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Parents: Understanding The Difference Between Depression And Exhaustion

Parenting is an exhaustive journey, and it can take a toll on both your physical and mental health. It's crucial for you to understand yourself better to give a good upbringing to the child. Ask yourself: Are you perpetually tired, or do you sometimes feel like running away from your loved ones to some seclusion?

You're the one who knows yourself the best, so you can be the best judge. Start with observing yourself, and don't hesitate to speak to your doctor about any changes you find in your physical or mental health. The notion that good parents do everything themselves is a lie, and you should always reach out for help whenever you feel you need it.

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Here’s a guide to help you figure out if you are suffering from a diagnosable mood disorder or are just exhausted- and how to deal with it.

Ask yourself

Start with retrospection– Am I too tired with all the running around?

According to Nicole Lippmann-Barile, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, and certified nutritional therapist consultant, "Exhaustion can be draining and can cause a loss of motivation, but exhaustion should be temporary and not paired with other strong feelings of sadness."

The feeling of tiredness should ideally go with ample rest, and you should start feeling a change in your mood. If that's not the case, then you might be suffering from depression.

Signs of depression

Sheehan David Fisher, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, says that while it's normal for parents to feel overwhelmed, depression contains a lot of symptoms. If you suffer from more than one of the following, reach out for immediate help:

  • Feeling low or sad for more than two weeks and even after a break.
  • Lack of interest in things you usually enjoy, such as your favorite meal or socializing with others.
  • Lack of sleep or oversleeping.
  • Noteworthy changes in your appetite, or gaining/losing a significant amount of weight.
  • A strong feeling of insignificance.
  • Having difficulty in performing your daily activities due to the way you feel.

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How to deal with these emotions

Reach out to your primary caregiver, as he or she can guide you on your next course of action. Since they know your medical history, they can help you to understand whether your symptoms are stemming from something physical, general overwhelm, or a potential diagnosable mood disorder. You can also be guided to a professional with more expertize in dealing with your symptoms. But even if you're just exhausted or feeling overwhelmed, don’t take it casually.

"Often, parents are going through things back to back," Fisher says. "And they don't realize how much of a toll it takes on their body and their brain."

So, look out for ways to find out some time for yourself daily. Do some yoga, listen to your favorite music, anytime soothing that you enjoy. A ten to fifteen minutes break regularly does wonder to a person. Parenting is a journey, so you need to stay healthy to sail through it all successfully!

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