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Homeschooling and Depression


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I've seen mentioned both here and on blogs, both from homeschooling parents and those that are/were homeschooled students, that a parent with depression shouldn't be homeschooling.

 

Now, obviously, depression is a range. It might be a gray cloud of melancholy that hangs over the parent and makes them moodier, but doesn't effect day to day living. Or it might be the other extreme and involve the parent sitting, unmoving, and unable to do any daily activities. I tend to think that the first example shouldn't prevent a person from homeschooling their children and that the second example should seek medical help.

 

But what about in between? At what point does depression become a valid reason to not homeschool?  At what point does the balance tip toward public school being the best option? And what can a depressed parent do to prevent that balance from tipping?

 

 

I struggle with depression. I'm on the melancholy end of the spectrum, but, yes, there are days where school doesn't get done (at all). I've tried to build in safeguards so that my children aren't getting less of an education. Our schedule is year round school four days a week. I schedule four days worth of work for the week--rather than cramming five days into a four day week. That means that we have a grace day every week to finish work that didn't get done (regardless of reason--it could be my motivation, dentist appointments, sickness, my child's attitude, etc). Almost all of the time, the work is done by end of day Friday.

Of course I'm biased, but I think my kids are doing fine and are still better off being homeschooled than being sent to public school at this time. But I don't want my kids looking back on their childhood and resenting me for homeschooling when I "wasn't fit." How does one tell when it's time to let go of homeschooling because of depression?

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I don't have experience with depression, but I'd say that if the depressed parent was unwilling or unable to take kids to extracurricular activities or to spend time with friends and the kids were ending up trapped in their own house, then it is probably time to put the kids in school.

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Like you said it is a different path for everyone. 

 

I have anxiety and depression and this is our 4th year homeschooling. 

 

For me, it is all about whether or not it is debilitating and creating an unhealthy environment. Rather than tell you what to do as there are no black and white answers with this, I will share my path and hopefully if nothing else you know there are other moms out there successfully homeschooling with mental illness.

 

I have struggled with depression and anxiety ever since I was 14. I had ppd/ppa after both children. I have taken a variety of medication and been in a variety of therapies. 

 

I have now been working with the same counselor for 10 years. Sometimes I see her once a week and when things are good I see her once every 2 weeks. I have tried going without when things are good, but I have found that I do not always realize when it is coming back. I have finally accepted that every 2 weeks is maintenance for me.

 

I haven't been on medication for about 5 years now. I started again last week. At the moment I am struggling with feeling like a failure for needing the medical intervention again, and the logical part of my brain. Logically, I know I did the right thing. I have put many things in place to keep my in check and away from the really low spots. I was able to recognize the difference between a little winter blues, and the depression coming back in. For me this time it was like standing on the edge looking down into the swirling black cloud of nothingness and saying no, I am not going all the way down there again. When I am there, I know that behavior mod and therapy just isn't going to cut it. This time, I am not going as low, I am increasing my help now.

 

I don't know how old your kiddos are. My daughter is 7, and I am still getting her to her activities, and she has not noticed. My son is almost 12, so we have told him this time. We have been seeing little bits of anxiety and such in him. It can be hereditary. I talk to him at an age appropriate level as I am hopeful that if he ever struggles with this, he will know his mother has struggled with it as well. I hope he will feel he can talk to me, if I talk to him. He is also at an age, where for the next couple of weeks he can help out a little until the medication kicks in. I am not talking about him becoming the parent, but he has offered to make lunch this week for the three of us. The boy makes a mean sandwich! He is also helping his sister with her math workbook. I am teaching the lesson, and then he is sitting with her and helping her with any hard reading words etc...

 

For us, I think it works. The kids are still getting out, they are still getting educated, and my son is showing what a wonderful, compassionate child he is. He is helping out the family during a rough time. I think of that as a positive. We do also homeschool year round as that takes a lot of pressure off.

 

You mentioned safe guards for the kids education. Do you have safe guards for yourself? Are you getting the help you need? Are you in therapy? I would say if you are wondering about whether it is time to let go of homeschool because of depression, that might be a sign you need help. Not everyday is skipping through flowers, but for the most part you should be enjoying it. If you aren't it doesn't mean you need to abandon homeschool yet. However, it might be time to increase your support and reach out and get some extra help. You can do it, and things can and will get better.

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A number of us are homeschooling with chronic illness of some sort. There was a thread a while back. Also I thought a group for that was being started, but never saw it.  I would think the issues are often somewhat similar, and also how one deals with it, like having things the child can do alone and so on.

 

We have been watching Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States, and 500 Nations lately, and  had also been to a live presentation recently about the state of wild buffalo currently (they are being harassed and slaughtered horribly again), I have been feeling rather ... I'm not sure depressed, but very very sad certainly from these things. So I am wondering if content might be an issue too if there is depression tendency and it might be good to keep material balanced.

 

I think if there are days when depression is so bad as not to be able to school, that it would be good to seek our remedies for that. Not necessarily to put the children in school, but it sounds pretty serious, even being far short of not being able to do anything. I know that there are things besides standard medical treatment that help some people.

 

Also your children may have a tendency to develop depression, so you could be teaching them how to deal with it if they do.

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I don't have experience with depression, but I'd say that if the depressed parent was unwilling or unable to take kids to extracurricular activities or to spend time with friends and the kids were ending up trapped in their own house, then it is probably time to put the kids in school.

 

You have to be careful with this though because this is just life for rural families. We've been here nearly a year and have only met 1 other HS'ing family. I'm told there are 7 total in the area but they all keep to themselves. The isolation itself is depressing:( Point is, lots of places dont even have extracurriculars or the chance to make friends. Even the local school runs the after school program specifically so kids an socialize because people are so spread out the kids don't get a chance to play with other kids.

 

I would say if mom can't teach the child and the child is not self motivated then changes need to be made.

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My oldest is in a club and I'm able to bring him to the meetings for that. We get out for walks or to the park when the weather is nice. We go to Church and the kids have time before and after Church to play with other kids. They see their cousins almost every week. We've done some community classes for swimming. And if things are really rough for me, my husband gets the kids out a lot in the evenings. So the kids are getting out of the house and spending time with other families.

On days school doesn't get done, I'm not sitting around sobbing all day, but I'm certainly drained of motivation. Those days are frequent enough to mention, but aren't a weekly occurrence or anything.

For where I'm at, I do need some help, whether it's medication or a therapist. I've done therapy in the past and found it helpful. I tried it again a few years ago and I didn't click with the therapist. I hate the idea of "trying out" another therapist: finding one with evening hours, starting all over with history and where I'm at, and spending weeks to see if it will work. I was on medication for a while recently. But it started giving me scary side effects. I hate feeling so broken. I hate the expense of getting help. I hate the external judgement of people who think that you can just "snap out of" depression and that there's something wrong with me because I can't. Or the judgement that I shouldn't be depressed in the first place because my life isn't hard and doesn't currently have any bad circumstances. By my circumstances, my life is pretty darn good.

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I don't home school but I have had anxiety since I was a preschooler and was first diagnosed with depression at 13.

 

It is a problem if either you or your children are not able to maintain a normal life. If you can't get up in the morning, can't take them to whatever are the usual things for your area. If you can't think ahead because you can't imagine a future. If the depression has taken over your life. I'm not sure that sending them to school is necessarily the only choice in that case (it depends on your circumstances) but you do need to do something.

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Depression does not equal being broken. Seeking help is not weakness.  

I've been there. 

 

One thing to remember with depression: your mind is not in any kind of shape to make life-shaping decisions. And if you are anything like me, you tend to think that you SHOULD be making them! I don't know why my mind does that to me, but there it is. The moment I get to feeling depressed, even if it is a passing thing and nothing serious, is an immediate need to "fix" something. I'll want to quit work. I'll want to change up my routines. I start to think that if I just did "this", whatever "this" is, that everything would be better and I would be making things better for everyone else too. 

 

The thing is, depression really messes up the way you look at life. That's one reason why anyone who tells you to snap out of it, or that life isn't bad enough for you to be depressed doesn't understand that you can't look at life another way right now. It just isn't possible. Or it wasn't for me. Life was black, and there wasn't any sun anymore. A gray day was a good day. It was pretty rough for almost a year for me the first go round with it. I haven't been there again, not that bad, but I still remember how helpless I felt to do anything, and how desperate I was to do SOMETHING!

 

My advice is to get your help BEFORE you try to change everything. And, if you have someone you can trust to be objective, lean on them. My DH was that person for me, and at the time I remember thinking that I ought to leave, I was that messed up. So glad I didn't, and so glad I had someone who was able to be clarity for me, because I sure didn't have any at that time.

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 Or it might be the other extreme and involve the parent sitting, unmoving, and unable to do any daily activities. I tend to think that the first example shouldn't prevent a person from homeschooling their children and that the second example should seek medical help.

.......

And what can a depressed parent do to prevent that balance from tipping?

The most extreme among my friends were depression leading to suicide, luckily unsuccessful, but they were warded in psychiatric hospital for several days.  In the case of one of my friend, her mum had to look after her child while she was in-patient.

Sometimes a person can sink into depression so deep that they give up seeking medical help :(

 

The best way to prevent the balance from tipping is to get help whether it is from family, friends or medical help. Putting kids into public school won't solve depression, it just provide free childcare while the person gets the medical help they need (assuming no free babysitting help available).

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I have suffered from depression on and off since I was a teen, probably before.  I wasn't actually diagnosed until after my second child was born.  It is not always easy to handle, but I have been able to manage my depression with medication.

 

I have a good support system which is very helpful.  I am on medication currently that is helping a lot.  But even with that I will still have bad days at times.  However, I have the backup of having someone to take my kids to their activities if needed, and if it gets too bad I can take a few days off.  If it became too often I would look into getting my medication adjusted or figuring out something so that I could function.  I think that if I couldn't keep my depression under control then I would be forced to do something different for eduction.  I am not sure if that would be public school or what it would look like.  I figure that all parents take off days when they are sick, depression is like this. If there are too many sick days and education is suffering then other options need to be explored whether the "sickness" is depression or some other chronic condition.

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First, I know at least one ps teacher IRL who suffers from depression and one who is bi-polar.  If you can get the job done, then the condition shouldn't be a deciding factor. 

 

Second, the number of extra activities and playdates any family deems "necessary" is very subjective.  Our family certainly wouldn't consider the lack of either of these opportunities as a reason to abandon homeschooling.

 

Third, it is very likely that your distress at what you are reading in these blogs is due to the depression.  Worrying about failing and what other people think are issues that come with the condition.   Personally, I'd quit reading those posts.  :)  There is always going to be someone who believes that anyone who can't meet X standard shouldn't be homeschooling.  If you are complying with the law and believe that you are doing what is best as a family, that should be all that matters. 

 

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Silver :grouphug:

 

First remember that a mental illness is not your fault and is no different than a physical illness. I know others are telling you differently, but it's not true. The discrimination against mental illness is the one we have made the least progress towards in the USA. Another is discrimination towards people that are overweight. Our culture allows people to say cruel and untrue things, and to give shaming and unhelpful "advice".

 

With any illness there are no black and white rules. Putting children in PS or making any major changes is disruptive, expensive, and time consuming. You don't need any of those things in your family's lives right now. For right now, take care of yourself like you would for any illness.

 

Homeschool is a marathon not a sprint. There will be periods where you must plan to slow down or stop all together. Don't focus too much on the low times, but look at them in light of the big picture.

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I'm new to homeschooling, so I don't have much to offer in the way of experience. But, I wanted to thank you for starting this thread and sharing your experience. Although I wouldn't wish mental illness on anyone, it helps to know that others are grappling with similar issues and asking familiar questions.

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If you see that your kids are fine, they are fine. End of story. It's not up to somebody else to tell you that you aren't well enough to home educate. 

 

I would suggest the following strategies:

1. Make sure that you take care of yourself as needed, whether that involves professional help and/or medications, or just being kind to yourself. (If you are one of those people who slides into deep depression without seeing it coming, you might need to get your partner/relative/friend to give you a push when they see that you need help).

2. Have a back up plan for the children, so that in the worst case scenario where you did become too unwell to keep going, you have got another option. (I have always found that having a Plan B actually makes me less likely to need it, iywkim.)

3. Don't stress if you have some days where they don't do much. It's OK to have the odd day where they play with Lego and watch educational DVDs. They will still learn stuff, and the stuff they have already learnt will have time to 'percolate' in their heads. Remember, if they were in school there would be plenty of times when they aren't learning much.

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Thanks for the replies.

I know that part of my panic over depression possibly "disqualifying" me from homeschooling is caused by the depression itself. I always get terribly insecure about everything when depressed. Depressed thoughts are terribly illogical, and it seems like the littlest comment can set them off.

 

I wish depression were better understood by others. People who have never experienced it themselves or stood by a loved one going through it don't seem to understand it at all, and wind up making harsh judgments.

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Just wanted to give you a hug! I have suffered all my life from depression, interspersed with bouts of anxiety. I am on medication, and have been in therapy. It's just part of who I am, and I have had to learn to accept it and roll with the challenges. My DH is very supportive, and he reminds me of how important it is to back off homeschool sometimes, relax, go to the beach, let a friend watch the kids sometimes. I am an introvert and really need time alone. Educational videos are your friend. And remember, no matter how badly you feel, it usually passes, especially if you have meds and/or therapy and/or a supportive spouse.

 

 

 

 

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I wish depression were better understood by others. People who have never experienced it themselves or stood by a loved one going through it don't seem to understand it at all, and wind up making harsh judgments.

 

Or judgements that sound harsh but have no such intent.

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I wish depression were better understood by others. People who have never experienced it themselves or stood by a loved one going through it don't seem to understand it at all, and wind up making harsh judgments.

I do, too.  Ignore people who make harsh statements out of ignorance or fear.  MANY people have problems with depression.  Depression does not disqualify you from homeschooling!  Nor does it disqualify you from being a parent, on the PTA, or working as a teacher.  It IS important for *every* person to have a backup system for any sort of emergency or health situation and to have a support system.  If you feel you can't do it for ANY reason or your children are not thriving when they could elsewhere, I would reexamine your choices.  And that's for whether it's depression, lupus, or even just plain burn out. 

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I have PTSD and struggle a little with depression. Winters are hard for me. I've learned that I have to keep seeing the counselor, even when I'm sure I'm fine. Although at those times I can go every 2-3 weeks. I always make sure there's someone around that I can call to take the kids for a day or afternoon if necessary. Sometimes a break is just a necessity. We work around it.

 

The feelings of inadequacy are overwhelming sometimes, but in the good times I can look at them and realize, they are pretty well adjusted and making headway in their weak areas. They are well ahead academically. Then I can realize, we're alright. Sometimes it doesn't feel that way, but I think I would feel the same even if I wasn't homeschooling. I have left if pretty open with the kids, they know that if they really wanted to go to the school, that I would have no problems with talking it over with them and putting them into the school.

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Or judgements that sound harsh but have no such intent.

I want to clarify that the harsh judgments I was refering to is not "depressed people shouldn't homeschool," but instead when people who don't know about depression try to authoritatively tell me why I'm depressed. Things like, "You just aren't praying enough," or "If you spent more time caring for others, you wouldn't have time to feel sorry for yourself." I have been told both those things. These "it's your own fault" judgements ARE harsh.

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I want to clarify that the harsh judgments I was refering to is not "depressed people shouldn't homeschool," but instead when people who don't know about depression try to authoritatively tell me why I'm depressed. Things like, "You just aren't praying enough," or "If you spent more time caring for others, you wouldn't have time to feel sorry for yourself." I have been told both those things. These "it's your own fault" judgements ARE harsh.

Or that you need more exercise, or if you just get up and do things, because you have no excuse.  Or better yet, that other people have "real" problems or have it so much worse, so you shouldn't complain.  Yup, I understand.  :grouphug:

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But what about in between? At what point does depression become a valid reason to not homeschool?  

Homeschooling isn't required, and you don't need a "valid" reason to not do it if you don't feel up to it, for depression or any other reason.  At the same time, if you want to continue homeschooling, there are strategies that can help minimize the impact of a mom's depression; you've mentioned several in your posts and previous posters have had good suggestions.

 

I think the better question to ask, on an ongoing basis, depressed or not, is "given the realities of what we can provide at home, vs. what our other realistic, affordable local educational choices are, what is the best educational setting for this child, at this time?".

 

There are all kinds of "pros" to homeschooling, and some "cons", too. Same for other educational settings/choices.  Everyone's list will have different pros and cons.  If you have other amazing educational choices, then you might find when you look at the big picture that one of them might be a better choice than homeschooling, at least for a season.  If, on the other hand, you have lousy local choices, homeschooling can have a whole bunch of cons and still be better than the alternative.  No educational setting is perfect; it's all about finding the best fit for a particular child, in a particular family, in a particular community, at a particular time.

 

 

 

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I want to clarify that the harsh judgments I was refering to is not "depressed people shouldn't homeschool," but instead when people who don't know about depression try to authoritatively tell me why I'm depressed. Things like, "You just aren't praying enough," or "If you spent more time caring for others, you wouldn't have time to feel sorry for yourself." I have been told both those things. These "it's your own fault" judgements ARE harsh.

 

That's not merely harsh. That's ignorant, ugly, and rude b.s.

 

And I'll bet if you only pull yourself together, you could tell 'em so.  :001_tt2:

 

 

(Some people need this  :banghead:  done to them.)

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Although this webpage is directed at veterans with PTSD, the definition and explanation of "secondary wounding" applies to many instances of why people say mean things to us.

http://fellednot.com/secondary-wounding/

 

In ultraconservative churches, the greatest fear of many people is losing their own faith. Because some of them have such a narrow and rigid idea of what the scriptures mean, things that come up in daily life that conflict with the narrow ideas they have been taught, cause them to attack the faith shaking idea, more than the person. Then mix that with typical secondary wounding, and you get some mean and ignorant comments.

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I read a book once that called depression "ingenious stagnation". The author said depression is built in us as a safety mechanism, to keep us from moving further in the wrong direction. The author claimed that social conditioning often convinces some of us to do things we were never meant to do. When we get depressed, we and others give us permission to engage in a wider range of activities, and we often find out what we were meant to do, and do it.

 

For schooling, for the next couple weeks, do what you WANT to do, and not what you think you SHOULD do, and see what happens. When I sit, and look at what few things I can tolerate without bursting into tears, it often gives me important information about what I have been doing wrong.

 

I continually let people and circumstances box me in, until even the expectations are conflicting against each other, and it's theoretically impossible for me to maneuver within all the boundaries, never mind what I want, or whether I am "good"enough to accomplish the expectations. I come to a screeching halt, and realize I'm going to have to push back SOMEWHERE.

 

I START with finding something, anything, I WANT to do. That is important information, even if I ultimately choose not to act on it long term. It's important to even KNOW what I want, because sometimes I don't allow myself to even feel what I don't think I should feel.

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Although this webpage is directed at veterans with PTSD, the definition and explanation of "secondary wounding" applies to many instances of why people say mean things to us.

http://fellednot.com/secondary-wounding/

 

In ultraconservative churches, the greatest fear of many people is losing their own faith. Because some of them have such a narrow and rigid idea of what the scriptures mean, things that come up in daily life that conflict with the narrow ideas they have been taught, cause them to attack the faith shaking idea, more than the person. Then mix that with typical secondary wounding, and you get some mean and ignorant comments.

 

I suffered with depression and slight agoraphobia in college. Honestly I blame the church and the members of the church for it. I just do. I was fine until I was burdened with so much guilt and sin and shame and need for forgiveness on a daily basis. Leaving the church and leaving that behind was the best thing for me, personally. Others find going to a spiritual place helps. But that's another topic. 

 

My point is that I have always felt that depression and other issues such as anxiety etc were not a one size fits all thing. It's an individualized issue. How one experiences it, and how one copes with it can be very different than how another person does. One may be (obviously) more severe. Another may just be a season in a person's life. Another may be a lifelong, but manageable, struggle.

 

As far as homeschooling, I personally would say that if there were often periods of time where a person couldn't do *anything* with the children then I'd seek help. I stress the "can't do anything."

 

I'm not talking about the occasional day when the kids are watching educational docs or building with Legos and the other plans get dropped to just read and draw all day. I'm not talking about the days when the *plan* gets derailed but the day was still very purposeful and nice. An "unschooling" ;) day to relieve a tired or overwhelmed mother never hurt. Even us mothers who currently are not feeling depressed need those days. I think anyone who says otherwise is lying. 

 

I'm imagining periods of time where there's no motivation for basic daily life. If the kids are alone often while a mother is in bed, or not getting a lot of conversation or interaction from the parent, then I'd seek help. If a parent was often feeling snappish, angry, or frustrated with the simplest of things, then I'd seek help. If a parent often has periods of time where they aren't able to cook or clean or do the very basics of home or childcare, I'd seek help. And obviously if a parent were hurting themselves, others, or talking about it or thinking it, I'd seek help.

 

I wouldn't say that you couldn't homeschool if periods like that are common (except possibly in cases where physical harm could be possible to the children), but I would say that help could be needed. I'd find another homeschooler (friend) who is understanding and willing to come by and help with some tasks etc. 

 

I'd also try really hard not to take too seriously some of the comments on blogs and even this forum. Goodness I've read things that put me in a homeschooling funk and feelings of failure for days. Until I realize that their life is not my life, and I also have nothing to prove by trying to be a perfect example of a homeschooler, wife, mother. 

 

I think when you're already in a place of self-doubt, these sorts of comments or comparisons to others are more detrimental. 

 

One of the best things I learned from my therapist during that point in my life was that I was too self conscious. I don't know if others are the same, but a big factor in my depression was that I was over aware that others may be "looking" at me, "thinking" about me, or judging me. Sometimes I was spending more time thinking about other's possible reactions to me than I was thinking about my own inner dialogue to myself. 

 

Whenever I hold up a mirror and it only reflects what I feel other people are seeing about me (even though I could be way off the mark) then I feel that slide into anxiety again. But when I keep true to my own inner dialogue regardless of others, when I work hard to just simply "not care" what others could possibly be thinking of me, the chatter in my brain settles down.

 

I don't feel depression is "selfish" at all. That's a comment i see a lot of. It's very much about other people. I also feel that people who suffer with depression can be some of the most compassionate and altruistic people when they learn how to harness it and work it to their advantage.

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I'd also try really hard not to take too seriously some of the comments on blogs and even this forum. Goodness I've read things that put me in a homeschooling funk and feelings of failure for days. Until I realize that their life is not my life, and I also have nothing to prove by trying to be a perfect example of a homeschooler, wife, mother. 

 

 

:hurray:  :iagree: This is good advice in general, whether you are prone to depression or not!

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Can I just say, that I'm glad to find out I'm not the only one out there who lives with the shadow of depression? It's something of a relief to know I'm not the only one who can't have a day or two of the blues or a bad week without wondering, "Is this IT again?"

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Although this webpage is directed at veterans with PTSD, the definition and explanation of "secondary wounding" applies to many instances of why people say mean things to us.

http://fellednot.com/secondary-wounding/

 

In ultraconservative churches, the greatest fear of many people is losing their own faith. Because some of them have such a narrow and rigid idea of what the scriptures mean, things that come up in daily life that conflict with the narrow ideas they have been taught, cause them to attack the faith shaking idea, more than the person. Then mix that with typical secondary wounding, and you get some mean and ignorant comments.

 

Thank you

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Silver, 

  I think you can see that there are lots of us on here who homeschool with Depression.  You said in your second post that you need help. Please get it. I know it is expensive, time consuming, a right pain the the tush, but it is so worth it. You are worth it!  I had to kiss a lot of frogs (counselors) before I found the one that I have stuck with. It is a pain going through the history again, but even if they are not the perfect fit, they are part of the path toward healing. 

 

  If you are going the medical route, try a psychiatric nurse practitioner. They are up to date on all the medications, and are really good at that transition. In our area they sometimes have better hours as well.

 

  As for having a good life, wonderful walk with the Lord as a reason to not to be a victim of depression, I call BS. That does not stop, cancer, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, etc...and it does not stop depression either. You did not choose to suffer with mental illness anymore than someone chooses to have breast cancer. 

 

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Thanks everyone again for the replies.

 

I think I'll talk with my husband tonight about seeking treatment again. We'll figure out if I should try medication or a therapist or both.

And I want to assure everyone that the majority of awful comments I've gotten were at my old Church, that I no longer have ties with. Although I have encountered some judgement of depression at my current Church, most people are good at keeping stupid thoughts to themselves.

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Now, obviously, depression is a range. It might be a gray cloud of melancholy that hangs over the parent and makes them moodier, but doesn't effect day to day living. Or it might be the other extreme and involve the parent sitting, unmoving, and unable to do any daily activities. I tend to think that the first example shouldn't prevent a person from homeschooling their children and that the second example should seek medical help.

 

 

You've gotten lots of good feedback from other posters, but I wanted to comment on this paragraph that stood out to me as a mental health professional.  The "gray cloud of melancholy" is called dysthymia.  People often don't seek help for this, because it is not the crippling, can't-get-out-of-bed depression (major depressive disorder, which can be on a continuum of severity).  But I do think dysthymia affects your day to day living...how could it not?  And it is often responsive to medication.  I would highly recommend seeing a psychiatrist (or possibly a psychiatric nurse practitioner) rather than a PCP.  They are much more knowledgeable about the medications they prescribe and are better at troubleshooting side effects.  Therapists (if you find a good fit!) can be good at helping you figure out your personal triggers and developing a long-term maintenance plan.  I know it is so hard to make all this extra effort when you are depressed, but it will be worth it.  I'm so glad you are thinking about how to take good care of yourself.  Best of luck to you.

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I don't feel depression is "selfish" at all. That's a comment i see a lot of. It's very much about other people. I also feel that people who suffer with depression can be some of the most compassionate and altruistic people when they learn how to harness it and work it to their advantage.

 

Having depression is selfish in exactly the same way that being unable to walk is selfish. You know, all those lazy, self-absorbed people in who sit in wheelchairs all day when they could just 'snap out of it' if only they'd stop focusing on their problems, pray more and think positive thoughts about walking. What? You think they have an actual medical condition? Rubbish! Paraplegia is just the fashionable diagnosis at the moment.  :angry:

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I have depression and homeschooled for many years with it.  It can be done but you must be proactive.  I did eventually put most of my dc in school, but it was because I needed a break after dealing with a lot of stuff from my unmedicated bipolar adult son.  Homeschooling him (while I had my other 6 and I was dealing with depression) was the hardest thing I have ever done.  It eventually became too hard for me.  I think you need to look at your family and yourself.  What can you handle?  What can you do to ensure you have the time/rest you need?  I would say if you feel like you are handling things fine, then they are.  I have written about homeschooling, depression, and burnout a lot on my blog.  Something there may be of help. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm a homeschooler with anxiety/depression. I had one time period where I don't know how I functioned each day. Since then, I've been doing better, but relapsed about 1.5 months ago, however, not to that degree thankfully. God gives grace!

 

A few days ago I actually thought about sending my kids to school. For what reason? I have no idea, because we have been completing the necessary work, my son is not behind.

 

I struggle with not finding joy in anything. I also lack motivation. I haven't been keeping up with cleaning, but we still get school work done, we still make it to their weekly homeschool gym/swimming class, we still go to Church, etc.

 

I hate anxiety, I hate depression, I hate that this happens to people.

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I'm a homeschooler with anxiety/depression. I had one time period where I don't know how I functioned each day. Since then, I've been doing better, but relapsed about 1.5 months ago, however, not to that degree thankfully. God gives grace!

 

A few days ago I actually thought about sending my kids to school. For what reason? I have no idea, because we have been completing the necessary work, my son is not behind.

 

I struggle with not finding joy in anything. I also lack motivation. I haven't been keeping up with cleaning, but we still get school work done, we still make it to their weekly homeschool gym/swimming class, we still go to Church, etc.

 

I hate anxiety, I hate depression, I hate that this happens to people.

:grouphug: So sorry.  Take care of yourself.

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I haven't read through the responses here yet. I have PMDD and take an anti-depressant. If I do not take my anti-depressant and do not exercise, I can get very low and struggle to engage.  However, that is without treatment.  

 

I recommend treatment to EVERY person with depression--whether that treatment be talk therapy, medication, exercise and dietary changes or any combination of these. You cannot live in bed all day, regardless of if you are homeschooling or not.  If you have a major depressive disorder or bipolar and your depressive cycles are out of control--continue to work with your doctor to get them under control. 

 

I don't see any reason that a person with depression should not homeschool, if they are willing to put the work in to get treatment. If they are unwilling to do that, the children will suffer regardless of if they are in a brick and mortar school or at home. If you have depression, you don't automatically get better at 4 p.m.when the kids come home from school.  

 

I greatly encourage anyone dealing with depression to not be ashamed and reach out for help.  There are many levels of depression from just mild disinterest in activities to being unable to get out of bed.  However, just because your depression is mild doesn't mean you don't need prayer and friendship any less than the person who is in the pit. And for those who don't know what it is like to be in the pit, know that this is not a "snap out of it" or "choose happiness" sort of affair. It is a very real physical, emotional, and I'd say spiritual battle, and often consists of ongoing skirmishes rather than one big war with a happy ending.

 

 

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One thing to remember with depression: your mind is not in any kind of shape to make life-shaping decisions. 

 

The thing is, depression really messes up the way you look at life. 

 

Such a great thing to remember. I remember calling a friend once about a struggle and she said, ' you do realize that obsessive thinking is part of depression?'  It had never occurred to me that the reason I couldn't get this struggle out of my mind was my depression.  I had become consumed with guilt about it.

 

When I have my depressive cycles, the whole world is against me. The rational side of me knows this isn't true--but there is very little rational about my depressive thoughts.  So yes, absolutely, take those thoughts to God and share your grief with Him. Take your thoughts to a friend you trust. But don't, please don't, make important decisions without doing those two things first.  

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I saw an interesting movie called Food Matters (got it via netflix dvd service), which I am mentioning here because it had a part on treating depression with foods and vitamins particularly niacin.  You might find it interesting. Maybe even helpful.

 

Caveat/Nota Bene: I don't know whether all its ideas are safe, but a lot of the point it is making is that people can be afraid of things like vitamins where there are few documented deaths from taking them, and blithe about pharmaceuticals, where there are many deaths as side effects.  I know the amount of water it suggests starting the day with is too much for me, but I have decided to try some of the ideas in the film (which include more raw foods) and see how my family does with that. Actually the goal is to get to 51 % raw, which I have not managed yet, but I do think that even increasing the amount of raw foods is helpful. And we also made taking our vitamins into a higher priority.

 

 

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