I haven’t seen many posts about homeschooling through depression. It’s not something we like to think about or talk about. I guess most of us don’t like to admit when we’re depressed, and it’s not exactly a cheerful topic to discuss or read about. I know from experience, though, that many of us have suffered from depression, and life doesn’t stop for us just because we’re having a difficult time.
I’ve had problems with depression off and on for years. It’s something that, unfortunately, runs in my family. I honestly believe it has to do with a chemical imbalance. Whatever the cause, though, the reality is that I’ve homeschooled for the past 15 years, and I’ve had to homeschool through times of depression more than once. I’m thankful to say that, with medication and the help of a wonderful doctor, I’ve been depression-free for several years now. I hope to stay that way! But for those who are dealing with depression and are trying to homeschool, I’d like to tell you how I coped. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad to share what I can with you to help you carry on.
First of all, I learned that, when I was depressed, I needed to make sure (if possible) to get enough sleep, but not too much sleep. When we are depressed, we tend to want to sleep more than we should. We feel like we need a lot more sleep. Maybe we do need some extra sleep, but it’s not good to sleep a lot more than usual. That can make the depression worse. It can also cause you to fall so far behind on housework and/or school work that you feel even worse. Try to stick as closely as possible to your normal bedtime and your normal time for getting up in the morning. Sleeping more than that may actually add to your feelings of depression.
Second, don’t isolate yourself. When I was depressed, I didn’t feel like talking to anyone or going anywhere. I had to force myself to leave the house to take my children to the park or to go to church or even the grocery store. Thankfully, my children liked to attend our homeschool group’s play days at the park, and they urged me to take them. That forced me to get out of the house at least once each week. My husband made sure we went to church, so that was another outing each week. I also tried to make myself pick up the phone and call my sister or a friend who understood what I was going through on the days I just didn’t feel like I could cope. It always made me feel better to talk to someone for a few minutes.
Third, don’t be too hard on yourself! Try to do the minimum amount of housework and even school work. It will be much better to set a reachable goal than to try to keep up with a regular schedule that you simply can’t maintain at the time. Do just what has to be done, and don’t push yourself to do more. If your children are old enough, allow them to help out a little bit more than usual until you feel better.
Fourth, do something you enjoy every day. Even if you don’t feel like doing it, take a walk outside if it’s a nice day. Listen to some music. Read an uplifting book. Get together with a friend. Watch a happy movie. I remember that being outside was one of the things that helped me the most during the time I was so depressed. I even started taking my youngest child’s school work outside to do with her because it made me feel so much better just to be out of the house. I also did a lot of reading aloud to my children during that time. That way we were doing something useful during our school time even if we weren’t doing all of our regular classes.
Finally, you may want to consider seeing a doctor. I don’t necessarily believe that all depression needs to be treated with medication, but it is something to consider if you have recurring depression or if you feel hopeless. And if you are a Christian, prayer is very important and helpful. There were many days during the time I was depressed that I didn’t feel like praying or doing anything else, but I had friends and relatives pray for me when I couldn’t do it myself.
Even if it seems like you won’t make it, you will! It’s a terrible thing to suffer from depression, but you can make it, and you can continue homeschooling through it. It’s definitely not easy, but it is possible. I hope this post encourages you. And I pray that you will quickly feel better. May God bless you and keep you during your difficult time.
Homeschooling Through Difficult Times Series
Wendy lives in the South with her wonderful hubby and 3 great kiddos! She is a Christian, homeschooling, work-from-home mom. She and Scott were high school sweethearts and have been married for more than 20 years. Her oldest child has autism, and Wendy began homeschooling her at age 2. Her son, a typical boy, would rather do anything than school! Her youngest child is a little social butterfly and people lover. Wendy loves reading and quilting and will hopefully return to scrapbooking sometime soon. She blogs at Homeschooling Blessings and at Hip Homeschool Moms where she is co-owner and social media director.