Awareness

We all struggle

Unknown, Photo from article Suicide Prevention Week on website IOL

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If you look around your typical schoolroom, what do you see? The girl that has everything, the guy that’s an all-star for every sport he plays, the valedictorian? Do you ever think about what you’re not seeing? Most people don’t think twice about what goes on behind closed doors. You just see the big smile on their face, how happy they seem, the posts on their story of all the good laughs they have. It’s easy to assume that they have it all, that they are just this big bottle of sunshine. Are they?

The top causes of death in teenagers are accidents, homicides, and suicides. Every day in our nation there are over three-thousand suicide attempts taken by teenagers in 9th-12th grade. As you probably have guessed, these teens suffer from a mental illness known as depression. The Google definition of depression is “feelings of severe despondency and dejection.” Many people use this term loosely when it should be taken very seriously. Nearly 450 million people are living with this mental illness, yet two-thirds of these people never seek treatment.

Have you ever talked to your best friend? Really talked to them? It’s so important that you make sure that you are there for your friends and peers. Since most teens do not seek treatment for their depression, they often are forced to keep it all in. Imagine sitting through your school day with this big cloud of sadness that no one else can see. No one asks about it; no one knows it’s there. It is safe to assume that most do not seek out someone to talk to because they don’t want to be looked at differently. They don’t want to be treated differently from anyone else.

Having thoughts of suicide and death are symptoms of depression. If depression is left untreated, these symptoms can continue to get worse. People with untreated depression think that death is the only way out, the only way to get rid of the pain. There are many effective ways to treat this. These thoughts will pass, and you are not doomed to living like this forever. Seek help immediately if you are having these thoughts.

Depression symptoms rarely go away if left untreated; in fact, they only get worse. To distract themselves from the pain, most turn to substances. Whether it be alcohol, nicotine or other drugs, the sad truth is that these substances not only worsen symptoms but also increase the chances of addiction. Combining drugs/alcohol and depression is a very dangerous mix which can lead to suicide or worsening depression.

Another way people tend to cope with depression is self-harm. People suffering depression often feel “numb” to any emotion. Sometimes depression gets so bad that they don’t even get sad anymore; they don’t feel anything. To make themselves feel something, they turn to self-harm. This could also be a way to ‘punish” themselves if they feel they are worthless.

The effects of depression include problems at school, running away, substance abuse, low self-esteem, eating disorders, internet addiction, self-harm, reckless behavior, and violence.

When people feel down, or sad about something, often they say they are “depressed”. Yet, these emotions are relatively common. There are two types of depressive disorders: major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder. Major depressive disorder is where a person has an extremely depressed mood or loss of interest in pleasurable activities, lasting two weeks or more, along with other symptoms such as changes in weight or sleep. Persistent depressive disorder is a mild or moderate depressed mood on most days and can last for at least two years.

Next time you look at that girl that has is all or the guy who is good at everything he does, keep in mind that we all struggle. We all go through things, yet it’s even harder to go through things alone. Remember, high school is hard, but we’re all in this together. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. There is always hope.

IF YOU OR A FRIEND ARE HAVING THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE OR DEATH, SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY. SEEK OUT AN ADULT OR COUNSELOR. CALL THIS NUMBER: 1-800-273-8255.