First things first, if you are feeling like hurting yourself or killing yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. They are there 24/7 to help you. Don’t want to call? You can have an online chat with them here: http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is defined as severe depression that lasts longer than two weeks and interferes with a person’s ability to function at home, at school, and with friends and family.
Classic signs of depression are:
- Changes in sleep – either too much or too little
- Not feeling like doing activities that you used to like or that used to interest you
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Feeling tired and having no energy
- Having a hard time concentrating
- Changes in appetite – either more or much less
- Changes in your general activity level – either being agitated, or ramped up, or the opposite, feeling beyond blah and lethargic
- Thinking about suicide or death a lot
Other signs of depression can be:
- Feeling really irritable or angry
- Picking fights with friends or family
- Feeling numb or empty
- Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
- Being too harsh on yourself, like criticizing your accomplishments or not being able to find positive things about yourself.
- Not liking yourself.
- Blaming yourself for things that are not your fault
- Not wanting to hang out with people
- Using (or increasing your use of) drugs, alcohol, sex to feel better
- Hurting yourself (self-harm like cutting)
Depression is a biochemical brain disorder where brain chemistry is altered resulting in the symptoms of depression. Certain things can increase your risk for depression.
- A family history of depression
- A recent trauma or major life stressor – like a family divorce, or losing your home, or having a sports career ending injury, to name a few
- Being a target of bullying
- Having lost a parent as a child
- Having a chronic illness
- Being exposed to childhood traumas like violence in the home or abuse
- Being under a lot of stress at school or at home
- Having another mental health disorder like an eating disorder or anxiety
If you think you are depressed, or even if you are just going through a hard time, one thing is very important:
Reach out for help!
Your parents or school counselor or school nurse or doctor can all help. Depression is treatable with therapy or medication or both. No one chooses to be depressed or feel sad all the time. Depression should be treated just like you would treat diabetes or asthma or a broken leg.
If you want to read more, see what guest teen blogger, Grace, has to say about normal sadness vs depression. Also, so important information about suicide. Videos more your thing? Here's a great video about depression created by a teen like you.