Talking About Teenage Depression
Your teenage years are not always your best ones. Depression is a mental illness that negatively affects how a person thinks, it creates problems in one’s mind that they may not want to have or did not intend to have. It’s a disease of the mind, most times it isn’t very noticeable but sometimes it’s very apparent that someone is depressed. The leading cause of depression is anxiety. Anxiety can be described as overwhelming fear, it’s normal to feel anxious every now and then but when anxiety gets out of control it can lead to depression. A great deal of teens get anxiety over their grades, finishing an assignment, social media and fitting in. Hundreds of teenagers worldwide suffer from depression, and oftentimes, nobody even knows they have depression. Most of the time teens do not even show any signs of depression, but that’s the problem; you never really know what’s going on in someone else’s head.
I am just your average grade ten student; however, I have felt heavily depressed before and deal with anxiety on a day to day basis. Depression is not a walk in the park nor is it a phase that teens go through. It’s a mental illness that should be treated as seriously as any other type of mental or physical illness. Often, when teens feel depressed some of their problems are just dismissed as being dramatic, childish, or simply hormonal. Being a teenager isn’t easy at all to say the least. We are consistently hit with homework, the stress of assignments, getting into universities or colleges and, passing all our classes. What is worse is that teachers, parents and adults in general don’t always understand or empathize with this the way that we wished they did. Here are some tips on how you could deal with depression, or help someone around you with depression:
There are different degrees of depression: Not all people need medication for their depression, sometimes all they need is some love and support, not all people with depression look depressed. Different people also show different signs of depression, some people may be extremely irritable and angry, others may have evidently low self-esteem and seem very unmotivated, in students this can show in incomplete homework and assignments and not paying attention or sleeping in class.
Signs of depression: Depression isn’t obvious most of the time, it can show in the little things like a messy room or knotted hair. Signs also include prolonged sadness, low self-esteem, a lot of anger and negative emotions, restlessness, insomnia, giving away any possessions that they hold dear to them, making death seem like a positive thing, and talking and writing about dying. Watch out for those “jokes” that people may make about committing suicide or dying. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please go and see a doctor and get assessed to see if you have depression so that you may get treatment.
Talk to someone: If you think that you may be showing signs of depression, I would highly recommend talking to an adult that you trust, whether it be your favourite teacher, a school counsellor or your parents. Make sure it is somebody who you think can help you. I would mostly recommend an adult because sometimes it’s not good to confide in another person your age, since you don’t know what their problems may be. Reaching out and seeking help is always the best solution. Getting help is very, very important, for when depression gets out of hand it can be fatal. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15-24 in the U.S.
Helping a friend with depression: You may have a friend who is dealing with depression who, unfortunately, may not have a trusted adult in their lives to talk to, so they confide in you. One thing you must do is make sure that your mental health is 100% before you are able to help someone else with their problems. It’s a massive responsibility to help someone sort out their problems and lives, but it would also be good to talk to an adult if you think that your friend may be getting progressively worse. Always offer your support to a friend with depression, let them know that you care for them, however, do not feel the need to take responsibility of how your friend may be feeling, or for any of their actions. That can end up being harmful for both and you and your friend.
Consider everyone’s feelings: Remember, just because someone is sad or having an off day, doesn’t mean that they are depressed. However, it’s always good to check in on your peers and see how they are doing since everyone is fighting their own battles: some are simply bigger than others.
In the end, the only person who can fight off your depression is you with the help of others, but only if you seek it out.