So I’m a 14 year old girl and recently I have realized that I haven’t been myself. I don’t care about things I loved and am not motivated like I was only months ago. It scares me because I’m not exactly sad more like unfeeling. I don’t know what I am doing anymore with my life, it’s just happening around me. I have also learned that I might have depression. This scares me I don’t want to have depression, I just want to go through my life normally.

A: Thank you for writing. Before we go any further, I hope you have had a complete physical exam. At 14, your body is going through a lot of changes. It may be that what you are experiencing as “abnormal” is the normal emotional roller coaster that goes on when young women start their period. Do talk to your doctor, especially if your cycle isn’t regular.

If that checks out, then start looking at your lifestyle choices. Are you getting a solid and regular 8 – 10 hours sleep every night? Irregular sleep patterns can cause what looks like depression. Are you eating right and giving your body the fuel it needs to handle the normal growth spurt that happens in adolescence? Finally, are you getting at least a half-hour of good exercise a day? Your body needs it — so does your mind. Exercise is the best antidepressant there is.

If you are doing all these things and still feel disconnected from your feelings, then it may be time to talk with a counselor who is experienced with helping teenagers. Adolescence can be a difficult time of life. Sometimes it helps to talk with someone who can help you sort out what is and isn’t normal and teach you some ways to cope with your feelings.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie