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Thread: What to say to children to explain...

  1. #1
    Boss Lady ;) Suzi's Avatar
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    What to say to children to explain...

    This subject comes up a lot, so I thought I'd do a new thread with it on.

    What things can you say to children to explain how things are for you. I've added a couple of things that we've used with our children as they have been growing up and they have helped us. Please add your own things.

    Always remind them that you love them.

    Tell them the story of the little bag of worries - you are worried about something so you put it in your worry bag, then you worry about something else so you add that in there too, and more, and more, and more. Then you start worrying about the worries in your worry bag, and more and more and more and soon it becomes so big and full that you can't move it on your own anymore and that's kind of where you are now. You are now so worried about everything that you can't deal with it on your own and it's making you feel really poorly. But you're getting help so you can start taking the worries out now and although it's going to take time, you will get there.

    Or you can tell them that it's like holding a glass of water with your arm outstretched in front of you. You can stand and hold it there for a while, but after time it gets so heavy and difficult to hold that actually you struggle to hold it... It's the same as all those worries (we call them evil weevils) that go round and round in your head. The same ones that tell you that you're no good at maths, or that you haven't got friends or anyone to play with that just keep going round and round and you eventually need to get them all out. You can only do that with the help of doctors and other specially trained people. It's exhausting and really difficult, but that you're trying.

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    I found it really easy talking to my kids about it. I just told them that mummy isn’t very well and it makes me sad and cry and sometimes I’m so poorly I can’t get out of bed. My eldest was amazing. He would come in to me and say “are you sad again mummy? I’ll give you a special hug to make you better”. Once during a very bad time I got into an argument with his Dad while he was there and without thinking said “I wish I was dead”. He couldn’t have been any older than 3 and after a while he came into the bedroom to give me one of his special cuddles and said “I don’t want you to be dead mummy”. That was a bit of a wake up call. When his works made me cry I had to explain they were happy tears because he was such a lovely boy.

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  5. #3
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
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    I believe it is vital not to hide this from children (age appropriate of course). Most kids understand a lot more than we think and it can be scary for them having to guess what’s wrong.
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  7. #4
    Boss Lady ;) Suzi's Avatar
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    And actually I think that they guess far worse than what's actually happening...

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    This is a topic I am struggling with at the moment. From previous bouts of depression I have always managed to hide any obvious signs. This time round with my kids being 14 & 17 I haven't. My wife actually got quite angry as I have broken down a few times in front of the kids. It actually made my son quite ill with a bad stomach. It made me feel a whole lot worse. I would be grateful for any advice that would help explain to my 14 year old son why his dad is crying quite often.

  9. #6
    Boss Lady ;) Suzi's Avatar
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    My children are 17, 14 and 13. I've asked my two youngest as they are here and the eldest one is at his nans for the afternoon lol

    She got very upset when she was left in charge of her Dad as he kept passing out with a panic attack in paeds A+E. He'd taken her to get her foot x-rayed. I was so cross with the hospital and they knew it by the time I'd finished.

    I've asked her what she thinks as she's super awesome:

    She says be super honest. Tell them as it really is, if you don't it only makes more questions and worries.
    Remind them that depression is really common and it doesn't sound easy to deal with every day.
    Suicide is the biggest worry she has, but Marc has been really honest about any thoughts he's ever had - but she says don't bring it up unless they do.

    She has found some quotes really helpful:

    "Depression isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of staying too strong for too long"
    "The bravest thing I've ever done was continuing to live when I wanted to die"

    Knowing that others have it and it's OK to talk about it.
    Talking to pets really helps - they don't judge and are reassuring.

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  11. #7
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
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    Suzi, your kids are awesome - but then they have awesome parents.

    Grey Haze, I told my eldest when she was 7 because she had realised I was ill and thought I was dying. I figured anything would be better for her to think about than her mummy dying. I told her the truth - that I had an illness that mucked about with my head and made me very sad. I told her that the doctor was giving my tablets to help me and that I would get better, but that it would take time. Not long after that I was admitted to hospital and she visited me twice. She was awesome with me, she wasn’t scared of the other patients and she has now (at 20) got an incredibly strong sense of empathy
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    Moderator of Awesomeness magie06's Avatar
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    I think it's important to remember that you know your own kids. What you say to them is important. My daughter got very upset when I told her that I might have to go to hospital this time. She was very young the last time. She's 11 this year and wanted to know why, how long, where and what they would do to me in hospital. Questions that I had discussed with my husband. She was very happy with all my replies and I think she's becoming more understanding with her classmates because of what we've been through.

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  15. #9
    Moderator OldMike's Avatar
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    There's been some marvelous posts on this thread and I'm sure those dealing with mental health issues and have children and/or grand children will find them an enormous help.
    71 and counting, less of the "Old" call me "Mike"
    ~~~ Please check out the latest QUIZ (Fun and Games > Quiz) I'm sure you'll find it fun. ~~~

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