Dear Dish-It: I’m Secretly Depressed
I’m depressed but nobody knows. I act like a crazy, fun, happy girl,but under all that I’m sad and lonely...I can’t keep lying to my friends when I’m in the bathroom stall crying. Should I wait until it goes away or should I tell them…and how?
Dealing With Depression
I know just how you feel. I’ve felt down a lot of times, too, and it’s been hard keeping my feelings hidden from everyone around me. But what’s even harder, I think, is dealing with the blues yourself when you’re not even sure why it’s happening!
You’re Not Alone
First thing’s first: you’re not alone in how you feel. Depression is really common, affecting about 1 in 8 teens. It also seems to affect more girls than guys. No one really knows what causes depression. It may have to do with your genes (if your mom or dad suffers from depression, you may be more likely to get the blues than some of your friends), something bad that happens in your life (like moving or changing schools), being stressed out – sometimes depression is even caused by a medical condition.
Depression vs. Sadness
It’s important, also, to understand the difference betwee depression and regular sadness. Everyone has their ups and down – sadness is a totally natural emotion. Things like arguing with friends, breaking up with your boyfriend, getting a bad mark on a test or having to deal with your best friend moving away can all make you feel sad, hurt or disappointed. But it usually doesn’t last very long and you eventually feel better.
Depression is more than feeling down in the dumps every so often. It’s a strong mood that lasts for weeks, months or even longer and it gets in the way of your normal life. You may feel more tired or you may not be motivated to do the things you normally like to do. It may even make you pull away from the people around you – but this will only make you feel more lonely, making the depression worse.
Now for some good news: depression is totally treatable! About 80% of people who get help for their depression end up feeling much better than they did before! The best way to get help is to talk to your parents or some other adult that you trust (a close family friend, your fave aunt, a school counselor or your family doctor) about how you’ve been feeling. While your friends definitely care about you and will be there for you if you need them, they won’t be able to explain why you’re feeling like you do and they won’t be able to find a solution that will help you. An adult may be better able to help you figure out what’s happening inside your head, and find a way to make it better.
Types of Treatment
While there are prescription medications out there for depression (only your family doctor can decide whether you need to try any of these, and he or she will then write you a prescription), it doesn’t even have to be about that. Sometimes just talking about your life and feelings with a counselor or a therapist once a week or so can help a lot! Other things have also been shown to make depression better: exercising, getting outside more, painting, changing the way you eat are all thing that can help to change your mood!
One thing’s for sure: you shouldn't wait and hope your feeling of sadness and depression will just go away on their own. After you talk to an adult and get the help you need, you may feel more confident about letting your friends in on your feelings, or you may not even feel the need to explain anything to them because you’ll likely be feeling better than you did before!
HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you think Leah123 should do? Do you know how she feels and have some advice for her? Leave your comment below!