The depression test

It has been a very long day. I left in the dark and came home in the dark 13 hours later. L,was at home, she had leave from after lunch, but couldn’t come home until her father collected her at 4. It was lovely to see her. We watched Merlin on catch up and we knitted with K. She seemed low and when we got time to be on our own I asked her how things were and she told me her primary nurse had told her they were keeping an eye on her mood. I asked if she had told them how tearful she was all weekend. She had and she told me it felt all the time as if she had a lump in her throat. Her nurse had asked about depression in the family and she talked about me. We talked about depression and living with it and how the worse thing can be the sheer effort of hiding it from others, of putting on a brave face, smiling and telling people you are just fine. I asked if they’d given her a questionnaire and as she said no, we found one online. She completed it online and showed me the results. Mild to moderate depression. I said I would take it too and sat back, away from her. I pressed the back button and up came L’s answers, rather than the blank screen.

She finds it very hard to make decisions. She feels a failure a lot of the time. She thinks about suicide occasionally. She feels her future is hopeless. None of this should be a surprise, but to see it there, on the screen hits home and it hurts. Ask any parent what they want for their child and they will tell you they want them to be happy. I clear the screen, not wanting to see any more. How did my girl become so sad? How can I help her find the happiness she deserves?

We drive back and I tell her it is good she is talking about these things, that feeling sad is much worse when locked up inside and it is better when released. “You know”, I prattle on, “like when you want to be sick and it’s much better out than in”. There is a pause. “Probably not the best example, Mum”, said L. And we laugh, properly laugh, with no awkwardness. Perhaps this shows how far we have come, even if there is still a long way to go.


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