Depressed or Normal Teen Issues?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I think I may be depressed. I really don’t know. I just need help! I think I may be depressed. I’m never really happy. I’m always bored. When i’m not home I can’t wait till i’m home soo I can get on my computer.. it just feels like i’m escaping everything. I never sleep at night. I mostly sleep the day away. I never feel good enough, skinny enough and pretty enough. I often find myself comparing myself to other girls. I seek attention from older men and I always feel like i’m not good enough. I often feel like my parents love my sister more, like there always giving her all the attention. I’m really shy and don’t have many friends. I have hurt myself before nothing major but like buirsing myself. I rather be alone then be with people. I’m really close to my mom(she’s like my best friend.) but I often think about my mom dying and that scares me a lot. Even if someone says the littest thing to me it hurts. If I get yelled at I will start to cry. Even if I do the stupiest little thing like say something stupid, I’ll feel embarssed and stupid by it.

I know I went on and on but I just need to know what’s wrong with me? Maybe this is normal? I don’t know. Btw I’m 14.

A. Depression may be a possibility but many of your concerns are common among individuals your age. Early adolescence can be a difficult time. There are many fears. Many will wonder if they are good enough, smart enough, funny enough, attractive enough etc., and will be very concerned about what others think of them. These fears and doubts are a very common experience. It is also common to worry about losing a parent or other that you love.

Adolescent girls in particular often compare themselves to other girls. If they do not feel “good enough” they may attempt to fill that void by engaging in unhealthy behavior. You mentioned that you seek attention from older men. There are complications to consider regarding relationships with older men. They may be interested in sex and feel that sex is a part of every relationship that they enter into. It is normal to want attention and love but it is important to be careful about from whom you seek it.

You also mentioned that you harm yourself. This is an unhealthy behavior. You described purposefully bruising yourself as “nothing major” but I would disagree. If an individual is intentionally harming themselves it is a concern. It is usually a sign of significant emotional suffering. Oftentimes individuals will attempt to physically harm themselves in an attempt to decrease their emotional suffering. That strategy never works. The relief it provides is temporary. It is an ineffective and maladaptive solution. It often leads to more self-harm and possibly permanent physical damage.

I would encourage you to speak to your mother about your concerns. She needs to know about what you are experiencing. She may be able to help you. You may want to ask her if she would be willing to take you to a therapist. A therapist can help you deal with the pain and trauma of adolescence. You may want to suggest that she go with you. Since you and she are close, then she may welcome the opportunity.

Psychology Today is a directory of mental health professionals in the United States. If you type in your zip code, you can search through local therapists’ profiles to see which one you may want to make an appointment with. Try to choose a therapist who specializes in treating adolescents.

Thank you for your question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 May 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Depressed or Normal Teen Issues?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/05/03/depressed-or-normal-teen-issues/