Teenagers often throw around the phrase “I am so depressed” carelessly when they are upset over something that recently happened in their life. But what really is depression? Depression is a mental illness that is often misinterpreted as just sadness, but it is more than just sadness, it is a constant feeling of emptiness and hopelessness.
The way teenagers may experience depression varies from person to person. Often it affects how they think, sleep, eat, and how they learn. It may make them have no motivation to combat the struggles of their life because of the vast emptiness that is associated with depression
For perspective, a fellow student at Richardson suffering from depression said, “Depression feels like you are unable to get any work done. It makes it so you don’t want to do anything. It isn’t just being sad, it’s literally emptiness”.
Some signs and symptoms that indicate depression include: frequent crying, feeling tired easily, not feeling good enough, poor performance in school and even eating disorders. If you experience any of these then it is strongly encouraged you seek immediate professional help, such as talking to a therapist or your guidance counselor.
One leading factor that may cause depression in teens is having low self-esteem as it leads to self-loathing, which is known to be a major cause of depression. Reasons as to why teens have low self-esteem could be if they’re getting bullied online or at school, dealing with any form of abuse, and getting discriminated against for their race, gender, sexual orientation or body image.
Another major factor of depression in teenagers is stress, which often stems from school. Typically they are feeling extremely overwhelmed by the amount of work assigned to them, which could lead to laziness and a complete lack of motivation. But in some cases, the sheer amount of work may lead to depression as they could be receiving poor grades, which would only further increase self-loathing
Depression causes anguish in many people’s lives, but on the bright side, there are several ways to treat it and cope with it such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT sounds fancy, but it is basically scheduling activities that someone with depression may enjoy, in an attempt to force that person to interact more with their friends and loved ones. When that person has a good amount of energy and social interaction then it might be time to then introduce something called cognitive restructuring using thought records. This is basically a way of helping that individual to challenge their distorted thoughts, which may end up reducing their depression.
Furthermore, psychotherapy, which is another way of speaking with a therapist, can help one cope with depression as you can vent out your depressive feelings. It can also help with understanding how to cope with the symptoms and can give reassurance to the individual suffering.
Not only do these coping methods give reassurance, but they could also improve the body’s production of endorphins (which are hormones that can significantly improve your mood).
All things considered, depression affects several teenagers’ lives as it creates misery for that individual. It is often caused by stress and discrimination and is by no means something that should remain untreated because of the horrible symptoms associated with it. Overall, it is strongly encouraged to attempt the coping mechanisms above and seek immediate help.