It’s Nobody’s Fault

I think the most difficult aspect of my child’s problem is the stigma attached to it. After all, how could my child be depressed? Most people believe that abused and traumatized children get depressed. What does that say about my child? How could I tell anyone about his illness? They wouldn’t understand and they have no idea what it’s like living with a child who has this disorder.

My experience is, that society at large blames the parents if children have emotional problems.

How could a child from a loving home be depressed? It never entered my mind that this could be the problem.

To add to the grief was the delay we experienced in getting treatment. We had to wait months to see a child psychiatrist while we watched our child get worse. He was essentially paralyzed in school, he couldn’t do anything, his teachers were frustrated. We tried to help him but nothing worked. By the time we arrived at our appointment we were worn out, my 9 year old son’s self esteem was decimated, he was threatening suicide and we were angry and resentful at a system that was so unresponsive to a very needy child. From the time we first saw our paediatrician regarding our concerns, to the day our son started his medication, six months had passed. Denial of immediate treatment after referral was child abuse as far as I was concerned. Our child and the entire family suffered longer than necessary.

Learning that his problem had a biological basis relieved any guilt that I had, but the grief you experience after the diagnosis is like experiencing a death. Not knowing how this will affect the rest of your child’s life and the possible implications are devastating. Worse than a physical disability because it’s invisible. He might have this all his life. He wasn’t normal. I couldn’t fix it.

Once his medication was sorted out, we had a ‘new’ child. Transitions were easier. He smiled more, didn’t cry as much or get angry so often and when he did, it didn’t last for long. I could finally say ‘no’ to him and not have to suffer through a tantrum that went on for hours. We were no longer walking on egg shells.

Finally, everything wasn’t my fault.

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