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Battle Scars

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Many students abuse the word “depression” when expressing feelings of overwhelming stress. However, when strife causes suppressed feelings in teenagers, melancholic memories remain. Mixed emotions create a sense of wishful thinking in the mind of a teenager, hoping for a place where weaknesses can become strengths. When coming out of this depressed phase, individuals may feel confused, left with metaphorical and physical scars.

Keep in mind, there’s a difference between a gloomy state after dreadful news, and a mood disorder; just as there’s a difference between a one night’s lack of sleep, and insomnia. What is the accurate definition of major depressive disorder? According to David G. Meyers, who wrote Psychology the Ninth Edition in the section that’s entitled “Mood Disorders”, there are five signals of depression that include lethargy or disinterest, feelings of unimportance, and loss of concern in family, friends, and daily activities. These depressive feelings may last for two or more weeks, without the use of drugs or any medical condition, and is the number one reason people request mental health services. But what causes this depressive disorder? Anxiety causes depressive moods in reaction to past or current losses. Consider these feelings as an example of low battery detection on your laptop - a detection that informs humans to acquire defensive measures.

Statistics show that approximately four out of every one hundred teenagers have a depressive disorder, and may affect school grades, cherished relationships, exploitation of alcohol and drugs (most common in boys), or controlling contemporary behaviors in other ways. “Depression is the constant feeling of sadness, and not finding anymore joy in the things you love. It often causes you to keep yourself isolated. I think teens are in a crazy stage of their life, and have too much to do. A lot of my personal friends face a lot in life, and have been through life changing experiences that cause them to look at life from a different perspective. Teens now-a-days, go through so much and sometimes do not know how to cope,” says one anonymous high school student in Queens, NY.

Parents are not frequently “open” sufficiently to permit their child to voice their opinion, or become young adults. This causes major frustration in a teenager’s life. Socialization becomes a very difficult aspect to shuffle because depressed teens feel they are unaided in the world. Dilemmas at school such as, unable to concentrate or low grades for formerly good students occur. Forgetting how intricate high school can be, parents do not comprehend that it is not simple to finish homework, get to bed at a respectable time, and manage acceptable grades. This can put much pressure on the teens, and cause them depression.

“When there are class discussions, I’ll see a person who seems like their mind is somewhere else. Often, times looking into a student’s eyes can tell you a great deal about what he or she is feeling. There’s a difference between looking bored and when something is generally wrong. Then, I’ll start noticing if he or she is absent a lot, or starts to become late. Homework and class work grades start to drop, as do test and quiz grades. They become withdrawn and anti-social. Their energy is slow. That’s how I know something is wrong with a student,” says English teacher, Michelle Hui.

Another major contribution to depressed teenagers is possible issues at home. Fifteen out of twenty frazzled homes have problems such as, parental separation, domestic violence, and neglected households. Problems at home effect teens more than any other aspect that contributes to teen depression. Reckless behavior, Physical violence, and substance abuse are common in those who fear to return home after school hours. Though, there is a good share of those who are paranoid of being out on the streets. These teens tend to turn to internet addiction, as an escape to their problems, self-injury, or eating disorders because they are left alone.

Teens are generally untreated for depression because they must rely on their parents to help them, but if they feel they cannot go to their parents because their suffering has not yet been recognized, the teen feels that they will not be understood. This causes the depression stages to become more difficult to deal with, and mend. Because of this, the teens feel they must deal with this problem on their own, and they must get used to it because this is what life is.

If these stages of depression remain untreated, and the teen has no escape from past or present, the teen may resort to complex behaviors, posing as a cry for help, such as, self-loathing, self-mutilation, drug abuse, and physical violence. Actions leave the teen's mind alone; greater circumstances may rise in the teen's mind.

When a teen feels like they are alone, they figure no one loves or cares about them. All of their troubles sink into their minds and these thoughts consume them, greatly affecting their attitudes. These thoughts may often cause a teen to have thoughts of suicide. Studies have shown that teen suicide is the third leading cause of death. It is a very serious matter, and should not be taken lightly. Teens may speak of giving things away, or asking questions about how others would react if they had died. When asking these questions, the teens look for people’s attention to hopefully notice their suffering, and question back as a method to help, but when little or no interest is shown by others, the teen’s thoughts of loneliness and unworthiness return. Studies also show that signs of cutting or self-loathing are the two major behaviors which lead to teen suicide. Teens that have cuts or burns on their bodies are usually in a state of depression. Cuts or burns show they have no way to express their anger, so they use razors, knives, or lighters to bring physical pain to their dire emotional pain.

Always remember that teen depression is highly treatable, and it is okay to seek help. As hard as it is to talk to parents, it must be done. Communication is key, and one talk may save a life. Teens can be helped.

Dr. Rebecca Mischel, PsyD therapist stated, “There are plenty of techniques that can be done to help teens cope with their depression. Writing feelings down in different colors is a way to express anger, sadness, happiness, or any other feeling. By the teen looking at this with their own eyes, it helps them better their minds. Another way to release anger or frustration is to exercise. Even taking a brisk walk for a half and hour can help the teen leave problems in the mud.”

Emotional extremes such as depression can cause an unexpected standstill that can fashion an individual’s feelings of no “real” life within their being. Charles Darwin once wrote, “Depression… is well adapted to make a creature guard itself against any great or sudden evil.” In this state, an individual can feel emotional disconnect. Constantly feeling defeat, mystification, harm, and maybe even irritation towards yourself may be common. Thoughts can cause fear of what’s happening in the given environment, and nervousness. There are professionals who are willing to help, even when it seems that only the unholy darkness may lie ahead.





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