Having depression at any age is super tough, however I believe being diagnosed as a teen is very hard to handle. Therefore I am writing my story and experiences of when I was diagnosed with a mental health condition at a young age.
A couple years back, I started to feel rather low and get depressive episodes frequently. I was constantly feeling down, so I spoke to my school and they referred me to CAMHS. After many visits and assessments, they were able to diagnose me with depression. Although it hurt, it made a lot more sense! My depression was pinpointed because I constantly struggled with dark thoughts, being positive, carrying on with day to day life etc. I have been diagnosed since starting secondary school.
What is it like?
Having depression as a teen, I felt embarrassed and ashamed. It was so overwhelming and I was judged by my peers in school. I got comments thrown at me such as “why are you always so sad.'” “you look so depressed.'” “why are you never happy.” “you’re going to fail your GCSE’s” and so much more… I felt I wasn’t ‘normal.’ I felt I didn’t belong there as I was considered different. It was so hard to wake up everyday battling with yourself and your thoughts within your mind. Nothing was ever enjoyable anymore and there was a lack of motivation. It was so hard to wake up everyday and keep on going. I was exhausted.
What are the impacts of teen depression?
My depression really affected my education massively. I struggled attending school, going to lessons, completing work etc. I found it super hard to concentrate in class and be able learn at school. People often asked and made comments about my capability to do well. (Check out my post on Surviving school with anxiety! )
I found it hard to socialise with my peers and keep relationships, as I barely went out with or texted them. I felt it impacted my bonds with others and was paranoid they wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who was not the same. This made me feel I had to change, but its not that easy.
My mental health also affected my sleep. I rarely got any rest as I struggled the most at night times overthinking and feeling down. I tried everything to get a better sleep, but nothing worked. Whilst everyone was asleep, I felt alone. Night times were the worst! (Check out my post Tips on how to sleep 😴)
Having depression can also impact on your physical health too. I started becoming very insecure about my body and had gone through a eating disorder and made myself really ill from it. I lost a lot of weight, was in a lot of pain, I kept fainting, I was sick. It was exhausting! It wasn’t a nice place to be.
CAMHS was a massive part of my diagnosis and were able to help me through my depression. They were able to offer me courses and medication that has saved my life! The service are an amazing team that have been through my whole journey and supported me throughout it, with no judgement. CAMHS helped me overcome my eating disorder too! I honestly wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them!
School has also taken a massive part in my diagnosis. The support at school has been absolutely amazing and have helped me get through my time of education. Make sure you find someone you feel able to talk to, mine is school!
How I have overcome it!
Now you have heard my story, you must be wondering ‘how did you overcome it?’ There are still many times I find myself down, but I pick myself up again using these tips!
I believe that one of the most important things is helping yourself. In order to see an improvement, you need to engage with others and want to get better. At the end of the day, it’s not all down to support services, you need to play your part too and work as a team.
When battling with depression, I had a lot of support in place to help me. This included counselling, support from school, CAMHS and just generally talking to people that can help.
To help my mental health condition, I take medication. At first I wasn’t too sure however I wouldn’t be able to cope without them now. If you are thinking about this option, make sure to speak to your doctors!
Although this may not be for you, I find blogging really helps me deal with my mental health. It allows me to utilise my stories and experiences to help and inspire others which is what I love to do!
Going through dark times, I felt that helplines were really beneficial to me to be able to get out of crisis. I felt more comfortable using text services rather than calling, but do what is best for you!
Here are a few examples:
- Hopeline Uk (0800 068 41 41)- this service is completely free and for under 35’s. You can also email them: email@example.com
- Samaritans (116123)- this service is free and for anyone. They are there day and night to listen without any judgement. You can also email them: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Calm (0800 58 58 58)– this service is free for men who hit crisis point. You can also use there online webchat.
- Childline (0800 1111)- this service is free for people under 19 and is private/confidential. If preferred, you can email them or use their webchat.
- Young minds (text YM to 85258) – this free text service is for under 25’s. I tend to use this one the most as they get back to you reasonably quickly, are super friendly, you don’t have to give information if its uncomfortable etc.
Sometimes I feel that apps can distract me and help me through dark times too! Here a few examples:
Stay Alive- Free for any age.
This apps supports people to stay safe through crisis.
Calm Harm- Free for any age.
Private and protected app to help prevent self-harm.
distrACT- free for 17+
experts in suicide prevention.
At the end of the day, depression can be hard no matter what age you are. You all go through different difficulties. Here is my story and my tips for depression! If you have any other suggestions, what’s yours?