Everything seems so hard when you feel this sad, day after day, and without knowing it you may be experiencing depression. Teen depression is different to having an ‘off day’; it is ongoing sadness or irritability that has you feeling ‘down’ most of the time. Your mind goes over and over the same negative thoughts and you just feel worse and worse.
But you don’t have to believe these thoughts. They are just sentences floating through your mind. They’re not who you are.
Many people, teenagers included, experience depression at different times in their lives. There are many possible causes; stress, bullying, a personal loss, low self-esteem, health problems, discrimination, drug use, just to name a few, and sometimes a combination of issues slowly develops into feelings that increase in intensity until they seem overwhelming.
If you are feeling extreme sadness, worthlessness, distress or anxiety you need to know that it is okay, and is something that will pass. The fact that you have found this website and think you may be depressed is a step forward in itself. By recognizing your sadness you can start to take steps forward to recover and improve your mental health and general wellbeing and get back to being you.
If you are experiencing teen depression – be kind to yourself
- You would never be this cruel to another person, so please don’t be so cruel to yourself. You’re a person, too.
- Write or draw something to express how you feel.
- Go for a walk, have a warm bath, burn some aromatic oil or cuddle a pet.
- Lie down on your back somewhere comfortable, and take slow, deep breaths. Focus your attention on your toes, feeling the muscles relax. Then move your attention to your arches, heels, ankles, calves and so on, all the way up to the top of your head. By bringing your awareness to your body, your mind can shift away from its negative thoughts.
- Please get a friend or relative to come over, or go to stay with them. Do not be alone.
- Get rid of any items that you could use to hurt yourself.
- Go to sleep. If you can’t sleep, call or chat online to a trained counsellor at Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 551 800), or Youth Beyondblue (1300 224 636).
- If you have been prescribed sleeping tablets, take a safe dose of these; even if you do not sleep, they will lessen your emotional pain. Doctors give people painkillers when they have bad physical pain; it’s the same for psychological pain.
- When you wake up, things will often seem very different, and you can access help from family, friends and professionals.
You can hold on.