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Dear Dish-It: Advice about Depression and Mental Health

March 28, 2017

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We are so prone to understanding situations by the way that we see them, and how they appear to us. We don't necessarily look deeper to notice what's really there or what's really going on. We base so much on appearances that we miss important issues that are present, and equally as serious as physical ones. Mental Illness affects one in five individuals. It is a serious topic of concern that only seems to become more and more common. Today's "Let's Talk About it Tuesday" discusses mental illness, suicide, and depression. In our homes, in our families, and in our relationships, we have all likely experienced mental illness to some degree, in some capacity. Meaning that even if it does not affect you directly, it still affects your life, and calls for our immediate attention.

Let’s take a look at this week’s questions:

Question by Depressed Kid,

I have been told I am severely depressed. What do I do?

Advice/Insight: 

It sounds like you need to seek help for your depression as soon as possible. If your symptoms have been referred to as "severe", it would appear that you are not in a good place and that this has become apparent to others. Try talking to your parents and get them to take you to see a doctor. Depending on how old you are, different treatment plans may be prescribed. Regardless, therapy could be beneficial for you and help you to communicate what you go through to others. It might seem scary to do, but here is where you start to build your support system, which will be your foundation for surviving all of this—nobody can help you unless they know what you need, and you will learn to figure out what you need as you start to understand your depression better. Take care of yourself, eat properly, get enough rest, and try to do things that put you in a good mood. You need to talk about how you are feeling and let others know how they can help you get past this negative stage. As you read on (and I do encourage you to read on), you will see that feeling this way (at your age) is quite common and that there is hope, you just have to be patient and wait for treatment to have an effect.

Question by broken:

Dear Dish-It I feel lost, and my feelings are gone. I lost my heart and I'm depressed... I'm pathetic.

Advice/Insight: 

First of all, you are NOT pathetic. Never judge yourself for the way that you are feeling or put yourself down, even if others do, it does not mean that they are right. A lot of people, especially younger people, experience depression. It is very common to feel hopeless, sad and alone, but I can promise you that you are not alone. For example, take a look at all the other questions in this thread. There are a lot of kids and teens who feel the exact same way as you and there is help. You just have to ask for it. Dear Dish-It emphasizes upon talking, she thinks this is the first step towards getting the proper help--you need to communicate what you are going through. You need to tell someone in your family, a teacher, a guidance counselor, anyone who is worthy of getting you help. It's okay to talk about it with a trusted friend, but they might not be sure how to help you, and will likely consult an adult. If you are in immediate danger, there are always help lines to call, if you don't know the number, Google one in your area. Depression is challenging for youth because depending on your age, medication may not be suitable for you yet, but I know many kids who are 11-12 and up who take medication for their depression that is trusted. The key is to combine medication with regular therapy as well as a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine. Getting good sleep is also important, as your body will response negativity when it isn't getting the things that it needs. Having a solid support system is number one, and being around people who know about your condition and understand that at times you might be quiet, withdrawn or down. Remind yourself of the things that make you happy and try to engage with these things. If something does not make you feel comfortable, do not interact with it. I know that it is possible to be so sad that the things you love no longer seem to make you happy. Don't worry, your love for these things will come back. You will get your excitement back just remind yourself that you have lost a little bit of love for yourself in feeling this way and that will make it hard for you to express love to other people and things. This is completely normal. When you are ready to laugh again, you will, but remind people that you will get there in your own time. The most important thing to note is that depression in kids and teens can be treated, but the sooner it is treated the better because it can spiral out of control if it is not treated. After you talk to your parents, you need to see your doctor and explain what is going on—try to write down some of your symptoms. Take their advice, which I can assure you will consist of a lot of basic self-care: eat, sleep and exercise. Sometimes we're situationally depressed, which means we are responding to something that happened to us, and we feel down for a reason. Sometimes we are chemically depressed, or clinically depressed, or experiencing Bipolar depression. There are all kinds, so it is important to figure out what you're going through exactly and how you can best treat it. 

Question by Lost:

I need help I feel useless and unnecessary I have never had suicidal thoughts but I don't feel important or loved what do I do, where do I belong?

Advice/Insight: 

It seems like you labeled your feelings perfectly by calling yourself "Lost." It appears that you are very confused by what you are feeling. I can sense that you don't like feeling this way. I know you might not believe me, but I can tell you that it is not true. The things we tell ourselves and the truth are two very different things. You have to look at the facts in your life and not make your own interpretations of them. Don't assume that people don't love you. This is a fragile time in your life where everyone is very self-involved and they might not even realize that you are feeling this way, or that they are making you feel this way. Don't let the validation of others determine your worth, you determine your worth. You are not useless and unnecessary, so the sooner you stop putting yourself down, the better off you are going to be. You have to believe in yourself, and love yourself enough that it doesn't matter if other people love you or not. I know that sounds strange, but it's true. We can never let the opinions of others deflate us, but only we know what is going on for us, so let them misunderstand—they don’t see you the way they should. The people who really love you will stick by you no matter what you go through, and I'm sure if you told them how you were feeling they would remind you that it is untrue. Sometimes we have to express love to get love, sometimes even that doesn't get us love, which is why we can't depend on that. What we can depend on is the confidence which we invest in ourselves, our capabilities and our future. A lot of people in life are trying to figure out where they belong. You're not alone, but your also so young and have so much time to find your place in life. You will find your place, but first, you need to figure out what you love about yourself and cherish it always, in spite of the world, in spite of anyone. 

Question by Cotney:

I'm [feeling depressed] recently. My friends are always threatening me for things and I'm completely in problems. I can't concentrate on my studies [because of] this. I can't change my school for some reasons, but I want to do something. I mean, I don't want to have any single relation with them. Any advice where I can ignore them easily or something like that?

Advice/Insight: 

It sounds like the way you are feeling is interfering with your schooling. You need to talk to someone. Schools are very familiar with these matters and will do whatever they can to help you and accommodate your needs. They don't want anything to interfere with your learning and understand that you can't perform when you are feeling this way. It sounds like you are very unhappy in your current school and that your "friends" aren't really your friends because as we have stated in previous articles, your friends are there to love and support you.They are your fans, and they most certainly do not "threaten" you in any way. Are you sure you are not being victimized or being subjected to bullying? You need to do what you can to protect yourself and ensure your safety because it sounds like there is a negative layer to every element of your life. I'm not sure what your relationship is like with your parents, but you should always try talking to them first. A good parent will do whatever they can to help address the situation and get you the proper help that you need. In terms of your "friends", you need to stop hanging out with them and try to let them know why. If they continue to threaten you, talk to your guidance counselor, your principal, your teacher, anyone who can help secure your safety. I’m sure you are scared of getting them into trouble, but it sounds like you are the one in trouble and therefore you need help from someone with authority. When our fear of telling becomes stronger than our urge to get help, we know that we are in trouble. I really hope that you will protect yourself and speak up about what is happening to you. 

Question by Total insanity:

Dear Dish-it, I really think I'm going crazy. I've been getting upset easily a lot lately. I feel my world is crumbling down. I cry a lot. My friend who is fighting cancer moved to another country 2 months ago, and I still can't get over it. Nowadays, I can't get used to change as I used to before. My friends are convinced I've gone into depression and they tease me about it a lot. While I know I haven't gone into depression and do my best not to snap at them. I am only 11 and I have already started having suicidal thoughts. Before its too late I really need help. I don't wanna let my mom know about any of this because I am afraid of how she will react. My mom already has hypothyroid and high cholesterol. My mom and dad keep fighting. Can you give me advice to do something without letting my parents find out? I have been very stressed since my friend moved away. I always had these problems but now they are increasing since she moved away.

Advice/Insight:

It sounds like you are dealing with a lot and are really missing your friend. I imagine it must have been very hard coping through all of this. Was this friend someone you could talk to easily? I’m sorry that you’ve lost her, but you can still write to her, and talk on the phone. Just because she’s gone, it doesn’t mean that it has to feel that way. She can still be a part of your life. I know this isn't what you want to hear, but you need to tell your mom about what has been going on. The first mistake anyone can make is assuming others can't hear about our problems or don't care about them. You are only eleven, and your parents are who you need to turn to first. Then like discussed in previous questions you can see your doctor, potentially find medication if that's an option, and get into some one-on-one or group therapy. I don't see what's funny in having a friend who is depressed? Teasing is not an appropriate caring reaction to a friend who is feeling down. I am sorry that your support systems seem like they can't give you what you need, but you need to find someone to confide in, who you can trust and who can help you get the help that you need. We mentioned situational depression, and sometimes the life events in our lives make us even sadder. We feel like we can't deal with it, but we can if we get the help. We can start to see great change if we walk along the path to recovery and persistence. Get in touch with your friend and remind yourself of someone who makes you happy. When you speak with your parents, you should also tell them about the suicidal thoughts. Be as honest as possible to ensure that your thoughts are addressed. When you are feeling this way it is always important to talk to someone. If you don’t feel comfortable telling a parent or someone you know, please call a helpline in your area. A number which is often promoted at school or found on the internet. It is never safe to feel this way alone and that is why you must reach out and ask for help.

Question by Ebs:

I don't know why? I just find myself constantly being sad. I feel like I have lost loads of friends, when I haven't really, and just feel really depressed at times and happy other times. I’m also finding that I take things far too personally when it wasn't intended to. How can I stop feeling like this lol?

Advice/Insight: 

You need to let someone know how you are feeling. Start with your family. I know it's not easy, but it's the first step towards getting help. IF for some reason, you do this, and no one helps you, find someone who will. Don't get discouraged and remember that some people are better suited to deal with these matters than others. Talk to a guidance counselor, a teacher you like or call a helpline. Do whatever you can to get the attention that you need. You shouldn't feel sad all the time, and it must be very difficult to get through each day feelings this way. You need to take care of yourself. Please read this entire article as I feel that you will benefit from some of the advice I have already given. 

Question by Butterscatter:

What sh​ould I do to cheer up when I am in a really bad depression?

Advice/Insight: 

This is a great question, and the answer is entirely up to you. Make a list of all the things you love to do, and this can include people you enjoy spending time with. When you are sad try to give life to that list, and do whatever you can that's on it to change your mood. Everyone is different. For Dear Dish-It, it's a simple phone call with someone who cares about me. Often, talking it through will help me to let that bad mood go. 

Question by lilythebill:

I sometimes feel depressed but I don't know why. I feel like some people hate me. its almost like I am invisible to everybody. What do I do?

Advice/Insight: 

It sounds like you are really wrapped up in what others think. I know it's hard not to be, even adults care what others think, but you need to rely on your own intuition. The things you believe to be true will become true, so it is important to shift your way of thinking. Notice when you start to get negative and try to remind yourself about the things in your life that are going right. It may seem like there is nothing to be grateful for, but dig deep, there is always something to value in life, sometimes you just have to look a little harder. Work on building up your self-esteem so that you feel strong and confident in who you, and never feel the need to question yourself. If you have something to say, speak freely, let others know that you have an opinion and are far from invisible.  

Question by Ana In Wonderland:

How to deal with reality? I never had a dream come true. I am feeling so depressed. I notice when I'm growing up a lot of my problem come up. I really hate reality. I dream and wish for my fantasy. Sometimes I try to [commit] suicide but I can't because I know I can't die that fast. I wonder why God can't make us all by his side in the heaven... I wonder why he let us do wrong.. Our heavenly Father is powerful and can beat Satan but why He didn't? And still, let us do wrong things. Why he makes us suffer with this world? I wonder what he has prepared for us. So...tell me.. How to deal with reality?

Advice/Insight: 

Well it sounds like you have a strong faith in God, have you ever thought about using this relationship to channel positive energy? Instead of focusing on the wrong in this world, focus on what you love about it, and thank god for it. I know it's hard when bad things do occur, but you have to ask yourself if thinking this way is benefiting you or not? Our thought patterns can be highly damaging to us. I am concerned when you say "sometimes I try to commit suicide but I can't because I know I can't die that fast." Sounds like you think about dying, and sometimes try, but don't feel that it will be a fast enough solution. When you are feeling this way, please don't harm yourself in any way, please don't try anything that you may regret later. Please reach out to someone, is there anyone in your life that you can talk to? This is very important because we all need people who we can turn to in our circles. Remember there is always a helpline in your area that you can call. Life can be very challenging, but nothing is worth ending your life over. Things might be bad right now, but things can change, you just have to move in the right direction and start the process of your recovery. No, reality is not easy on any of us, and it sounds like you could use a little help surviving it all. Tell people how you feel, and open yourself up to getting the help you need. 

Afterthoughts

We all have to pay attention to our mental health because if it is not doing well it will interfere with everything in your life. Get the medical help that you need and build honest and open support systems, which will allow you to talk about your issues freely. Taking time to maintain basic self-care is key, as you need to eat right, sleep right and find a good balance between school life and leisure. If you are feeling down or thinking negative thoughts, please speak to someone. No one can help you if they don't know what your problem is. The more people do this, the more people are going to see the value in it. Nobody knows what is going on with you until you share it. People are scared and don't know what to do, but you will be surprised that people will do what is in their power to help you. Mental Illness is not easily understood, and a lot of sick people have lost friends and jobs over simple misunderstandings. The people who suffer from it are the best people to learn from, so remember that while you are sharing your private feelings, you are also educating someone else on how to better help and understand your concerns. People may not know what to do when you tell them you are depressed, anxious or suicidal. People are always looking for the "right" thing to say or the perfect, instant solution. But in these cases, there often aren't perfect solutions, and often listening can make a world of difference. Sometimes, basic reflection is very effective for people who are suffering from mental illness. Just saying something like, "it sounds like you feel really depressed and frustrated. “This at least acknowledges the feelings without trying to solve them and shows that you are really listening. You don't have to have all the answers. You just have to be able to listen, and really hear what people are expressing. We don't talk about it enough. The professionals aren't always available, and people need real-life supports in place. They need the support of the people who know them. Really try to support your friend with mental health issues before you suggest talking to a professional, chances are, that person has a professional already, but is being skillful and reaching out to what is currently available. Never take threats of suicide lightly, always report this information who can protect the person's safety. Everyone's situation is unique to that person, so if this advice doesn't suit you, don't give up, the right solution will come for you! Give it time, and allow yourself to grow.  

Interested in getting in touch with Dear Dish-It? Simply email deardish@kidzworld.com with your concern, and we will address you on “Let’s Talk about it Tuesday” if your question is suitable for our topic of conversation. Regardless, keep your eyes peeled as Dear Dish-It it is covering a lot of issues, and you never know when your question or topic of concern will be featured in an article. Please let us know if you would like your handle to be listed as anonymous and list your age in your question if you would like as that can impact advice. To learn the Do's and Don'ts of Dear Dish-It and to find out what kind of questions are appropriate, check out this article!

Have Your Say

What do you find most helpful when dealing with depression?  Comment below!