How many times have you said this to yourself or one of your best friends?
Probably about a thousand. Or more. The numbers aren’t all in yet, and it’s still early. By tomorrow it may be two thousand. It all depends on what happens.
The thing is, there’s depression, and then there’s depression. Real depression is more than having a crappy day, week, or month. Let’s face it: life can suck sometimes. And the more responsibility you have, the more the ratio of sucking to winning swings over to the suck category. Basically, growing up is not always fun.
But most people who have bad days or a bad week get their bearing, regroup, then bounce back. And the thing is, if you’re actually, clinically depressed, you might not say “I’m depressed” out loud to anyone, because you don’t want the extra attention. You don’t want anyone to judge you, think less of you, or hand you some condescending, cheesy, bumper-sticker platitude like “Focus on gratitude.” Or worse, someone might try to take the tough-love angle and say something straight from football practice like, “Suck it up, buttercup.”
If you’re really depressed, none of that easy stuff works. There’s no help in clever one-liners from some random self-help meme pasted over a field of sunflowers. Which seems to be all most people have for you—even well-meaning parents, teachers, counselors, and friends.
Are You Really Depressed?
What You Can Do
No sugar-coating: if you’re depressed—meaning whatever is going on has been going on every day for over two weeks—then the thing you have to do is the hardest thing you can do. You have to talk to someone. There’s no cure for being a teenager, and there’s no solution for the regular, everyday problems you have to deal with.
But real depression is treatable. Millions—and that’s real data, not an exaggeration—of teenagers every day get help for depression. And the treatment works. To get treatment, you have options:
- Talk to your parents. Don’t hedge, don’t beat around the bush, just ask them straight up to get you an appointment with a therapist.
- If you can’t talk to your parents, talk to a school counselor, and ask for help.
- If neither of those are a feasible option, click here, scroll down, and you’ll find links to helpful sites.
Whatever you do, don’t wait—because the longer you leave it, the harder it gets.
Angus is a writer from Atlanta, GA who writes about behavioral health, adolescent development, education, and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.