Alyssa Rae is a 16 year old from Rochester, New York. She loves her friends, her sisters and thunderstorms.
“There’s something wrong with me. Feeling glass on my arm, seeing and feeling the skin separate, watching the drops of blood form and bead right there. Knowing I and I alone caused that is strangely beautiful. It is so comforting to be in complete control of myself, my actions, and my pain… It’s so soothing, refreshing, invigorating, to have done that to myself… I’ve brought some of the pain from inside to the outside.” June 9th, 11:22 p.m.
Teen Depression is not a small problem. About 20% of teens will go through depression before they are adults. 10-15% teens have symptoms of depression at any one time, and 5% are dealing with major depression at any one time. 8.3% of teenagers have depression for a year. 20-40% of teens will have more than one episode in a year, and 70% will have more than one before they are adults. Only 33% or less get help.
Some teens who don’t receive help turn to other resolves. Like suicide, or self inflicted pain. Suicide is the third most common death of teens. I read that and was startled. Not all teens take the ending-your-life road. Many cut or scratch. It’s a very strange relief. Pretty temporary problem delayer. For me and many others, cutting brought a slight lessening to the pain, and a sense of control. There are many forms of self harm. Including but not limited to cutting, scratching, eating disorders, hair pulling, self-hitting and burning. Those are the most common forms. I think that self harm is a different kind of pain from that is suffered from with depression. It’s more tangible and controlled. Depression causes an invisible, but terrible and uncontrolled pain. It feels like there is nothing you can do about it. When I was depressed I felt completely alone, abandoned and very hurt. I didn’t understand why bad things happened to me. I knew that I couldn’t control what other people did, and that I shouldn’t let their actions affect me personally, but it did. I hated how I was so miserable because of other people. I wanted me to be in control of me, of my pain, and ultimately my feelings. For a while I stopped eating, I could control what I looked like and my weight. Then I started cutting. I could cause my own pain, make myself bleed. It was nice that it was me making me hurt, not someone else.
Many depressed teens hide the pain and suffering. If you see someone suffering, you should help them. Getting help is a very hard step to take, but 90% of teens who receive medical or professional help are successful in their recovery.
Some signs and symptoms of depression are:
– Withdrawal or disinterest in activies
– Change in appetite or eating habits
– Change in sleep patterns
– Seem more irritable or on edge, angry
– Difficulty concentrating
– Restless and agitated
– Lack of energy
– Very sensitive to criticism
– Overall sadness
Parents, family, teachers, friends; If you see a teen with some of these signs talk to them, or help them get help. The teen may be calling out for help. Getting help was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Teens with depression or other mental illnesses (such as bipolar disorder) are 12 times more likely to kill themselves than any other teen at any given point. Depressed teens can’t make it on their own. They often feel worthless and alone. Help them, reach out and show them their worth.
Suicide and self harm are not the answers. Self harm makes things worse in the long run. Tell someone you trust if you have thoughts about death, suicide or hurting yourself. Depression in teens may be more common than ever but there are also more resources than ever. A teen can receive help and recover. All they need is someone to notice.
1800-273-TALK is the national suicide prevention hotline. Call 911 in an emergency.
To read more about teen depression go to www.teendepression.org/articles5.html or helpguide.org/mental/depression_teens.htm Those are the sites I used for my information.