I’m very, very glad you wrote. It’s so important to reach out for help when you’re feeling this way. I can’t offer a diagnosis on the basis of only a letter, of course. But I can venture that with a history of depression and the symptoms you’re reporting it’s very likely that the depression has returned.
What you should do is see a mental health counselor, preferably someone who is familiar with your case, for a thorough evaluation. It would also be a good idea to see your primary care physician for a complete physical exam if you haven’t had one for awhile. There are a number of medical problems that can look like depression.
What’s most important is that you stop thinking about getting help and start doing it. There’s no shame in reaching for help when you’re feeling sick. You are not overreacting or being too needy or whatever negative things you tell yourself. You’re simply not feeling like your normal self. Please follow through and make those appointments. In a few short weeks you could be feeling much, much better.
According to TeensHealth’s website, there are some things you can start to do to work on healing your depression. They say, “It may seem hard to share personal feelings with parents, especially if you haven’t done it in a while. It also can be hard to share when you’re not really sure what’s going on yourself. Sometimes parents can offer a new angle that helps you figure things out. Just talking about it might help you see things more clearly for yourself. Some people worry about how a parent might react. Will mom be mad? Will dad be disappointed? It’s natural to worry, but most parents are supportive and understanding when they realize what’s going on. If you’re like most people, you probably wish your parent would start the conversation. Sometimes a parent will ask what’s wrong. Much of the time, though, it’s up to you. Find a time when you can approach your mom or dad in a calm way. You might want to open the conversation by asking, “Can I talk to you? I’ve been feeling depressed and bad about things. I’ve been thinking I might need to talk to someone.” If it’s too hard to start a conversation in person, you could write your parent a note saying you need to talk. Sometimes the conversation just gets started by itself. For example, if you’re crying or overwhelmed, you might just blurt out your feelings. This could be the perfect beginning to the conversation you need to have. If you’re really upset, you’ll need to calm yourself (at least a little) to make the conversation worthwhile. That way, a parent can hear what’s on your mind and really listen.”
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on October 1, 2010.