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Depression in teens

As a teenager, life will take a toll on you in ways that your teenage mind may not comprehend. People’s actions and decisions can negatively affect your moods (in the short term) and your health (in the long term), and if you fail take care of yourself, then you put yourself at risk of engaging in harmful behaviours to cope with all the anger and despair you feel inside.

Taking care of your thoughts and emotions is important in the face of adversity. Continued physical and emotional abuse, toxic environments, childhood trauma and the pressures of teenage hood, can cause depression.

‘A depressive disorder is a whole-body illness, involving the body, mood, and thoughts, and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things. It is not the same as being unhappy or in a blue mood. Nor is it a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years’ UCLA Health

Below is a checklist of depressive symptoms. See if you can relate to it.

Feelings

I feel;

– Sad

– Guilty

-Hopeless

– Empty

– Worthless

Thoughts

I am having difficulties in;

  • Concentrating
  • Maintaining good grades
  • Completing my school/homework

Physical problems;

I am experiencing

  • Lack of energy
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Weight/ appetite changes (a gain or loss)
  • Sleeping problems (insomnia/ excessive sleeping)

Behavioral problems

I am;

  • Restless
  • Irritable
  • Dropping out of hobbies and other previously enjoyable activities
  • Having difficulties getting along with others
  • Isolation; wanting to be alone most of the time
  • Not wanting to go to school
  • Drinking and using drugs

Suicide Risks;

I am thinking about/ or talking about

  • Death
  • Suicide
  • Harming myself

There is nothing to be ashamed of, if you checked most or all of the things in the list. You are not weak or unworthy. On the contrary, you are very courageous for taking this important step to bettering your life and your future.

Finding the right diagnosis from a health professional will be critical as you get better. Counsellors and psychologists could help in diagnosing and treating depression once the signs are communicated.

Equally important, will be a supportive and loving environment. Parents, teachers and every adult round you should help you though this healing process. You can also be a source of knowledge and comfort to another teen who is experiencing the symptoms above. Talk openly and talk frequently, with each other and for each other.

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