As a sheltered (read: homeschooled) kid most of my life, I did not deal with teenage drama at all. Why would I? I am studying at school, and I am excused from dealing with other kids. I didn’t experience high school bullying as a child; I wasn’t having trouble engaging with different personalities. I spent most of my time learning things alone. My best friend was my mother; my favorite thing to do as a teen was paint.
Even in college, I preferred to take most of my classes online to finish everything earlier than the others and graduate quickly. Perhaps it is the habit of doing everything alone that made me stick to my limited choices and strict preferences. Although I would have loved to spend all my life at home, I knew I had already “overstayed” at 21 years old, so I moved out and got a job as a junior advertising executive in another city. Honestly, it is not exactly what I dreamt of doing, but I know it will suffice when it comes to financial gain.
A few months later, Mom called me, crying. I thought something terrible had happened to them. But her voice didn’t sound upset, and she seemed in a good mood while talking to me. That is where I eventually learned that she was shedding tears of joy.
“Honey, I’m pregnant. You’re about to have a baby sister,” she informed me.
I was so shocked that I could not speak immediately. Mom was already 42 years old. Sure, she was youthful-looking, but she was still too old to be expecting again. When I told her about what I thought, she laughed and told me it was a miracle. Despite my initial reaction, I was happy to know that they would have another person to look after them. Besides, ever since I moved out, I know that my mom always feels sad that she’s doing things without me anymore.
Six months later, Camilla was born. She was the cutest baby I had ever seen. That’s saying something, considering I had always thought that I held that crown for a long time, but I willingly gave it up to my sister as soon as I saw her smile. I tried to go home as much as possible to help Mom and watch Camilla grow up.
A Different Kid, Different Education System
Since Camilla was technically a miracle baby, my parents were overly protective of her. They planned to set up a backyard playground so Camilla would not think of asking to go to the park and play with the other kids. They also wanted to homeschool her, considering I turned out to be a decent adult despite my lack of social exposure. Honestly, I am not against it because they have a point and do not have to prove themselves to anything or anyone. However, there was something more to this preference.
The unforeseen flaw in my parents’ plan was that they allowed Camilla to watch nursery rhymes with real kids playing or singing in parks or nursery schools in the background. They allowed her to broaden her imagination and have a little childhood-like experience to remember. I genuinely did not know why my parents did that, but it backfired on them. As soon as Camilla could talk, therefore, she said, “I want to go to school like them.”
Did my parents listen to her? Not immediately, no. They thought it was a phase and moved on with the homeschooling idea. They believed that my sister only had that enthusiasm to engage with other kids or teens, so she said what she said. They also deleted all those clips and replaced them with animated ones for good measure. However, every year, Camilla would ask when she could go to school like other kids her age and draw pictures depicting that.
My sister’s desire to attend a regular school became more persistent when she finished middle school. She argued, “I am almost 18 years old. I want to experience a normal life. I want to attend a prom, go to a football game, and have friends.” She would talk about it every day in the first couple of weeks of summer. The more my parents said no, the more her mood became dull, to the extent that she refused to leave her room. Worse, her drawings became darker and more vivid, which scared my parents.
When Mom called to tell me what happened at home, she painted the picture as a rebellious phase. But I countered, “Is it possible that Camilla’s dealing with depression? After all, she’s been wanting to go to school for a while now, but you still haven’t allowed her to do that.”
“No, that can’t be true. Teenagers don’t get depressed – they only get rebellious.”
Uh-oh, I thought, Mom’s still not #woke. So, I talked to her extensively about validating – and hopefully fixing – teenage depression.
My Sister’s Depression
I told my mom that contrary to her belief, teenagers do experience depression. She might see it as a form of rebellion, but I knew my sister was dealing with a mental health dilemma. The idea that she was never allowed to expose herself socially makes her more anxious. Perhaps my sister is dealing with much of what, and her eagerness to go out in the world makes her feel more distant from my parents.
I can’t blame my parents because they do not know anything either. I can’t force them to understand the situation because they are close-minded about the whole situation. They will only imply that my sister’s desire to go out in the world is unnecessary because they have me as proof that things turned out okay based on my life experience.
My sister’s depression is getting worse as far as I am concerned, and I would hate to break it to my parents that if they continue to lock her up and don’t allow her to go out and experience the world, they will end up regretting it. Camilla is a tough kid, but given the situation’s circumstances and pressure, it is only a matter of time before she engages in self-harm. I am not sure if she’s having suicidal thoughts, but if she ever reaches that stage, I would want my parents to react immediately.
With that, here are the frequently asked questions that I gathered for them so they would understand the importance of validating and fixing teenage depression better.
What Age Group Has The Highest Depression Rate?
Young adults (aged 18 and 25) have the highest depression rate.
How Do I Know If My Adolescent Is Mentally Ill?
As a parent, you can tell that your teenager is mentally ill if:
- One example is that they excessively worry about everything.
- They refuse to socialize with anyone – even family members.
- They get too sensitive and insecure whenever they hear constructive criticism.
- They are always feeling worthless and sad.
Is It Normal For Teenagers To Have Mood Swings?
Yes, it is normal for teenagers and many children to have mood swings. One moment, you have low energy; the other, you feel hyper-energized. Considering they are dealing with hormonal changes as their physical features develop, it also makes sense that their mood gets affected as well.
What Is The Leading Cause Of Depression Among Youths?
Bullying is the primary cause of depression among youths, although it appears in various forms. The way they are treated by those around them can impact a child’s feelings. Some people with higher levels of emotional intelligence can tolerate bullying. Thus, they can still work efficiently. However, not everyone has levels of emotional intelligence, which is why emotional regulation is important.
Does Puberty Make You Feel Depressed?
Aside from a child’s experience, other ways can make a child depressed–puberty. Yes, puberty can make you feel depressed. The reason is that hormonal changes can intensify a person’s emotions, especially a child’s emotions, thus possibly turning sadness into depression. This is why, during this stage of hormonal changes, it is more likely for depressed teens to occur.
What Are The Leading Causes Of Teenage Stress?
- Demanding academic schedule
- Negative self-talk
- Physical changes
- Peer pressure
- Family problems
- Safety issues
- Parental divorce
- Chronic medical condition
How Does Stress Affect Teenage Life?
Stress can make a teenager overeat to cope with their issues. Instead of resolving them, though, this habit/kind of coping skills may cause the development of diabetes, obesity, and other medical illnesses, which may stress them out further.
In other cases, stress is the primary trigger factor for a broad range of mental disorders. The more stressed a teenager feels, the more severe the mental symptoms may become. This is why spending time with relaxing activities is a must to lessen stress. Have the mindset that positive things will eventually happen in your life.
What Percentage Of High School Students Are Stressed?
Approximately 50% of high school students complain about stress.
What Can Trigger Stress?
- Extreme social or peer pressure
- Biological or physiological changes
- Moving to a new place
- Lack of control over some issues
- Overwhelming responsibilities
What Are The Five Emotional Signs Of Stress?
- Poor decision-making abilities
- Losing track of thoughts and activities
- Feeling irritable all the time
- Overeating behavior
- Experiencing apathy
How Do I Know If I Am Stressed?
- Small changes make you anxious.
- You feel frustrated quickly.
- It would help if you were in control stronger than ever.
- You cannot set aside your worries; you’re having trouble with your own emotions.
- You always feel worthless or pitiful.
What Are The Three Causes Of Stress?
- Chronic diseases
- Traumatic incidents
- Relationship issues
What Are The Four Signs Of Stress?
- Feeling out of sorts
- Unexplainable physical pains
- Changing appetite
- Sleep issues
How Can I Avoid Stress In My Life?
- Watch what you eat.
- Stop abusing substances.
- Decide on a workout program.
- Manage your feelings. Take a break whenever you need it.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Sleep as much as possible.
- Avoid taking failures too seriously.
- Seek help and support from a mental health professional from time to time. Make sure to actively listen regarding the proper treatment that they will administer.
- Surround yourself with caring and supportive people who make you feel heard whenever you need someone to talk to.
- Create your own safe space.
How Do I Relieve Stress And Anxiety?
- Learn breathing techniques.
- Change your lifestyle.
- Seek fun activities.
- Downplay awful situations.
- Reconnect with your most loved relationships.
That conversation I initiated with Mom pushed her to have a heart-to-heart talk with Camilla. After seeing some signs of depression, the first thing they did was go to a psychologist’s office to see if she really had depression and what they could do to treat it. I turned out to be spot-on, and my sister proceeded with therapy for the rest of the summer. Then, when the psychologist recommended a change of scenery for Camilla, my parents finally agreed to let her go to the local junior high as long as they would drive her to and from school instead of taking the bus. It was not 100% freedom, but my sister took it as a win, and her mood continued to improve after that. Just like what was mentioned, treating depression doesn’t happen instantly. There is no one specific solution to problem solve a mental illness. It is a difficult and emotional reoccurring process.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Most Effective Approach To Treating Adolescent Depression?
The most effective treatment plan for depression, especially for adolescents, is a combination treatment. This includes psychotherapy (behavior therapy, a.k.a. CBT) to understand and change negative thoughts and patterns and develop the right coping skills.
Another integral part of treatment is medication, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are often prescribed for severe cases when therapy alone is insufficient.
Moreover, a comprehensive treatment plan involves family support and addressing underlying issues contributing to mental health. Young adults with anxiety depression may also benefit from dialectical behavior or therapy dbt.
Subsequently, early detection, open communication, and a multi-disciplinary approach are all needed for effective treatment of adolescent depression.
What Is The Best Clue For Determining A Problem With Depression In Adolescence?
One of the best clues or tell-tale signs of depression in adolescence is a noticeable and persistent change in mood and behavior. Some of the most common clues include intense and prolonged feelings of hopelessness, sadness, loss of appetite, significant weight loss, irritability, low energy, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in things they previously enjoyed, declining academic performance, and withdrawal from social interactions. In more severe cases, the condition can result in self-harm and suicide prevention thoughts. With that said, only a professional mental healthcare provider can accurately diagnose the condition.
Why Is It Important To Treat Depression In Adolescence?
Depression anxiety, when left untreated, can have an extremely profound negative effect on an adolescent’s overall well-being, cognitive, emotional, and social development. The mental health condition can hinder their academic performance and strain relationships with family and friends, which will only lead to decreased quality of life. Moreover, depression increases the risk of self-harm, substance abuse, and suicide.
Addressing this mental health condition during adolescence can give the individual the best chance to improve their well-being, become more resilient, and have better mental health outcomes into adulthood.
What Is The Best Intervention For Children With Depression?
The best treatment includes a combination of approaches tailored to the child’s specific needs. Usually, it involves psychotherapy like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and helps identify and challenge negative thought patterns, develops stronger coping skills, and improves problem-solving abilities.
Moreover, strong support from family and friends is crucial for the child’s recovery. Teenage depression is hard but with supportive parents, it helps make the journey bearable. For some, bipolar disorder might also be a consideration and should be evaluated carefully.
In some cases, the patient may need medication in conjunction with the therapy. Nevertheless, all treatments require continuous monitoring and collaboration with a mental health professional.
Why Is It Important To Educate Yourself About Depression?
Depression, as with any other mental health disorder, is an extremely complex disorder. Thus, it requires a better understanding to combat the stigma and misconceptions behind it and get the proper care. Education promotes compassion and empathy for individuals who may be experiencing mental health conditions. It also allows people to know what clues to look for and recognize the signs and symptoms.
Moreover, educating one’s self about the condition increases awareness of available options for treatment, coping strategies, and support resources, which are all crucial for better mental health outcomes.