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Eight: Your Child And Depression

Children can become so confused about what is going on in their lives and so down on themselves they can hardly stand it. When the anger, frustration, sense of loss, and confusing feelings underlieing their depression are persistent and not resolved, their depression likely worsens. They may feel like running away or just giving up on themselves. These are awful, painful feelings. These children feel afraid, angry, and very upset. They have more stress than they can handle, their self-esteem is very low, and they cannot get their thoughts straightened out or figure out their problems. They believe they have come to the end of their road and see no way out of this lonely place. At the extreme, suicide may seem to them like their only choice. Consider Richard, his depression, and the course his depression might take if no one notices, if no one intervenes.

“What am I doing here? I should’ve just stayed home. I don’t belong here. I don’t fit in. I don’t fit in anywhere,” Richard thinks as he stands by himself watching the party.

He wants to join a cluster of young people talking in the kitchen but is afraid. “Even if they let me join in, I’ll mess up. I’ll just say something dumb or do something stupid and they’ll laugh at me. That would be worse than just standing here by myself.”

He had told himself he would do better this time. This time he was going to act like he had as much of a right to be there as anyone else. This time he would not just stand around and watch everyone have a good time.

Later that night, Richard is alone in his room. He had left the party after a half hour or so; and no one even noticed. “No one wants me around. What’s wrong with me?” He sits in his chair staring off into space feeling awful. “I knew better. I knew it’d turn out like that. It always does. I was stupid like usual.” He feels the tears as he turns off the light and gets into bed. “It’s never going to change,” he says over-and-over to himself as he begins quietly sobbing.

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