When Brianna was about twelve years old we found out she was battling depression. She’d had several issues that I thought at the time were anger issues so I took her to a doctor. It turned out she had severe anxiety and was severely depressed.

I think as a mom of a depressed child, there are two major issues you face. One is the obvious which is you want to take it away from them. Rid them of the hurt they feel for no apparent reason and make them feel the love you pour into them daily. The second is you want to speak for them which I’ll explain. During our time at the therapist and psychiatrist’s offices, they would talk to Brianna directly. They’d ask the same questions every time and diagnose her based on the answers she gave, which is hard for an extremely introverted 12 year old. Half the time I spoke for her or “explained” what she meant.

I remember one visit in particular that I’ll never forget. She’d been on medicine and was doing well. She’d acted better, looked happy, and was even interacting more. When we got to the doctor’s office they gave here the usual spill and asked her to rate where she was on a scale of 1 to 10, one being severely depressed and ten being extremely happy. I remember thinking she had to be a 6 or 7, which for Brianna, was awesome! Then she looked over at me with her shy eyes and back to the doctor and said “maybe a 2 or 3?”. My heart fell. I couldn’t believe it. She had such a great month and yet we were back here.

The doctor then began an assessment that led down a completely different path when I hit the pause button. Which in mama bear code means “hold up a minute!”. I turned Brianna around and asked her, “Brianna if you are a 2 or 3, then what’s a 10?”. That poor baby girl looked me straight in the eyes and said “Ashley”.

Those who don’t know Ashley, she’s my eldest daughter and my exact mirror image. She pretty much came out of the womb loving life. I looked at Brianna and remember saying, “No one is an Ashley 10!”. I explained to the doctor about her sister then we asked Brianna again to rate herself based on her form of 10.  This time she changed her answer to a 6 or 7 which is what I thought to begin with.

Since I love analogies and stories, here’s where you get the gist of this story and moral if you will. Don’t base your life on your version of Brianna’s “Ashley 10”.  What’s funny about Brianna’s scenario is if you would have asked Ashley, well first off, I can see her giving herself an 11 because it’s just who she is. But I’m sure she has someone dangling over her 10 column as well. Someone she feels she can’t measure up to. We all do but don’t sell yourself short. Truth is, there just might be someone out there with you dangling over their 10 column too.

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