how to handle depression


Active Member
difficult child was under his bed crying. Has been a very hard night. He says he is the worst brother in the world to easy child, and will not even talk to me. My heart is crying, and I do not know what to do. I can't help but wonder if the focalin is partially responsible, as we were trialing 10mg of xr in the a.m. I am stopping that, and will get a scrip for Lamictal.

What is the best response to difficult child? He does not seem to want me near. I can hear what is going on in his room as the door is open and we have a very small house. Guess that is one good thing about a small home. lol. :sad:

Now he "snuck" into kitchen. Maybe turning into a game now. How can they go from the depths of dispair to happy so quick? :rolleyes:


Active Member
I would talk to him about how feeling that way is his depression and is not reality. Tell him that those feelings will pass. Teach him ways to make himself feel better by playing a computer game, watching TV, or whatever he likes to do especially things he can do on his own. I don't know anything about focalin but if that really could be playing a part, I would tell him that sometimes the medications can have a strange effect and that if it continues the medication will be discontinued (if true) and another one tried.

My daughter has occasional depressed moods and I am trying to teach her what causes it and how to get through it without causing further problems for herself. It will continue to be a problem for her at times and she needs to know how to cope with it as an adult.

If he won't talk to you then, you might have to wait until he's calmed down some. I tend to say it at the time anyway, thinking even if she acts like she isn't listening, she is getting the message.


New Member
My difficult child gets like this too...I usually find him under the bathroom sink cupboard :(-its so sad and I feel helpless as well...then he's up and attem-hes never down for long. But when he is down-its heartbreaking :frown: I never know what to do or say either-as he wants to be left alone too....
Its so hard watching them go through this......and its hard on us as well......wanting to comfort and not being allowed to.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Watch & document. If difficult child wants to talk about his feelings, give him the time & the place. Listen to as much as what he's not saying as to what he's saying.

I'm hearing you say......

At your difficult children age & the fact that his medications aren't worked out, I would spend my time watching, documenting & watching some more.

If he becomes unsafe, call in the troops.


I wish I had an easy answer for you, but I don't. Each day and each episode is different and so how I approach it with difficult child is different. When she wants to be alone, I let her and when she's ready to come to me she will. I try to offer resources and help with coping skills, but when she's in that state I'm not sure how much she absorbs. It is heartbreaking. I'd rather deal with the raging, honestly, if I had to choose. OK. If I had to choose, I'd pick neither, but since that's not an option I pick raging.

When easy child was depressed he was hostile and angry with heavy suicidal ideation, but he never cried. Not once.


Speaking from the other side... I'm a unipolar depressive, I don't have the manic side. My "mood swings" are not as significant, sometimes there are none. I was never a boy for sure, LOL but I was a young depressive and now an old depressive. LOL

There's no one good answer. All of the above are good for one time or another. What you're feeling is what you're going to feel, frustrated, sad. And he needs to know that you feel that, that you love him, that you'd do anything for him, etc. But bottom line is that he has an illness. His hormones, brain, whatever is causing this. He can't change that but he can learn to understand it so he learns how to live with it.

Main thing you need to know is that he sees nothing good. It's like a total eclipse. He sees no hope, no improvement in his life. So one thing you need to do for sure is to talk about good things in the future. Being a kid those need to be in the immediate future, next weekend, school event, play date with friends, etc. Set up something immediately if necessary. Talk about a movie he wants to see, video game he wants to play and rent it. Keep him with someone at all times. Worry about suicide. But also, depression, hopelessness includes loneliness. So bake cookies with him, play a board game, whatever you can get him to do.

Get him in some kind of support group so he knows he's not alone, doesn't feel like he's weird.

Keep his environment and everyone around him positive, cheerful. I walked into a potential class for my child one time and observed for a half hour. The teacher didn't smile once in that time. Found out later she had recently had a terrible trajedy in her family so it's understandable. But not good for a child vulnerable to depression. If he has friends whose parents have recently separated, are seriously ill, etc spending a lot of time with negativity will bring him down. Being depressed it will also give him something negative to focus on when he naturally is looking for something negative. Make sure he gets sun, with sun screen obviously. But SAD can contribute. Since you're where you are, if that's a problem, look into putting the kind of light in his room that helps with SAD. But lots of light in the house is important. Also color, be sure that the colors around him, the whole house, are cheerful. Bright pinks seem to help me but I don't know about little boys.

Exercise is also important. Lots of studies on that. Must exercise regularly for as long as possible. So family walks or bike rides helpful.

Most important thing is that he learns to be aware of his moods. He needs to learn to look for logic and reason to overcome the negative thoughts. He needs first to learn to recognize negative thoughts and thought patterns. It's much more subtle than it might seem at first. If someone passes him on the street without looking at him he might assume that it's his fault. Chronic blaming himself is very, very common.

There's a book I always recommend that parents read with their kids. It's kind of an introduction to therapy for kids. I'll dig up the name. He needs to be in therapy for many years in front of him. It's never too early to start.

One other subtle thing... give him positive statements, congratulations, affirmation, etc all the time, ALL the time. Leave him notes telling him you're proud of him for doing xyz, talk to your friends in front of him about how great he is, kind, compassionate, etc, etc. It should be things that he consciously did so that it's reward for his effort. False praise not helpful.

Remember that the tears are a symptom of pain. It's not pain you can cure with an aspirin but it can feel like physical pain. Chronic small illnesses are a common sign of depression. The illnesses are real, but they go away when the depression does. So do what you would when your child is in pain, hug him, hold him, let him sleep with you, lots of TLC.



Active Member
Thanks for the advice, this morning was ok. Not depressed, but very out of control.

Last night I laid beside him and told him I loved him, then he told me I did not love him. I told him I was sorry he felt that way, but that I did love him very much. I laid with him for a few more minutes, then left him alone. He seemed to come out of it then, and was being silly and tried to "sneak" in the kitchen to see if I would notice.

This evening he is very irritable. He had to clean the kids bathroom for his chore, and he used air freshener to clean the counters. That really stunk up the house. He tried to say I did not show him what to use. I had picked up the bathroom cleaner and told him to clean the counter with this. I do not get this.

He is very much trying my patience tonight. husband and easy child went to look at cars as we will get a different one when we get out taxes, tommorrow if the IRS website is accurate. I should have went and left husband at home. I am going to have to have a girl's night out soon.


His moods will fluctuate even if he's not BiPolar (BP). We all do. Irritability is a common symptom in both sides of BiPolar (BP). If not following directions like that is a common problem then start putting labels on things or notes on the wall. Easier to say that he should look at the note before doing anything than to argue about what he did wrong.

medications may be your only real option. As you say, it has gotten worse which happens as they near puberty. Unfortunately, it can get worse for awhile in puberty. So early treatment is your best hope of containing it.

I find it helps to think of these symptoms like irritability as a symptom of an illness. If my child is scratching because his skin itches, he's screaming in pain because his head hurts, etc, etc I wouldn't react the way I do to behaviors. So I find it helpful to try to keep the context. The irritability is a symptom.

As to your easy child, you may have to explain to her that difficult child is ill. The rules and consequences for him are different because of this illness. She can't compare how you raise her to how you raise him. This has honestly worked for me. So lots of praise and rewards to easy child when difficult child isn't looking.


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Stick Up for Yourself: Every Kid's Guide to Personal Power & Positive Self-Esteem (Revised & Updated Edition) (Paperback)
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