I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 13. Here’s a personal look at why living with depression as a teenager is hard.
Constant mood swings.
One of the most difficult things about dealing with depression as a teenager is the constant mood swings. Your body is still growing when you are a teen and hormones are all over the place. Personally, as a girl I remember the worst time, and still rings true today, was when it was that time of the month. It’s not uncommon for girls to have mood swings during this time but add depression and being a teenager to the mix and it can make life very difficult. I actually missed school sometimes because I would feel so bad. I knew that if I went to school I would be emotionally unstable the entire day, so I chose to stay home.
Trial and error for treatment.
Believe it or not, most anti-depressants say that they are designed for those who are 18 and older. There’s not really any specific medicine on the market designed specifically for teens. I’ve lost count on how many different medicines I’ve tried until I found one that worked for long term. As the body is growing and still being developed medicine may not work the same over time. That’s what happened to me a lot. Sometimes I would find the “perfect” medicine but then after a month or two it would just stop working.
There are also other treatments besides medicine that have to go through trial and error as well. I did group therapy as well as one on one therapy. Group therapy was nice because it was a place to see peers dealing with the same issues as yourself. My problem with group therapy is that I felt most people in there were trying to “one up” the next person. Meaning that everyone wanted to make it sound like their life was the worst. As soon as I realized this was happening I found to dislike group therapy sessions. I went through several different therapists over the years for many different reasons.
People just not understanding what you’re going through.
For the most part anyone that I was friends with, that didn’t have depression themselves, just didn’t understand what I was going through. Some thought it wasn’t something I could snap out of, while others didn’t even know such a thing existed. I must admit I really didn’t know much about it either when I was diagnosed but it was nice to know that there was a reason, and a name, for why I was feeling the way that I was. Sometimes I had concentration issues and had to tell the teacher about my depression, but I really think that they thought that I was just trying to come up with some kind of excuse on why I wasn’t able to do the work. Unfortunately I came across some adults that truly believed teenagers couldn’t be diagnosed with depression. They believed it was something only older adults got. It made things difficult sometimes.
You not understanding what you’re going through.
Like I said before, when I was diagnosed, I really didn’t understand what it all was. It’s very difficult as a teenager because this is the time you are trying to find yourself. This is when you discover your likes and dislikes. This is the time where you start thinking about what you want to do with your life. With depression there’s another schedule added to your life. If you take medicine daily that becomes an important daily routine. Scheduling doctor and therapist appointments are also an important addition to your schedule. Sometimes it becomes overwhelming and unfortunately that’s where many teens just give up. It’s hard to rationalize a reason to keep going sometimes.
It’s been over 10 years now since my diagnosis and I can’t say it’s been easy. I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve at times given up but I’ve made it this far so I might as well keep going. It’s not easy living with depression but taking it day by day is a good start.