Dealing with a lack of understanding for depression


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Page last updated: 22/10/2022

In this brief article, we will look into ways of dealing with depression when you have unsupportive parents. 

Ways you can seek help include: 

  • Siblings and extended family 
  • Recognise the situation 
  • You deserve care 
  • Ask for help directly 
  • Don’t believe in myths 
  • Educate your parents 
  • Create new relations 

What is depression? 

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a widespread and significant medical condition that has a negative impact on how you feel, think, and behave. It is also, thankfully, treatable. Depression produces unhappiness and/or a loss of interest in previously appreciated activities. 

It can cause a slew of mental and physical issues, as well as a reduction in your capacity to operate at work and at home.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

For a diagnosis of depression, you must have symptoms for at least two weeks and a change in your previous level of functioning.

Furthermore, medical diseases (e.g., thyroid problems, a brain tumour, or vitamin deficiency) can resemble depressive symptoms, so it’s crucial to rule out any general medical causes.

In any given year, depression affects about one in every 15 persons (6.7 percent). One in every six people (16.6%) will suffer from depression at some point in their lives. 

Depression can strike at any age, but it is most common in late adolescence and early adulthood. Women are more prone to suffer from depression than males. 

According to some research, one-third of women will have a significant depressive episode over their lives. When first-degree relatives (parents/children/siblings) suffer from depression, there is a high degree of heritability (about 40%).

For many young people, their family, particularly their parents, was the most important source of support when they were depressed. Parents were frequently the first people young people approached about their depression. 

In some circumstances, it was the parents who had noticed and brought up their child’s changing mood.

Dealing with a lack of understanding for depression

Siblings and wider family

Siblings also played a significant role in young people’s depression experiences. They frequently stated that their brothers and sisters dealt with melancholy differently than their parents, being more aloof, light-hearted, or “jokey.” 

One man explained how important it was for him to maintain his contact with his brothers throughout the ordeal:

“Sometimes you just need a semblance of normalcy, and that’s having a normal discussion with someone that doesn’t include queries like “How are you feeling now?

Some said that their siblings were “too young” to understand what was going on. 

They were protective of their younger siblings at the time and didn’t tell them everything. Several people’s siblings eventually had mental health issues, and they felt they were better able to understand and help them as a result.

Relationships with siblings had been more challenging for some. If they had taken an overdose, they believed their siblings were “worried” for them or “mad.” A few participants claimed that their siblings were unsupportive or didn’t understand depression. 

Because of a chronic disease, disability, or being the “smart one,” a few people felt left out in the family and that their siblings were always the centre of attention. One woman described how difficult it was to feel like she was “the only one in the family with all of these problems,” while another said that her parents never “respected” her in the same way that her sister did.

One woman explained how she was afraid her mother and sister would turn on her, making her feel “singled out” and “hypersensitive.”

When you’re depressed, it’s even more difficult to cope when your friends and family aren’t there to support you. 

When someone close to you makes cold or inconsiderate comments or blames you for your symptoms, it might exacerbate symptoms. So, what are your options in this scenario?

While it’s great to be surrounded by people who understand or are ready to try to understand what you’re going through, this isn’t always achievable. When those closest to you don’t understand, here are some things you can do for yourself.

Recognise the situation 

You must realize and accept that not everyone will comprehend at some point. It’s possible that there’s a reason they’re acting this way that has nothing to do with you. 

If they grew up knowing that showing any evidence of mental illness is inappropriate or that indicators of mental illness are signs of “weakness,” it’s probable that this is an ingrained and subconscious practice. They could also be older and from an age when mental illness was more stigmatized than it is now.

You Deserve Care

You are the best support system you can have. Regardless of what happens, you are your best supporter and cheerleader. Be nice and compassionate to yourself. 

You can employ self-talk to keep yourself optimistic and upbeat. First and foremost, pay attention to yourself and take care of yourself. If no one else will give it to you, you deserve it.

When you’re depressed, ruminating on your ideas simply adds to your misery. When you start to think badly, turn those thoughts around and repeat positive affirmations throughout the day. 

Make a lovely gesture for yourself. Self-care is important. Even if people are neglecting you, don’t forget about yourself.

Don’t Believe In The Myths

There are dozens of misconceptions and myths about depression and other mental health issues. Don’t be fooled by them. 

Depression is much more than melancholy or being “in your head.” It is a true and dangerous mental disorder that produces an imbalance.

You are not an attention seeker, and if someone accuses you of being one, remember the realities, not the misconceptions. It takes a lot of guts and fortitude to ask for help, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it. 

There are numerous internet resources to assist you in dealing with your disease.

Ask for Help Directly

Don’t be hesitant to request what you truly require. There may be times when individuals are more than willing to help and support you if they comprehend what you require. 

They might not realise how awful you’re doing because they’re used to you being the strong one. Or perhaps they’ve never considered how much you’d love it if they offered to babysit your kids for a few hours.

Inquire if there is anything you require or want assistance with. Many people want to help you, yet they have no idea what you might need. You are more likely to receive the help you require if you are specific and direct.

They have an incomplete understanding of mental health and mental health difficulties.

When dealing with someone who is unsupportive, you may have to come to a number of realizations. Most crucial, recognise that any feelings you’re experiencing are legitimate. 

People that aren’t supportive will frequently use falsehoods to try to discredit whatever you’re going through. For example, if you explain that you’re depressed, they may respond by saying that depression is “simply someone being lazy.” 

This is an entirely false statement, as depression is a medical condition caused by a lack of particular chemical hormones in the brain.

Creating new relations that are healthy in nature

Building your support system can be done in a variety of ways. The most crucial rule to remember is that any new relationships you form should be healthy. Having a few dependable people to turn on for support is preferable to having a large number of people who may not be looking out for your best interests. 

One approach to make new friends is to go to church, the gym, or other special interest groups. Fresh Hope, an in-person or online support group, is another option. Remember to include your counselor in your support group as well. A counsellor will always be a strong ally.