Childhood Depression is Real
I was amazed at the insight and the evocative words in this poem, conveying exactly the scary onslaught and lassitude of depression.
It was written by a ten year old boy.
Depression feels like a fog
of invincible sadness has
been thrown out onto the world.
It smells like wet rotten eggs
that have been left out for the rats.
It’s blue like the feeling at a funeral.
It looks like a dark room with nothing
in it. Depression kills like an angry
tiger in a jungle of sadness. It sounds
like a roar of frustration boiling down
deep inside. Depression crawls like a
baby that has given up the will to walk.
Depression is slow and scaly like an
old snake dying out.
Depression hurts everyone.
How sad that this boy could have such a significant insight into the world of the depressed mind at such a young and supposedly innocent age. Whether he is experiencing depression himself, or seeing a family member struggle, it is hurting him, deeply.
Our words and actions, especially those unspoken or left undone, are absorbed by children. Children observe and imitate from the time they are born. It is their lifeline, their whole existence. They have to understand the adults around them in order to survive.
With depression and anxiety so prevalent in our society, it is not surprising that a great number of young people report these feelings. Kidshealth.org has understandable explanations and examples of what childhood depression is and how it affects the lives of young people.
Although depression is a mental illness that is well treated with medication and/or cognitive therapy, there is still a stigma associated with depression in some circles. Mental Health America offers a quick screening tool, but there are others that help people understand the symptoms and treatment options.
Where to find help and information:
National Institute of Mental Health
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
National Mental Health Association
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
If depression is affecting your life, the life of a child you know, or someone you love, help is available. You can reach out and make a difference.
Submitted by guest editor Debora Harvey, Patient Navigator LLC