Depressed Family - Discussion and How to Recover

A depressed family can occur after a downward spiral effect. For the most part, when one person in the family is suffering from depression, the general mood and tone in the family will remain low and sad. Under these circumstances, if there are any further mishaps or unpleasant events, other members, too, may tend to slip into depression.

Sudden or unexpected death of a loved one in the family generally triggers depression among other members of the family, and though the intention is to be of support to each other, people may start drifting apart and do not even recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in themselves or the other.

When the energy among family members is low and everyone is feeling sad, down, guilty, and miserable, there is very little they can do to pull each other up, and the situation often just goes from bad to worse. Under these circumstances, children withdraw into private shells, while adults stop communicating directly and avoid socializing, indulging in fun activities, and being part of any group activity.

Even if one or other wants to make a genuine attempt at getting back to normalcy and get involved in some fun activity, he or she will tend to feel guilty because everyone else is feeling low and down. Therefore, depression in two or more people just succeeds in dragging the others down with them. The result could well then be an overall depressed family.

Financial woe is one possible reason for depressed families. During times of recession, if both parents lose their jobs, worried about mortgages and finances, there are lifestyle changes. Now, making adjustments on a daily basis leads to frustration and anger. Ultimately, a lot of arguments, fights, negative feelings and emotions continue to engulf the household and, eventually, all of which contribute to depression.

It is therefore extremely important for friends and relatives to gently introduce ways and means to resolve the problem, seek professional help, and generally encourage the older generation to start thinking positively, look at the bright side, communicate with each other in a gentle and calm frame of mind, improve relationships, and ensure that little children at home do not feel insecure and abandoned.

Children learn by observation and, if parents continue to exhibit negative and escapist attitudes during challenging times, the kids will cultivate these habits and ultimately develop a pessimistic and defeatist attitude in life. Indeed, a depressed family environment has an especially detrimental effect on children’s wellbeing.

Parents who are slipping into depression should avoid the following, especially when there are children at home:

    Misplaced anger

    If one has been bottling up frustration regarding a financial problem and a child comes home with low grades, parents often lash out at the little one, more than required, when actually the issue is completely different.

    Parents should try not to blow things out of proportion and over-react because kids will be impacted by such outbursts and unnecessarily feel guilty and blame themselves for things going wrong. This will lead to depression in children which in all likelihood will go unnoticed and untreated, only to return later and cripple his or her life further. Misplaced anger in a depressed family situation can damage a child’s psyche and must be avoided.

    Excessive Drinking and Smoking

    These habits do not resolve anything but will only contribute further to the existing problems. While the tendency is to forget all worries and resort to some quick fix, this does not work and is setting a bad example for children at home.

    Children love to experiment and act like grown ups. That being the case, once the opportunity crosses their path, they are likely to try smoking and drinking, especially if they are themselves feeling depressed, and this can lead to unnecessary complications and add to the existing problems.

    Argue or Fight

    Constant arguments, fights, and misunderstandings between parents in depressed families make children feel extremely insecure and nervous. Divorce, separation, domestic violence, etc, have long lasting impact on children. These unpleasant scenes keep playing in their minds and start pre-occupying their young psyches. Eventually, all these fears will take on a larger than life proportion and present themselves in various forms, including anxiety and depression in children.

    Contemplating Suicide

    One must never go down this path and if thoughts like these do cross one’s mind, one must share them only with adults or professionals who can support, guide, and advice appropriately. Talking about suicide or ending one’s life in front of children will increase their fears and it will start affecting every single aspect of their lives, including their mental state.

    Therefore, one must exercise immense caution while talking in the presence of children. No matter how bad the circumstances are and how unhappy the depressed family situation is, one must never indulge in such thoughts. Children are extremely sensitive and have a way of picking up these vibes.

The best form of treatment for depressed families is family therapy, where the entire family or couple attend therapy sessions together, discuss their problems, recognize their shortcomings, work on them and learn to overcome challenges together as a single unit rather than suffer singly.

Family therapists try and teach family members to cope with stress at different levels, manage anger, as well as exercise self control and self restraint with each other. If one or more members are suffering from severe depression, antidepressants might be prescribed and patients have to ensure that they take them regularly and do not miss out on daily medication.

It is extremely important for the entire family to cultivate a positive attitude and work towards maintaining the peace at home. Parents should become role models for their children and equip their kids to deal with challenges, learning to overcome them rather than breaking down and giving up.

If every works together with one heart, a depressed family can one day become a happy family again.


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