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By Elizabeth Parkes
Elizabeth Parkes, then 11 and now 14, the daughter of Jackie Parkes, wrote on how she helps her mom cope with manic depression.
As you read the book you will pick up some tips on how to cope with your parents who have a mental illness. Well, I am 11-years-old and have a mother who suffers from manic depression. Every now and then I give her some tips and targets that she should work up to. I say things like ‘When you keep up your good mood you have nearly emptied your drinking cup, but every time you keep a bad mood your glass fills up again.’ This gives her a big boost and helps her to feel a bit better. When you have a mental illness, plenty of rest is needed, so every couple of nights I give my mom a massage on her back, feet or head. All massages can tone your body and refresh your mind.
Lots of questions in one day for a parent that has depression is not at all helpful, so what I advise is that you should be quiet around them and only ask questions that really need to be answered
Sometimes people with depression can occasionally get into bad moods, but the best thing you can do to help your parents is to help around the house and give them a massage. Being in a family of twelve with a mother who has depression can be tiring because I help my mom a lot, but I’d do anything for her to get well. During my mother’s illness I wrote some poems for her.
Many times I have felt upset and just horrible but I calm myself down and distract myself. Being around my mom a lot causes me to feel down, so getting away for a while is good for your health.
Elizabeth had this article published in several mental health resources. MIND has a fact sheet entitled ‘Young person’s introduction to mental health’.
Also check out www.youngminds.org.uk