Teenage Depression: What I Would Tell My Teenage Self How to Cope
Looking back, I view my high school years as the worst period of my teenage life. It was hard to accept myself the way I was. I hated myself as a teenager every other day. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way my peers would tease me. I hated I didn’t have “good” hair or looked as pretty as the other girls.
To make matters worse, I felt many of my peers were in the same position, but they were not interested in talking about it. It is easier to get a peer’s attention to talk about a new music video or the latest fashion magazines instead of talking about what was more important during that time; deep personal issues within oneself. Chatting about the latest trends wasn’t just for conversation purposes. At times, it was a form escape, especially when realizing many peers were not comfortable in their skin and resorted to being carbon copies of people they idolized from videos and publications.
There is nothing wrong with admiring another person for what they have, but it is better to define your identity and be your own person.
Now, as a parent of two with one being a teenager, I thought about my teen years and how most of them were accompanied by depression. I didn’t realize it at first but closer to graduation it hit me, but I didn’t bother to get help. I don’t want my kids to go through what I went through.
Sometimes teens need to hear things from experience. The issue is getting them to listen. If I knew then what I know now, maybe things would be different.
After thinking about what I went through, I wanted to touch a little on what I would have told myself as a depressed teen.(At the least, share some insight on what I think a depressed teen needs to hear and think about at this point in their life.)
Accept Yourself but Know You Are Still Changing
Ranging hormones is a part of nature but remember you won’t be in this frame of mind forever. At this point, you have a good idea of the person you want to be. You have values and character that got you this far. There may be things about you that are changing you don’t have control over, but you can choose to accept the person you have grown to be. Why?
There are life lessons you have learned to help you reach this point in your life. Some of those lessons are more valuable than you’ll ever know. You’ve gone through experiences others your age may never experience. There are other steps and processes that helped create you. You’re not the only person to struggle, and you will experience more as you get older. If you can learn to accept yourself now, you can accept changes that will come for the better.
Don’t Fall Prey to Insecurities
When peers tease you, talk about you behind your back, or bully you, chances are they have issues about themselves they have yet to resolve. No one is perfect, and that means they are not in a position to judge you. They are not coming out of their pocket to make you look the way they think you should look, so why allow their comments to bother you? You’ve got to develop a tough skin. It is not your fault they don’t know how to deal with their insecurities in a better manner that doesn’t involve bringing down other people.
Redirect Your Focus on Bigger Better Things
Somewhere along the way, you let the real reason why you go to school every day slip your mind. You are going to school to better yourself, not to let others get the best of you. You have challenges to work through that are far more serious than any negativity that’s weighing you down. You are at an age where you should have a better idea of what you want to do with yourself. You have bigger things to look forward too, but you won’t get there being in a slump every day. What happened to the little girl that liked to daydream about her goals and aspirations? It’s okay to dream still because you are closer to making it a reality.
Looking Good Isn’t Everything
Some days are better than others, and the same can be said about looks. There are peers acting like they are the fashion police. Just because you’re not rocking the latest trends doesn’t mean you have to be a target of ridicule. Sometimes it’s not any better if you change up your look. It’s sad when you get compliments from people that usually put you down or talk about you behind your back because you don’t know if they are truthful or shady. The moment you stop looking cool to them they are likely to go back talking junk behind your back.
When you feel like putting in extra effort to changing your look (such as doing something new with your hair or wear a different style of clothing), do it for you, not somebody else. Don’t do it to get liked by people, but because it makes you feel good and it makes you like yourself more. Becoming a woman isn’t just about looking good, but it is one aspect you should value in your own way.
Life Will Get More Challenging: Toughen Up
Whatever the reason is for you feeling down and blue, I hate to be blunt, but you need to toughen up. Whether someone hurt your feelings, dislike your looks, made you feel inferior, or you don’t want to be bothered by anyone’s bull shit you need to keep things moving forward in your life to bigger better things. Have faith this bout of blueness will pass.
You have to get your mind right. There are people that want the same opportunities you want. There are people that will do shady things to others to get what they want. The world today has vile individuals that feed off of weak-minded people. Don’t let your outlook on life help someone else advance unless you are willing to take the lead to get what you want first.
Harming Yourself Won’t Make the Pain Go Away
You haven’t done anything wrong to anyone else so why would you want to hurt yourself? It is okay to admit your spirit is broken. You may feel bad but wish it was a better day. The thought of even attempting to hurt yourself or take your life is heart-shattering. You think it takes the pain away, but it only causes more hurt within yourself and to those who care about you. It is why you need to open up and share with others what you are feeling.
To feel this way isn’t something to wish on anyone. Hope is never gone because someone will always care. There are others like you going through the same thing, but they managed to find a way to cope. Use this moment to learn why your soul is hurting. Focus on what you can do that is productive and positive to encourage this impulse to pass. You have so much ahead of you.
There are plenty of support groups online, and locally that can help. There is always someone willing to listen, whether it is a family member, friend, a community leader, your doctor, or whoever you feel comfortable to open up. It is never too late to get help. The sooner you seek it, the sooner you can feel better. When you believe you are worthy better days will come.