Yes, my depression started super young. I think now looking back on it I was depressed even before puberty although I think puberty maybe made it worse in some ways. I can remember how I felt, especially. I felt insecure at 4 and 5. I was worried and confused. I felt lonely like I had no friends. I certainly don’t remember feeling safe or happy. When I think of a happy kid I picture the kid that just runs around and “gets lost in the moment”. My dad was angry all the time and mom was too so I don’t think that helped me let go and feel happy.
Ok, so there is mom’s story she said around grade 3 or 4 I slowly changed. I went from being a popular girl in school and outside of school with lots of friends and then slowly I lost my friends. I am not sure how she noticed it but I guess maybe I stopped going over to play. I was also happy and full of joy and slowly became much more tired and quiet. I remember having insomnia and I cried actually until someone came into my room to check on me. And my parents would usually just give me some crayons and colouring paper to do until I got sleepy. I remember getting my terrible “night feelings.” I still get the worst depression symptoms at night. I didn’t know why or what they were. To cope with my sadness, I started writing in a journal at a young age. I am pretty sure as soon as I started writing full sentences. I remember drawing angry pictures and hoping that so-and-so would stop picking on me, my dad would be nicer, etc. I think it made me cope (sort-of) at the time with my strong emotions. In my journal I would often beg for help and for a short period it was to “god” or “jesus” but actually and logically at a young age, I figured out there was no such thing as nothing changed. If anything, life for me and some other poor kids in my neighborhood got worse. I also started learning about the terrible things that happened in the world and yeah the concept of god, did NOT make sense to me.
No, I didn’t have anyone I talked to much about my feelings. And no my parents never hugged me, my family are not big huggers or big “I love you” kind of people. I think maybe it would have made me feel slightly better but I have at least 2 friends with major depression (one is in the hospital right now : ( ) that had this sort of upbringing. Their siblings that don’t have mental illness turned out, awesome , great, successful high self esteem etc. But for my depressed friends all the love and good stable, upbringing just didn’t seem to cut it. It makes it hard for me to believe the whole terrible childhood is the ONLY thing that cause mental illness, a theory that some psychologists still believe in. I have seen is disproven so many times, especially from sibling to sibling and in upper-middle class to rich families. I grew up in a poor neighborhood so I know that when you are a foster kid, getting abused it does make it extremely hard not to end up with emotional damage. I even had to phone the police before when I was young for friend’s brother as their sister ran and told me he was getting beaten by his mother. It is very sad (note: they were extreme Christians with bible related decor and videos, as well so that whole Christianity thing was unappealing).
The point of recognizing childhood depression: Hopefully, you can somehow give the kid some counseling and maybe stop and listen to them and make them open up about their feelings. Other than that, are we going to see kids on prozac more now? They are already on Ritalin and Aderall so I could see this being the next step. I am not too much of a fan of this drugging of kids as I am not sure if it might be an easy way out. ADD and ADHD are supposed to be “safe”. But are they really? There has been many tests for long term effects. I am concerned about this in children since they are still growing and it could have an impact on development.