Friday, 12 May 2017
Mental Health Awareness Week: Life Stage Depression. Part Three.
Stage Three: Young Adulthood.
Pressures for young adults include:
Starting a new job (or not)
Settling into a relationship (or not)
Moving away from the family home (or not)
These issues can all pose problems for the young adult. It is important to realise that not experiencing hoped-for transitions can be just as much of a problem for young adults as the transitions themselves. Romantic and career successes may prove harder to achieve than they had hoped or anticipated.
New responsibilities can also be trying for some young adults. One client of mine told me he was terrified at the prospect of paying bills. A different client told me she was starting to despair that 'time was running out' for her to 'find the one and fall in love.'
A young adult may go through several relationships as they try to find out who they are and who they are compatible with, so relationship issues may present difficulties.
Career choice and advancement and the acquisition of material wealth and 'success'- whatever that means!- may also be a major focus during young adulthood as we start off in the pursuit of 'The American Dream.'
Encourage young adults to keep their friends close, a strong peer group will help them support each other.
Eat a healthy diet. Exercise. Limit time in the virtual world.
Make an effort to have fun.
Stage Four: Parenthood
Challenges facing new parents include:
The sudden realisation of serious responsibility. Some people will develop fears they didn't have before, such as a fear of flying, because now they have to be around for the baby.
Perfectionist demands on themselves or even the baby, which clash painfully with reality. They may blame themselves for feeling angry or resentful, sometimes needing reassurance that they are only human.
The physical and emotional stress of a difficult birth, which can lead to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and may precipitate depression.
Difficulty meeting their needs for rest, adult connection and financial security.
Worries or preoccupation with the baby's health.
Strain on relationships brought on by stress or lack of sleep.
Inability to strike the right work/life balance and overworking if parents are working as well as parenting.
OK, so this all sounds a bit bleak. Many many parents are thrilled by their new arrival of their new-born, but this list is aimed at those who may be struggling.
And it must be mentioned that sometimes the much wanted transition to parenthood does not happen. People who have dreamed of having children find that it is not a possibility for them. This can be extremely distressing and could trigger feelings of being overwhelmed with sadness and could lead to a point of feeling that life is not worthwhile. If this is the case- seek help.
Be kind to yourself, try to be realistic and accept that parenthood is hard work. If you feel that you are struggling in an unacceptable way please see your GP, Post-natal depression is a treatable condition.