Inside depression

Tue, 02/26/2008 - 3:13pm
By: The Citizen

By Gregory K. Moffatt, Ph.D. February 2008

I open my eyes in the morning and the sun is up, but in my head it feels like darkness. I have no energy and even though I know that I’ve had plenty of sleep I still feel exhausted. I can’t remember what it was like to wake up happy and I can’t remember what it was like to go to bed and not think it would be OK if I never woke up.

As I walk through the day, I see people talking and laughing. Their comments seem so trivial. I don’t care what people are wearing, who they are dating, what songs are popular, or what we’re having for lunch. It is less than not being interested. I am numb to any significance of these things. I envy their enthusiasm and I wish I could be carefree like they are.

Food has no taste and I have no appetite. Music brings no pleasure for me and it doesn’t move me. The only time I find usefulness in music is when I put on my iPod and shut out the rest of the world. With music I can crawl into my own world and reduce the noise around me to a single song. This makes my life bearable. I know it is ironic, but the only songs I relate with are sad songs and that just makes me feel worse.
When I’m at school I hear my teachers talking, but their words are mumbles in my ears and I don’t care what they have to say anyway. It is hard to care about algebra or history when I don’t even feel like living.

When I’m not feeling sad I’m so agitated that I snap at my friends, my siblings, and even my teachers. My parents vary between trying to cheer me up, criticizing me because of my bad attitude, and explaining that they are worried about me. I know they are worried, but I just don’t have the energy to care. I know they are right when they tell me I’m wasting my life and when I look at the time I’ve wasted, not doing what needs to be done, it compounds my frustrations with myself. It is a ever-ending cycle.

In my head I understand that life might get better, but it seems there is nothing that I can do to make my heart believe it. I feel destined to live like this forever. I can’t imagine any better definition of hopelessness.

I look at my mistakes, my goof-ups, and my grades and I feel like a failure. Compliments don’t help. Even when people tell me how good I’m doing at something I still think, “If they only knew the real me” and it just makes me feel worse.

I don’t do drugs, but I’ve experimented. Even though I don’t like the idea of drinking or smoking pot, the few times I’ve tried them I’ve realized intoxication is an easy way to feel peace. When I’m stoned, for a few hours I am actually awake and not hurting.

It is ironic that my high school literature class just finished reading “Romeo and Juliet.” Stories about people committing suicide make great sense to me. I know my teacher didn’t mean us to take it this way, but Juliet’s suicide seems really logical and I’ve entertained that notion myself. I sometimes think life just isn’t worth the trouble.

The above scenario depicts how someone feels when he or she is suffering from depression. About 10% of all adolescents (about 2 million per year) have a depressive episode at least once during adolescence. Parents need to recognize the symptoms of depression in their children. These include listlessness, emptiness, sudden weight loss/gain, difficulty concentrating, excessive fatigue, and lack of pleasure in activities that once brought pleasure to the child.

Parents must also understand that recovery from depression, especially chronic depression, is more than “attitude adjustment.” It may require therapy and/or medication. Therapy can be effective in helping to provide an adolescent with coping skills to help him/her through these difficult times and even though many people resist medication, the fact is that depression is often successfully treated with medication.
If your child shows these symptoms, seek intervention from a counselor or psychologist. Depression is the leading cause of suicide among teens.

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