Sunday, December 7, 2008

To All Parents of Young Impressionable Children,

I would just like for you all to consider something as you're raising your adorable kids. It's a subject that some parents do not discuss with their children, that in my opinion is very very important.

At least 10% of US adults experience depression at some point in their lifetime- women twice as likely to have depression than men. Of all the people who suffer from depression, two thirds of them never seek treatment. It is estimated that half of all suicides are comprised of people with untreated depression. However, for the one-third of the population that does seek treatment for depression, 80%-90% feel better within a few weeks.

Many people think that depression is something to take lightly, or something that can be equated to people just being dramatic. A lot of parents with "dramatic" children do not talk about depression or teach their children about it because treatment for depression often includes taking medication, and that scares parents.

What would scare parents even more, is if their child goes untreated for depression because she was raised thinking that people who turn to medication for depression are unintelligent, taking the "easy way out", dramatic, or weak. People who are untreated for depression have a chemical imbalance in their brain, and some of them end up having "an episode" or, to be frank, they going crazy. Then, sometimes, they try to kill themselves. Then, sometimes, they end up in mental hospitals. How fucking scary would that be, parents?

My best friend is in a hospital right now being treated for severe depression. Because she was never taught about depression. She was never taught that it was all right to talk to her doctor about being depressed, and she was never taught that medication could help her. It's not okay to feel sad all the time. To always have that general feeling of malaise. She was taught that people that took medicine for depression were weak and crazy- and she was not weak and crazy.

When I was about 5 or 6, my mom had an "episode". She didn't try to kill herself, but for a good week she was not my mother. She laid in bed with no will to do anything, including be a mom to her four kids. A friend of my moms came into town and took care of us for a week or so, and my mom went to see a new doctor. Dr. Katzen saved my moms life, and in just another week and a half, my mom was back to being my mom. Because he introduced her to prozac for her depression, and to xanax for her anxiety. Anyone who has ever met my mother will tell you how very very strong she is. No one who has met her could ever call her weak, because she's simply not, and taking medication for her chemical imbalance saved her, and gave us our mommy back.

Lately I have been feeling wrong. I have an appointment to see Dr. Katzen, who has become a family friend, next week, because I cannot stop being sad. I can't stop crying, I can't stop feeling hopeless, and I can't stop having bad dreams and irrational thoughts. I was on zoloft for awhile throughout springtime and summer, but got off it because I was feeling much much better. I did well without it for a good long time, but now I am feeling more depressed than ever.

My best friend very unexpectedly trying to kill herself has been hard on everyone, but it has pissed me off because her parents never taught her correctly about what she was going through, and it almost resulted in her death. Had her sister not been there and called the cops, she would have successfully killed herself.

Her and I have had many many conversations about depression, and I have tried to get her to see a doctor, a psychologist or psychiatrist about how she has been feeling. She has thought about it, but her parents have never supported things like that. They raised her to think that she can work through all her problems with her friends and family to support her. Many problems can be worked through with loved ones. But some just cannot. And I can't stress that enough.

So, just to add on to the list of topics that most parents find uncomfortable, please try to educate your child on depression- don't make it a taboo subject. And if you yourself don't feel very educated on the subject, please do yourself a favor, read up on it with an open mind, and an open heart. You might just learn something important.

statistics and facts found on:


Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this.

You've had a rough semester. I hope Dr. Katzen helps you out.

(I also hope you are seeing or start seeing someone to talk to about this stuff, too.)

Marcy said...

Thanks for this. This is definitely something that's been on my mind since becoming a parent, as Zach's family has a strong history of mental illness. It's something I know we will be aware of as he grows up, and I hope we're able to provide for him any information and support necessary if he needs it.

Will Dr Katzen be referring you to someone else for potential treatment? I thought seeing someone you know in your personal life as your psychiatrist/psychologist was a conflict of interest or crossed professional boundaries.

Danielle said...

lace face...nicely written and sorry to hear about your friend...Dr. Katzen as you wrote is a life saver, goodness knows he saved mine too :)

Candace said...

I love you Lacey...Can't wait till girls night tomorrow!!! should be a full bunch cuz joey and andrea said they were coming. we are heading out around 5. MISSING YOU! cant wait to give ya a big hug