For most of my teenage years, life never seemed just right. I remember going through days putting on a smile, but at night cry myself to sleep. I started journaling when I was around 14. I still have the journals and usually write most in them when things start going really bad. The other night I got out the journal to put down an entry as I was enraged about how emotional I had been lately. After, I decided to take a look back at past writings. I realized that since I was around 15 I have been depressed. The worst part is that I have known about it for all these years, but I am just now accepting it. Recently, I have been feeling really down in the dumps and will either get mad easily or burst out into tears for no reason. Relationships that used to be strong or growing apart. The other day my sister, who was previously one of my best friends, and I got into an argument and she yelled “What is wrong with you?!” I have never told anyone about my problem, not even family. I feel like if I told them then they would treat me differently. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Who should I tell? Or should I not tell anyone? Please help me.
A. I am sorry you are having such a difficult time. It is hard to deal with depression, especially when you are attempting to handle it yourself.
You highlighted one of the benefits of keeping a journal, which is that you have a written record of your thoughts. In your case, it helped to determine just how long you’ve been depressed. It also helped you to see the progression of the depression.
Your family is beginning to notice that something is wrong. You may not want to tell them the truth but soon you may have to. Your concern is that your family may treat you differently if they knew you were depressed. My presumption is that you are concerned that they will treat you harshly or think about you in a negative light. I don’t have many details about your specific family situation but most families would not react the way you fear. They most likely would want to help you.
I encourage you to tell your parents about your depression. Ask your parents if they will take you to be evaluated by a mental health professional. If you feel that you cannot speak to your parents, then discuss your concerns with someone you trust and who you believe can assist you in accessing professional help.
You have noticed that your depression is getting worse. The proper way to handle this situation is to seek help. Depression is a treatable condition. It is not something that you should have to live with. You should not feel ashamed. You did not cause your depression. Depression happened to you. Now, it is your responsibility to ask for the help that you deserve. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle