A Teenager's Perspective of Depression

August 9, 2017

EDITOR'S NOTE

 

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “LISTEN” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

 

A Guide for Parents and Guardians to Understand What Their Teens are Feeling and How to Help

 

The Signs

 

Signs of depression can sometimes be easy or sometimes hard to spot, depending on the severity. Mental illness is a sneaky little bastard who tries to slip by others so they don’t detect its presence. Fortunately, I can help you recognize and snuff out the intruder invading your teen — because I’m a teen with depression.

 

 

The Top 5 Signs

 

Excessive Sleeping or Not Enough:

 

Is your teen looking like he/she barely gets enough sleep even though they stay in bed hours on end during the day? That’s one of the major signs of depression — but it can also link to insomnia and other sleep issues, so be careful making accusations. If your teen is in bed all the time and barely comes out of his/her room, then it’s time for a talk.

 

For me, sleep is an escape mechanism from the troubles of reality. It makes things easier because you don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to think, and you don’t have to feel. Your teen can sleep all day, but at night they can be plagued by negative thoughts about himself/herself.

 

Another reason why sleep is a common symptom is because of the fact that it’s the closest thing to death anyone is ever going to get in the living world.

 

 

 

Weight Gain/Loss:

 

Indulging in food is a coping mechanism almost everyone is familiar with. With depression comes weight gain because of excessive eating to feel those happy hormones your teen misses. That or your teen experiences weight loss to the point their healthy body barely weighs more than a hundred pounds. Depression can lead to a feeling of emptiness where your teen might not be able to tell the difference if they’re hungry or not.

 

If you notice this, try having a talk with them; but try not to make them feel self-conscious about their eating habits.

 

 

 

Self Isolation:

 

Your teen might be spending more time alone. Maybe in his/her room, a park, the backyard maybe? Either way, depression makes the affected feel that isolation is the safest route to protect him/herself from rejection from family, friends, and even peers. Try nudging them out of their safe place once in a while and try to make them feel included.

 

 

 

Excessive Anger or Self Loathing:

 

Does your usually calm teen express more anger than he/she used to? Does he/she seem more unhappy with him/herself than you remember? Depression will do that. Your teen’s perception of how the world sees him/her changed, and this will make them angry at him/herself and the world. If your teen is angry all the time or more often than normal, it’s time to sit them down and have a chat.

 

For help with the following sign, please follow this