The following was written by Dr. Deborah Serani, author of
Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers.
Thank you Dr. Serani for sharing your story with us!
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“Depression and Your Child” grew out of my experience of being a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of pediatric depression. I wanted to write a parenting book to raise awareness about depressive disorders in children, teach parents how to find treatment, offer tips for creating a healthy living environment and highlight important adult parenting matters such as self-care, romance and well-being.
I also wrote this book because I have lived with depression since I was a child. As is the case with pediatric depression, my own depression didn’t hit with lightening-like speed. It was more of a slow burn, taking its toll in gnaws and bites before hollowing me out completely. After a suicide attempt as a college sophomore, I found medical help that finally reduced my depression. Until then, I accepted the sadness, despair and overwhelming fatigue “as the way my life just was.” I never realized, nor did my parents, teachers, friends or family, that I had a clinical disorder. I’ve since turned the wounds from my childhood into wisdom as an adult - and believe that sharing the textures of my experiences with depression will help parents realize what their own depressed child is going through.
My emotional journey as a child with chronic depression has taken me from sadness to despair, through adversity to resolve. Through it all, I discovered within myself hidden reserves of strength and spirit—what many in the field call resilience. Spending the last decade writing about depression and advocating for those who experience mental illness has become the silver lining of my depressive cloud. I hope that my story will serve as an encouraging reminder that depression can be treated . . . and that there should be no shame in living with mental illness.
More than anything else, I want “Depression and Your Child” to offer hope. As a clinician, proper diagnosis and treatment can be life-changing and life saving. As a person living with depression, I have found successful ways to lead a full and meaningful life. I want parents and children who struggle with depression to feel this hope too – and in these pages, that’s what you’ll find.