Depression is a medical problem, and
you have the right to keep it private. But if it harms your relationships, it
may help to talk to your partner, friends, or children about it.
Talking to your partner or friends
Explain depression to your partner or friends. Be honest about
it. Tell them it's a health problem, and that you are being treated. Tell them
how it makes you feel. Help them understand that you will get better, and ask
them to be patient with you.
Ask for what you need. Whether it's a ride to a doctor visit or
just spending time together, getting exercise or relaxing, don't be afraid to
Remember that friendship involves give and take. Everyone has
challenges in life that he or she needs help with. When you're dealing with
depression, it can be hard to remember that other people have problems too. Ask
your friends how they're doing.
Talking to your children
Talking to your kids about
depression can be hard for you and your children. You may not know how to say
things, and your kids may not be able to understand what you're saying. But
it's still important to try.
You may feel the need to protect
your kids and say nothing about it. But kids are smart. They pick up on things.
If you are acting differently, they'll know, and they'll wonder about it. They
might blame themselves for how you are acting.
Use your own words
to talk about depression. What you say depends on the age of your children. Use
simple terms, and make sure you answer their questions. It's best to explain as
much to them as you think they can understand.
Explain that you have a health problem. Depression is an
illness, just like the flu or mumps. Tell them that how you are acting is what
happens when people have depression.
Let them know that they didn't cause your depression. It's not
something they said or did.
Make sure they know that you are getting help from a doctor so
you can get better. They will feel better if they know you will get better and
be back to the you they knew.
Tell them that it's not their job to fix you. If they want to
help, you can suggest helping around the house, doing well in school, and
Tell them depression is not "catching" like the flu. If you feel
they will understand, explain that it can run in families, but the chances of
not getting it are greater than the chances of getting it.
Ask your kids if they'd like to talk to anyone about your
depression or about how they feel. If they do, ask your doctor or counselor for help
in finding a doctor for your kids to talk to.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.