped. I suppose the older I get the more I accept depression as something I live with, to varying degrees, and I try not to spend too much time thinking about the "why?" because that question in my mind used to torment me to be honest.

Though I am not negating your question and desire for info and understanding.

I hope the links provided by Skeezyks will help you. Be well
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Old 12-26-2018, 04:37 PM #4
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Default Re: Parent's depression and its effect on kids

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I would like to know if her mental health my have contributed to me becoming depressed?
I'm in a similar situation and believe the answer is a strong yes. There's the genetic aspect (which is bad luck to inherit), along with parents' behavior (such as their foul moods and disappearing for hours or days at a time). These contribute to each other to produce a much worse whole.

I wouldn't blame anyone, since no one is really at fault here. We're given what we're given and must make the best of it.
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Old 12-27-2018, 05:37 AM #5
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Default Re: Parent's depression and its effect on kids

Hello Skeezkys, HopefullyLost1211 and T4bbyCat:

Thanks for the very helpful information and insights. I agree that there is no way of knowing with 100% certainty if I developed depression due to my mother's illness. I have 3 brothers and none of them believe my mother or father suffered from an undiagnosed/untreated mental illness, but both parents had problems with alcohol, which might explain why no one talked/talks about it, even to this day, and the fact my mom passed away at a relatively young age of 58, was just seen in clinical terms of having a heart attack; while I thought she drank herself to death, and the depression certainly did not help. I see many parenting behaviors in myself that exemplified the cool, often cold and detached bond/relationship I had with my mother. The past few years, well, actually more like 10, I have spent a lot of time agonizing over my behavior in high school, the terrible experience I had in my twenties in university, and my less than stellar career. I do agree that I don't want to cast blame on my parents. My younger brother whenever we meet, which happens about every 15 years, always like to bring up how angry I was in high school. He is right and I was rebellious and a problem student, and I am not sure if this is the way a mood disorder manifests its way in a young adult? I have two young children, aged 9 and 11, so I do worry a lot about what I might have passed on, or am passing on to them that might make them more predisposed to developing a mood disorder later..


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Old 12-27-2018, 01:02 PM #6
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Default Re: Parent's depression and its effect on kids

[QUOTE=BigZen;6379859]

You've been through so much BigZen...sorry to hear of all that trauma you experienced. With regard to your behavior and temperament in adolescence, those could be indications of depression, yes. One thing that we find in society is that when depressed, females are more likely to internalize (withdraw, blame herself, very quiet) whereas males are more likely to externalize - acting out, angry at others around them. *That's a generalization of course but it is quite a common trend...part of the reason females are more likely to express suicidal ideation whereas homicidal ideation is much more common among men than among women. Of course that's not to say that men don't ever feel sad and suicidal.

Through different experiences in my life, I have found that when someone appears very angry, especially for extended periods, this can be a sign of fear. They maybe don't feel comfortable expressing their fear so instead it manifests as rage.

With regard to your parents' problems with alcohol, that must have been so hard for you especially because it was never acknowledged or addressed. Children growing up with drinkers often have very unstable home lives...that could also explain your adolescent anger and academic problems. Chemical dependence (of any sort, drugs or alcohol) is often a red flag for mental illness. It's how some folks "self-medicate" when they don't know how else to cope with their depression or anxiety. I know that my brother does that. He is a very angry and bitter person (severe underlying depression which he won't acknowledge) and over the years has turned to drugs and alcohol which only made things worse for him.

It makes sense that you see some similarities between your parents' styles and your own parenting. People tend to parent the way they were parented...learned behavior....even if they aren't conscious of it. *Again, that's a generalization of course there are exceptions. The fact that you are aware, and noticing some similar patterns, is very important because it opens the door for you to get some help to change those patterns.

If you are concerned about your children, I would encourage you to seek therapy. It is never too early to start. I've lived with depression my whole life and started therapy when I was 15 but really needed help prior to that point. Therapy can give your children a chance to express their feelings, bring up any concerns, and a skilled family therapist could actually work with all three of you (you didn't mention if there's a significant other around) to improve your communication styles and how you show love for each other.

Good news! Your children's brains are at ages where it is much easier to learn new ways of thinking, reacting, and coping...thereby decreasing risks for major mood problems later. I think that is very positive. You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psych provider with the justification that depression and chemical dependence ran in your family and you want to be sure that you children are living their best lives.

I wish you peace and good luck on this journey. I admire you for reaching out and opening up on PC. You sound like you really care about your children...not all little people have that. Be well.

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Old 12-28-2018, 04:37 AM #7
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Default Re: Parent's depression and its effect on kids

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Originally Posted by T4bbyCat View Post
I'm in a similar situation and believe the answer is a strong yes. There's the genetic aspect (which is bad luck to inherit), along with parents' behavior (such as their foul moods and disappearing for hours or days at a time). These contribute to each other to produce a much worse whole.

I wouldn't blame anyone, since no one is really at fault here. We're given what we're given and must make the best of it.
I dont know that i would say "bad luck to inherit" I mean I know people wouldnt choose to inherit depression but at the same time its not like you have a storm cloud following you around for the rest of your life if you have a genetic predisposition for depression. Its not a death sentence. Its not like birds will go out of their way to poop on you because of your bad luck inherited depression. You can inherit many things and not have them manifest.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:56 PM #8
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Default Re: Parent's depression and its effect on kids

Hi HopefullyLost1211,

Thanks for the reply. The one frustrating thing is that not one of my siblings ever wants to talk about the home we grew up in, which I assume is because it is too painful. Not sure if there is any connection between the environment we grew up in and that out of 5 children (my younger sister is deceased) only two of us are married. My oldest brother married, left his wife, and then 13 years later, remarried his first wife. They have no kids. I am married with two kids. I don't expect my younger brother ever to get married. My 2nd older brother was married for 6 months back in 2003, never told me about the marriage, and to this day has never talked about it: I found out through a friend. As for counselling, I do think it is important. I do see a psychiatrist here in Japan where I live, but due to the language barriers, there is not a lot of therapy that goes on, but more of him just renewing my prescriptions. I have learned that the most important male relationship my 11-year old daughter will ever have is with me, her father, and this will have an impact on her future relationships with me; so I am doing my best to be a good parent.
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:25 AM #9
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Default Re: Parent's depression and its effect on kids

[QUOTE=BigZen;6387919]

Hello BigZen. I understand very much what you are saying about your siblings. All of my siblings are in complete denial of the abuse we experienced in childhood. They used to talk about it and question it when we were younger but over time they have re-written history. When our abusive father died last year, he was buried like a hero. Ever since, I have received calls about their grief and torment because they miss that "wonderful man" so much. I didn't grow up with the man they describe. It is alienating to hear of their adoration of a mythical figure.

Sadly, my siblings have turned against each other over time. I suppose we didn't grow up in peace as children so we never learned to trust each other. In my opinion, the resentment toward our inept parents gets directed toward each other. I am so sorry that you and your siblings have been struggling and disconnected.

With regard to the language barrier in Japan for therapy, did you know that many therapists now offer sessions via phone or Skype? There's a lot of international therapy happening these days. Perhaps that is a more favorable option for you. Listening and insight can go much farther than meds but that is just my opinion

I continue to wish you and your family peace and hope. Be well Big Zen.
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Old 01-03-2019, 04:28 PM #10
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