From a 15 year old girl in the U.S.: I am a counselor in training at a local stay over camp. This past summer was possibly the best. I took care of girls, I got to be myself, and I got to make friends with a lot of people. I loved the responsibility that I had and the fact that the girls looked up to me and made me cards and bracelets. When I got home, I noticed that I was acting differently. I spent more time alone in my room and I became moody. I also cried at night a lot, which for me is very unusual. I have been going to this camp since I was seven, but this is the first time I have ever come home and acted like this. This past summer at camp has changed me and I constantly miss it up there. Could this be some form of depression? Thanks!
A: It’s likely that you are grieving. Being a counselor at camp is a life-changing experience for many young people. While away from family, friends and normal life, camp can seem like a whole new world. You got to try on new responsibilities and a new level of maturity. People at home don’t know the girl who was at camp. They still react to you as if you’re the same person who left. It can feel like a huge disappointment. It can feel like a huge loss. It makes many people want to just go back to camp.
Sadly, we can’t live at camp. Your challenge is to bring your camp self into your ordinary life. It will be tough at first. People don’t always respond well to change. Your family and old friends may expect you to be a certain way and they may act confused and even upset when you don’t play the role in their lives you always played. But if you stick with it, they will probably come around. You learned valuable things about yourself and your own possibilities during your stay at camp. Hold onto that self that was emerging at camp. It’s a wonderful foundation for becoming all you can be.
I wish you well,
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jul 2014
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). I’ve Been Depressed Since Returning from Summer Camp. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 26, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/07/06/ive-been-depressed-since-returning-from-summer-camp/