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Emotional Well-Being

Breaking Down the Truth About Depression: Information for Teens

Another Shade of Blue

Have you been feeling ďdown in the dumps?Ē Have you experienced a lack of interest in things you formerly loved to do? Are you having increased feelings of irritability? When you think about the future, do you feel hopeless? OK, so what teen hasnít felt this way sometimes, right? The teen years are known to be one of the most stressful phases of life. But what if these negative feelings are severe and last a long time, and you even have thoughts of suicide? Keep reading to find out what you need to know about teens and depression.

Clinical depression (as opposed to just everyday sadness and stress) affects about one in eight teens, with teen girls at a higher risk than boys. Depression is often confused with the common and ever-changing teenage emotions. However when you have major changes in your personality and mood that linger, you may be depressed. And donít think you are the only one dealing with these hardshipsóYOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are many other girls, just like you, who you can talk to, and a variety of treatment options available to you.

Teen Voices receives hundreds of poems, letters, and stories from girls who are depressed, have suffered from depression, or know someone who has dealt with depression. If you are worried about your continuous sadness, you should talk to an adult you trust and ask for help, whether or not you think youíre depressed. If you ignore depression, you may find yourself facing other problems at school and/or at home. Addiction to the Internet, substance abuse, eating disorders, self injury (i.e. cutting oneself), and even suicide are some of the serious problems that can result from depression.

There are many ways to get help for depression. The success of any one approach varies from person to person, and you may have to try several approaches before one works. Start by talking with a parent, guardian, school guidance counselor, or other adult you trust. You can also find some tips in ďHow to Deal with How You FeelĒ on page 3.

 Depression Collage


Sarana, 15

Dearest Diary,

I feel like Iím waist deep in garbage, trying to find someoneís car keys amid the mass of odors and waste. How do I get through the different layers that are slowly constricting around my neck? It feels like my face should be blue. It hurts more than Iíll admit.

The doctor said that Iím manic depressive*. The ďmanicĒ part is somewhat incomprehensible, while the ďdepressiveĒ part seems shocking, although overall the phrase isnít terrifying.

It should be.

Mom was depressed when she was my age. Fifteen. Itís a strange year. It feels like this is the last year of my childhood. I wonít be an adult in a few months, but I wonít be a child either. Iíll have my driverís license, and probably a job to go along with it. Sure, I wonít be able to vote, drink, or gamble, but those things donít concern me. Iím worried about passing my driverís test. Iím concerned with making money.

ďI try to struggle against the invisible chains that pull down on me, but it doesnít work.Ē

Loneliness is a part of it too. Even when Iím with my friends, sometimes these chains of loneliness wrap around my wrists. I try to struggle against the invisible chains that pull down on me, but it doesnít work. Instead, they just keep tugging at me.

I know the mind is a powerful thing. I know that if I can summon the willpower, I can fight back the worst pains. The problem is that depression eats away at my willpower, so itís increasingly hard to fight back the choking tears. However if I can get the energy, I imagine a beach.

The water is always a sickly grey. The skies are covered in a carpet of clouds. Whenever I feel like Iím losing control, little droplets of salty water fall; but when I feel strong, the clouds sit there, completely powerless. The dark waves of pain try to wash over me, and then carry me away into a sea of suffering, but build a brick wall, forming each cube of cement one by one, until it can resist the pain.

Sometimes I want to die.

ďIt feels like Iíll never escape and Iíll never beat the pain.Ē

Sometimes I can defend myself, but there are other times when I canít. Itís at those times that I feel like the pains inside of me arenít worth fighting. If I win the battle, I donít cry, and the pain seems to be minimized. If I lose, it hurts so much that I want to hide my face in my chest, curl up into a ball, and wait until the pain goes away. It feels like Iíll never escape and Iíll never beat the pain.

Dearest Diary,

This is my second entry, only a few days since my first one. Something odd happened to me when I stopped writing my last entry. I could feel pulsating joy inside me. It blossomed like a flower when I put down my pen and looked over the words. Writing doesnít take my pain away, but I found solace* in this little book of mine.

The wall that keeps those hurtful waves of pain away feels so much stronger now.

*Manic depression: also known as Bipolar Disorder, a form of mood disorder in which you vary between very high-energy manic moods and very low-energy depressed moods.
*Solace: comfort or relief

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