speaking out — not a luxury

speaking out — not a luxury

This just showed up in my email five minutes ago.

“Depression is a widespread condition affecting approximately 7.5 million parents in the U.S. each year and may be putting at least 15 million children at risk for adverse health outcomes. Based on evidentiary studies, major depression in either parent can interfere with parenting quality and increase the risk of children developing mental, behavioral and social problems”  (Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children, publication pending. Mary Jane England and Leslie J. Sim, Editors).

What an important piece of information!  When parents are depressed, children do suffer.

Rather than allow that statement to frighten you, think of it as permission.  A warning; a mandate to take care of yourself.

Depression often has its source in sort of a slow suffocation of a person’s spark of identity, the essence of who the person is, at the core.  This comes about in insidious ways.  Our culture teaches women, in particular, to defer, to please, to mediate, to agree.  Demands placed by work and family can cause you to lose touch with your own way of doing things. Many an independent professional woman has found herself slipping into those cultural patterns upon entering into a serious romantic relationship.

It might feel self-indulgent to break out of this kind of a groove.

It’s not.

By making a practice of stating your thoughts, needs and beliefs clearly and without angry undertones or a hidden agenda, you’ll feel less anxious, more centered — and your children will learn that it’s healthy to be open and transparent. That’s a powerful lesson, especially for girls. They’ll be less susceptible to depression themselves, as a result.