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Teen Depression

"Depression" is a word that's being used a lot these days and has been in use for a while now.

So much so that I think it's safe to say by this point, that all of us already have our set of opinions about the subject.


Among parents, for whom this article is intended, I've come to understand that many of these opinions tend to be on the negative and dismissive side.


A thought by itself can never be good/bad, harmful/helpful, right/wrong.

The things that can give a thought such qualities are the actions it leads to and the effects they have.


In the case of parents of teenagers, such opinions can be harmful as their child is going through a time when they're especially prone to being depressed.


So in such situations, a flawed understanding of depression from the parent's side can prompt them to approach the matter in such a manner that their actions turn out to cause more harm than good, even if the underlying intentions were positive.


It is very important to clear these misconceptions so that parents can correctly and effectively support their child who may be going through depression.


That's what we're going to do today by attempting to debunk some common myths surrounding teen depression.

"Depression is basically just sadness"

No it's not.


Honestly, what depression actually feels like is kind of difficult to describe to a person who has never experienced it.

It's a feeling of emptiness, of numbness. In teenagers, irritability is often seen.


It's a hunger that doesn't go away no matter how much you eat, it's a tiredness that doesn't go away no matter how much you sleep.

It still lingers at the bottom, doing its work.


The term sadness almost feels too simplistic to accurately describe what the feeling is actually like.

"My kid has a great life. What do they have to be depressed about?"

Just because someone looks happy from the outside doesn't mean they can't be depressed.


You can laugh, have fun with your family and friends, and genuinely feel momentary happiness, but still be struggling with depression that slowly eats you up from the inside.


(Also, don't take it personally. A lot of parents believe that if their child is depressed or having any issue with their mental health for that matter, that it's a fault in their upbringing. Not only does this divert our attention from what's actually important, playing the blame game helps no one.)

"It's just a phase. Teenagers are moody"

It is normal for teenagers to feel sad and act out from time to time. But that state usually doesn't last more than a few days.


Depression on the other hand, neither turns up overnight, nor goes away that quickly.

It can last for weeks and months, sometimes even years.

"They just need to think about positive things (religion)"

While faith can be of help to some people when it comes to coping with depression, it shouldn't be the only way.


When you rely heavily on a single coping strategy, you start to use it as the default mode of action whenever a depressive episode occurs.

After that it doesn't take long for it to start becoming unhealthy.

"They'll just be given medicines in treatment"

Medications are NOT the only treatment for depression out there. Other forms of treatment such as therapy also exist which can help immensely.


Ultimately, you should go with the mode of treatment that suits your child best and which they are comfortable with.

Conclusion

Depression IS very much a real thing, and teenagers are especially vulnerable to it.

It's a time where they need you the most and want you to understand and support them.


I understand parenting is difficult enough as it is, and trying to understand concepts such as depression that you yourself didn't grow up with may be a bit challenging.

But I know you love your child too and care about their well-being a lot.


So, try your best to be there for them.


Written by Vatsal




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