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Emotional Well-Being

Breaking Down the Truth About Depression: Information for Teens

Feeling Down? You’re Not Alone!

No One to Talk To

Tiffany, 13

Doesn’t it seem that every time you have something you want to get off your chest, nobody will listen? Sometimes teenagers get depressed from lack of attention.

I am 13 years old and I have been through a lot of things that were really tough. Sometimes I felt like it was the end of the line. I have tried suicide numerous times and have run away twice. There was one simple reason I did these things; I had no one to talk to. Not one person wanted to sit and hear my depressing story. Can you blame them? All I ever wanted was to sit down with another teenager, like myself, face to face, and tell them, “Hey, I’m depressed, listen to me, OK?” but I couldn’t.

Depression Collage 2

I know there are people who have worse lives than me, but when ou are the one living the life, it seems like you are the only one going through the pain.

The point I’m trying to make is to not be afraid to voice your feelings. I remember being told one too many times that I was too young to know anything.

The truth is we’re not too young. Every now and then we, as teens, know what we are talking about. One possible way to get your voice heard is by starting a discussion group at your school, run by teens, not adults. There you can talk about the problems you are having at home, things you have opinions about in politics, etc. I wished I would have had someone to talk to during my bout with depression.

A Loud, But Hesitant Cry

Nora, 15
New York

It’s a reddish brown rock
surrounded by erosion
wearing away at the soul.
It’s the real reason for depression.

Disguise it with patches of laughter,
with smiles manufactured
and not believed.
Beneath its cover,
discover a secret,
unfolding your memory
search for more facts—
nothing there.

Your mind cannot guard hidden thoughts forever,
even if binding chains are strong.
One day rust will create a weakness
and force a break in the chain.
The thoughts will be released
in a loud, but hesitant cry.

Living with Bipolar Depression

Melissa Saunders, 17

I recall once writing in my journal that "Girls with bipolar disorder are ugly and rude, while girls with “regular depression” are pretty and affectionate." Then I realized how negatively the word "manic" was looked at in the phrase "manic depression." Even inside the mental illness community, there were divisions and subdivisions that didn't entirely make sense to me. It took a while for me to come to terms with my illness. It was like going through the grieving process. There was the initial shock, the denial, and down the line, the acceptance. It's taken me a long time to accept my diagnosis and also to be able to retell my story.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in December of 2004 after a failed suicide attempt. I underwent a severely unstable, fragmented, and depressing home life, suffering physical abuse at the hands of my uncle. However, I noticed that emotionally things didn't seem right. There were two sides of me: the Melissa who would sob under her bed feeling trapped and desperate, and the Melissa who frantically bounced up and down the halls at school singing No Doubt songs at the top of her lungs, making all her friends laugh. The two didn't seem to agree at all.

People often describe having bipolar disorder as a "roller coaster," with "ups and downs." In fact, that is how many doctors explain to patients what's going on with their turbulent emotions. For me, it's more of a “push-and-pull” mechanism. It’s almost as if mania tells depression, "Here, I'm done with her, it's your turn" while depression retorts, "OK, back you go."

Being manic depressive is extremely difficult and you must be committed to your treatment in order to heal. I hope that all teenagers living with bipolar disorder understand that if they dedicate themselves to treatment, they can go on to lead happy and productive lives.

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