Think about this. Your child at the age of two or three begins to show signs that everything is not okay. You get worried and take your child to the doctor, explain his or her behavior and then to hear that your child is autistic. How would that make you feel as a parent? Your child is still the same child you held in your arms after giving birth, just with a few newfound difficulties that you may encounter along the way. Look at this way anyone worth having never comes easy.
With that said, not all parents can handle such a news and often times may go into a phase of depression. Severe life stressors are a cause of depression and a parent who cannot handle things that are out of the norm, will more than likely view a child with autism as stress. But it definitely does not have to be that way. We will show parents ways of controlling and even preventing depression, even if it is a little simple task such as joining a ‘depression chat room’ so that you and your autistic child can have the best life moving forward. Will this move be helpful?
- Identify the problem
A key aspect of overcoming or controlling depression is by knowing what exactly the cause is. In this case, it would be stress that comes about from fear and overthinking the processes that will go into taking care of your autistic child. Once you know that, that is your problem it is best you take steps in relieving that stress factor. You can do this by educating yourself about the illness of your child so that you know what to expect. Also, put plans in place to get help for your child and this will in-turn help you.
- Get rid of negative thoughts
Remember that most, if not all of your problems are affecting you mentally. This is the negative thoughts you are harboring in your head towards the illness of your child. Stop it! Change the way you think and view this illness. Move away from anything negative you have heard or any stigma associated with it. This is the same child that you gave birth to and love. Keep positive. Know that with good therapy your child can have somewhat of a regular life as any other child.
- Find a support group
Things become harder when you have to deal with it on your own. The best way to combat depression is by joining a support group. Not just any support group, one with members that have personal experience with what you are going through. When you have these people around, you all get to share experiences and tips on how to help your child and yourself. In the end, some may even become your friends and also find friends for your child too. So find an autism support group for parents.
- Get active
One key factor of depression is inactivity. It may make you feel weak and hopeless as if you can’t carry on. When you are inactive it gives you more time to think about all the negative and what can go wrong. So my word to you is to try and get active. Give the brain less time to wonder.
The good part is that being active can be you proactively seeking help for your child and being there for your child for every milestone he or she achieves
- Get sunlight. It is said that sunlight helps a person struggling with depression by improving their mood. Try going outside in the mornings and get fresh air and sunlight. You can also take your child with you and let it be a routine you both do together. On the other hand, both of you will be getting a good dose of vitamin D. The thing is no one expects you to have it all together, especially in dealing with a child with autism. Take it slow, breathe and make your life and your child’s a good one.
Visit the BetterHelp website for more mental health tips.