"I feel like there is a hole in my heart" | Autism PDD
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"I feel like there is a hole in my heart"

" I feel like there is a hole in my heart. Is there something wrong with
me?" This is what my son has been saying once in a while for the last six
month. I love that he has such insigt and comes to me with it but it
breakes my heart. We talk about it and how it feels and if it is something
to worry about.
It reminds me of when he was diagnosed the doc said that with
interventions he might be a grown-up who will not stand out for the
most part but he might always feel different on the inside. So I think
that's what it it - the anxiety and stress and sadness of wanting to fit in
but knowing that you do not quite fit.
I don't tell him that tough. I tell him that sadness once in a while is part
of life and that I love about him that he can feel so deeply and talk about
it. I tell him to let me know if those feelings get worse and that we will try
together to figure out what to do. I so hope that there are not going to be
some big struggles with depression down the way. I think its great that you and your son can talk like that. If he likes to draw, maybe you can have him draw a picture of what he is feeling. That works with my middle son. It makes it easier to get out exactly what he is feeling, to help him feel better. Uh, I wouldn't take someone to a psychologist for stomachaches, hives, headaches, or sleeping problems.  Those are usually not caused by psychological problems, and you can end up ignoring serious physical problems if you take that route.  (In fact the more medicine finds out the more they find that things once thought to be induced by psychological problems, were really just things that they had no other explanation for at the time, and they had taken the lazy way out and pronounced them psychological.)  I would be pretty mad if someone decided that I am depressed (I'm not) based on the fact that I have reflux disease, migraines, allergies, and the same (circadian rhythm) sleep disorder most autistic people have.
Wow ! What an amazing conversation
I am so impressed wth his thoughts
I feel so sad he feels that way of course
KajoliT39229.8909606481I know how he feels. I wish him the best. Anxiety, stress, and sadness and feeling like there is a hole in your heart
are the main components of depression. Don't worry about depression
down the line--I would be on the watch for it now. You are lucky your
child is able to express himself so well--that will help him and your
family so much. If he develops any somatic symptoms--tummy aches,
hives, headaches, sleeping problems--I would take him to the
psychologist. If he feels this way for a whole week, or more often than
not--make an appt. Depression is manageable--even in children.

You are a warm and thoughtful mother. I LOVE what you told him about
his sadness. He obviously gets his sensitivity and articulateness from you.

I am certainly not trying to scare you. I just worry (as someone who had
her first depressive episode at age 8) that depression is often overlooked
in children.

I never expressed it so well, but it sure sounds familiar ...

My dilemma is, to medicate, or not to medicate? in children.  I am undecided.  But do keep a close eye on him ... myabe you can help him find some coping skills?

I have requested a book, Stress and Coping in Autism ... it might provide us (all) with some strategies for helping kids deal with depression and feelings of emptiness or sadness. 

I'll let you know if it turns out to be anything useful!

Those feelings can be challenging for an adult, let alone a child, so I think that you are right to be concerned.  You are doing a good job by encouraging him to express himself.

If he has not been to the pediatrician or the family doc recently for a well check or physical, perhaps now is the time and you could discuss this with the doctor at that time.

With all due respect to gtto, somatic symptoms can be related to, or aggravated by stress, anxiety, depression, grief, etc.  However, it is important to first rule out any physical problems or medical diagnoses.

Sometimes art or music therapy can be helpful with these feelings.  You don't have to hire someone if you can talk to your child and get out the poster paints and paper.  Have him paint or color his feelings or whatever he feels like drawing then talk about it.  Getting this out of him and onto paper can serve the same purpose as keeping a journal can for you or me.

Best wishes, and please keep us updated.

I have felt sad my whole life and didnt understand depression till I was 19...finally a name to the "hole in my heart" and got on antidepressants..it is chemical and treatable in my case. I have never been without them for more than 6 months or it gets real bad  

I can focus and function and not be crying all the time~..not happy pappy but not gloom and doom either.  If I knew as a child what it was and help was out there for me I would of wanted it...not sure my mom would of done it..but I really needed it. 

I was depressed from roughly the time I started school until my early twenties.  (And I do mean the level that is normally considered clinical depression.)

Anti-depressants either didn't work or made things worse in my case, the way they made things worse (when it happened) was like this... when I was severely depressed, I often had trouble wanting to do things, I just wouldn't be able to get up and do them and this was different from the movement disorder I already had, it had a sluggishness to it rather than a neurological feel.  Anyway, the anti-depressants would often take away the sluggishness but not the bad emotions.  Some of the things I did when this happened led me to believe the sluggishness was my body's self-protective mechanism and not something to mess with.

Anyway, I ended up recovering without therapy or medications.  It was a combination of getting out of seriously problematic situations, and learning new ways of thinking about the world.  None of it was easy or rapid or anything like that (I am not saying a person can just "snap out of it" or anything silly like that), but change did occur and I am no longer depressed, despite having previously had what would have been considered severe depression that was unresponsive to medications.
 

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