I have special needs children.
As you can tell these two things correlate.
However if you remember your years in school correlation does not necessarily equal causation. For example, just because I have two children with disabilities doesn't mean they have to have caused my depression and anxiety.
In fact, they are not the cause.
I have had depression anxiety since I was little. I experienced abuse, neglect, and emotional turmoil. Yeah I know boo-hoo, poor me, someone cry me a river. Okay now that that's over back to our subject matter.
My children did not cause my anxiety and depression. In fact, they are the only thing that brings me joy when I am in a deep depressive state. Somehow though every single doctor I see seems to believe the reason why I'm depressed like solely due to the fact that I have two children with disabilities. They also seem to believe that all of my anxiety have to do with my children's future. Do not get me wrong like every other parent I worry about my childrens future. Will they have friends, will they be happy, will they find love?
Why is it that every doctor I have ever seen, since my children started showing delays, link the anxiety and depression I experience back to their delays?
Yes there are parents of children with disabilities who did not prior to the diagnosis of their child have depression or anxiety. I'm not disputing this fact. However what is to say that these parents are depressed because of the children's disabilities? What to say they would not have been equally depressed and overwhelmed therefore anxious by a neurotypical or normal child.
In this case is correlation truly equal causation? I would argue no, unless you are speaking in the realm of specific cases.
Why do I say this? Because majority of Americans at some point in their life will experience depression. Depression and anxiety are both normal reaction and to some point adaptive behaviors.
We are a social species and in such we form bonds when these bonds are challenged our view on the world is in fact challenged.
We are being affected by the views of others.
We are being impacted by stigma.
In short, we care about what people think. This is a natural reaction for humans. Somebody who doesn't have the background I may not experience anxiety the way I do. To an extent though we are all affected by the anxiety of what will people think of us and as an extension of ourselves: our offspring. When people disapprove of our children it hurts because we love them so fervently. This pain can blossom into depression. The isolation society puts on parents and those who have disabilities is undeniable. If we go back to our previous thought correlation does not always equal causation.
Our children are not the cause of depression and anxiety in parents special-needs children, in my humble opinion. Now I don't have a degree in psychology but bear with me.
Let's break this down to a basic example of where correlation does not equal causation.
*disclaimer: I know many face medical problems that cause their obesity. It is important to recognize this while realizing most obesity is caused from poor eating habits. Btw I am fat. An American size 22.
Obese people use spoons to eat. However not everyone who uses spoons to eat it will be obese. Why? The answer is obvious. Spoons don't cause people to be fat.
What causes people to be fat? Well obviously what comes with the spoon I.e. the over abundance of sugary food.
Examples like this are very basic but hold true for the issue at hand. The disabled child is not the cause of depression. In fact, most parents of children with disabilities will tell you their child is the light of their life.
What caused the depression is their predisposition to depression and anxiety(if applicable), the paperwork, the doctors appointments, poor support systems, ignoranance surrounding disability, lack of sleep, Ect.
Still we hear doctors say things as ignorant as "I would be depressed too if my child were disabled".
As parents of children with disabilities we recognize this is an effort to be sympathetic to our life and the trials that we face. However, with a little more understanding of disabilities, and better support for those facing disabilities and their families we could potentially lower the rate of depression and anxiety famililies of those with disabilities.
It's scary not knowing if the world will support your child as they grow older.
It's scary not knowing if you or your child will be rejected solely due to the developmental or physical state that your child is in.
I speak mostly for me as a mother. However I feel certain many will agree, our children are not burdens. Our children are our joy. The burden lays in pleasing society and reaching their goal of what a perfect family should be. We are not allowed to fall short without serious speculation on whether or not we are fit parents for children. We are warriors in our own right. For we don't face the battlefield equipment gun and a chance of our death we face the battlefield equipped with knowledge that we know people will not readily accept.
They are not the same no but they are equally real.
I am not depressed because of my children and as a mother of two differently-abled children I would ask Doctors and professional to consider the fact that perhaps my children are my joy and not my sorrow because different is not less, simply different and that is kind of beautiful.
You may ask why this matters. Either way parents of disabled children may experience more then their fair share of depression.
I assure you it matters. As A relatively normal person I can tell you that I would not want to be considered the cause of someone else's pain. Especially someone I love. People facing disabilities have a hard enough life without the burden of our blame placed on them.
It is not my child fault I depression.
And it's not your child either. It's just a fact of life and perhaps time we realize that we cannot truly blame other people for how we ourselves feel. They inform it, they affected, but they do not cause it.