Unknowingly I was suffering from teenage depression. I remember being told that High School was supposed to be the happiest years of my life but it was one of the darkest times in my life. On the outside, I was named Athlete of the Year and Student of the Year a couple of times but I sure didn’t feel like it inside.
I remember thinking seriously about suicide. I’m sure that would have been a shock to everyone if I had actually done it. On the outside I was outgoing and knew just about everyone’s name in the school, but inside I was dying!
"I have learned a lot from your information and will try to put these things in to practice, concerning listening to my emotions because I know I have suffered from damaged emotions! Also, I do believe that we have to put into our bodies the right nutrition for right brain function, also a right attitude of life."
I didn’t go out much on weekends ‘cause I was terrified of people. During the day I was the outgoing jock and the one whom other students came to for help. But, I remember on Friday nights just terrified if someone would ask me to go out with them to a party or something. That is the nature of teenage depression.
I look back at my high school years and wish I could have enjoyed myself more. At the time high school couldn’t have gone by fast enough. To pass the time, I got involved in everything I could. Other days, I just wanted to sleep the entire day.
Some days I remember my mom asking me what was wrong. It took everything in me to fight back the tears and put on a strong image that I was okay. For some reason, I didn’t feel comfortable sharing about my fears and anxieties.
I tried to hide my depression until one day a girl in her 20s was visiting our house. She was on a drama tour that came to our school. My dad was a teacher at our school so he opened our home to billet some of the actors. She and I had some great talks. She saw right through my tough act. She started asking me questions that went to the core of my heart. She tried desperately to convince me of my value. She finally went to bed at midnight after talking from 7pm.
The next morning, she woke up and looked terrible. I asked her what was wrong. She said she couldn’t sleep all night. She was worried about me and prayed for me all through the night. She said that I could have teenage depression and explained that it is a common illness that could be treated. She made me promise to go to the doctor. I was a bit surprised and said ‘yes’; secretly meaning ‘whatever’ inside.
She left to return home and a few days later my mom and I were having an argument; over what I can’t remember. I saw how I hurt my mom and told her I think I needed to go to the doctor.
My mom picked up the phone immediately and made a doctor’s appointment. She shared with me how my aunt suffered from depression too. I couldn’t believe it. My aunt was the most hilarious person I’ve ever met. My mom saw a connection.
I went to the doctor and he asked me a series of questions which I all answered ‘yes’ to. (See the depression test link below). It was clear I had depression. He put me on a treatment immediately. I couldn’t believe the improvement it made.
All this to say, if you’re a teen and you suffer from any of these symptoms, you’re not alone! Since suffering through my own teenage depression, I’ve learned that depression affects as many as one in eight teenagers. Go see your doctor and tell him the results of taking the depression test.
There is hope! You are worth it!
Merri Ellen Giesbrecht
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