From a teen in the U.S.: I have been winning my battle with anxiety and depression, but recently have found myself missing the bad things. I know I wouldn’t feel that way if they were back, is it because I became too used to living with negativity?

A: You said it well. We are all used to the things we are used to. I’m so glad that you are winning the battle but, as you are finding, it is only the first battle, not the last. The first battle is to reduce the feelings of anxiety and depression. The next one is learning new ways to manage your feelings and how to live your life differently.

The past has a way of being seductive. We know how to do that — even if it didn’t feel very good. Learning how to be different is a big leap. It often means recalibrating our relationships, taking new risks occupationally, and learning how to behave differently when life doesn’t go smoothly.

There are many people who decide the challenge is too big. They decide they would rather be happily miserable than learn ways to be happy without the misery. I hope that will not be the case for you.

Most people do need help to conquer the next hurdle. I hope you are in therapy. I hope you will work hard with your therapist and open up a future of new and happier possibilities for yourself. It will take time. It will take effort. But you are only in your teens. You have a long life ahead. It is so worth it to do that work now so you can live the next maybe 80 years without the shadows of anxiety and depression.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie