Being a teenager can be really tough. It’s totally normal to feel sad and irritable at times. For example, you may feel sad over a break-up, an argument with a friend or family member, or be disappointed about not doing well in school. Most of the time, you manage to deal with these feelings and eventually feel better. If these feelings don’t go away, keep getting worse, or it feels like you can’t handle them anymore, you may be suffering from depression.
Depression can last for a long time (i.e., weeks, months, or even longer), and involves strong feelings of sadness, irritability, or hopelessness. Depression can drain your energy, motivation and twist your thinking. Depression may make it hard to enjoy things in life. Depression can even cause aches and pains in your body. When you’re depressed, it can feel like you’re all alone and that no one understands. But depression is more common than you think. It can get much better with the right treatment and attention.
If you think you may be depressed, ask other people for help. Don’t wait for depression to go away on its own. Many teenagers find it helpful to share how they are feeling with parents or an adult they trust (e.g., school counselor, family doctor, telephone helpline). Friends can help too. They listen and are there for you when you need someone to talk to. Also, ask an adult to make an appointment for you to see a family doctor and a therapist. Treatment for depression might include talk therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Therapy can help people feel less alone and more supported. It helps you deal with negative thoughts and feelings, boost self-esteem and mood and build confidence and tools to deal with life's problems.
You can also do some other things to help improve your mood. Getting the right amount of sleep, daily exercise and eating healthy foods can really help you feel better. Focusing on positive thoughts and spending time with people that make you feel good about yourself can help, too. Even though you might not feel like doing anything or seeing anyone, try not to isolate yourself and make an effort to do things that you enjoy (e.g., yoga, going for a walk, listening to music, writing in a journal, drawing, etc.). Avoid turning to drugs or alcohol, because these can make depression worse.