“There is nothing wrong with me. I am healthy, pretty, smart and fun to be around. I don’t have cancer or any kind of deformity. I don’t even have acne. I have a great family who loves me and lots and lots of good friends. I’d even say I am popular at my school. I play softball and I’m really good at it; probably the best pitcher in the district. I have never suffered from any kind of tragedy and have no deep dark secrets. Why then, do I feel depressed?
It’s not like it happens when I am sad or mad or anything. It happens out of the blue. It hits me mostly when I am alone. I don’t even mind being alone, so I don’t know why it comes. I will be feeling fine and then it’s like a fog washes over me. I seem to get lost or stuck in the fog. Bad thoughts come to my mind. I get down on myself for no real reason. I feel like I am not good enough. I don’t like myself. I feel like no one else likes me either. Actually, I hate myself. I get upset. Sometimes I have trouble breathing because it is like the fog gets in my lungs. I get close to panicking. I feel like I am going to totally lose it. If anyone calls, texts or bothers me when I feel this way I ignore them or snap at them. I can be mean. I know I scared my little brother a couple of times screaming at him to leave me alone.
I want to know why this happens to me. Why do I feel this way? I could understand if someone like my friend Cameron felt this way. She has lots of reasons to be depressed. Her parents got divorced. She broke her arm and will never play softball again. She put on 30 pounds. She should be depressed, not me. Or what about Chloe? She lost her sister in a car wreck. She has problems. She should be depressed, not someone like me.
I want to know why it happens and how to stop it. I can’t talk about it to anyone, because they will just say the same thing I am thinking. There is no reason for me to be depressed. It doesn’t make sense. I hide it from my family, because I don’t want them to think I am crazy. I must be crazy, because there is really NO REASON for me to be so depressed.
This has been happening for as long as I can remember. Now it is happening more and more frequently and getting worse. Why do I feel this way? What do I do? Please help.”
This is an example of one of the most common types of recurrent depression and it can be treated successfully. You are not crazy, and you do not need to suffer any more. You say there is no reason for you to be depressed, but there really is. It’s in your brain. This does not mean that there is something “wrong” with your brain either. Depression is first and foremost a chemical beast, not just an emotional one. The chemicals in your brain affect your emotions. There does not need to be anything outwardly “wrong” in your life to cause you to experience depression. It is a simple chemical imbalance which is very, very, very common. We can’t express that enough. There are thousands upon thousands of people whose brains are just like yours. There are also thousands upon thousands more who haven’t had the courage to tell anyone about it. As the stigma surrounding mental health is disappearing, we are just now seeing an influx of people willing to talk about and get treatment for their depression.
With this type of depression, you need to see a professional in order to treat the imbalance of chemicals. Talk therapy with a psychologist is always beneficial, but will most likely not be the solution you need. You will need to be assessed and diagnosed by a Board-Certified Psychiatrist. The difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that most psychologists cannot prescribe medication, but all psychiatrists can. Now even some family doctors and nurse practitioners can prescribe psychotropic medication. There are safe, non-addictive, effective medications that you can take to correct the chemical imbalance. In most cases you will notice a difference in a matter of weeks. It can change your life for the better. It may not be something you need to take forever, or it may just become a necessary part of who you are. Either way, medication is a GOOD thing, and nothing to feel bad about in any way, shape or form. Some people need diabetic or thyroid medication their whole lives, others need psychotropic medication. That is just a fact. When there is something wrong, you fix it.
There are several ways to go about getting this type of help. The most important step is to tell someone that you need help. Remember, you have to seek help in order to get help. You are not just going to wake up one day feeling better. Depression can get worse if it’s not treated. It is a serious condition that cannot be ignored or endured. Depression caused by a chemical imbalance in particular will not fix itself. You have to take the first step. Once you are diagnosed, we promise you that the healing will begin.
Talking to someone and asking for help can be difficult for some people, but it shouldn’t be. If you broke your leg and needed help you would not hesitate to tell someone. The same is true with your brain. You don’t feel right and need help. There is no reason to suffer from a broken leg or from depression when help is readily available. This is why doctors and psychiatrists exist. People need them both.
You can talk to your parents and explain to them what you have been experiencing and ask them to make you an appointment with your family doctor or a Board-Certified Psychiatrist. This is the best option for a minor (under 18-years-old) especially if you have a supportive family. If you are not comfortable talking to your parents you can talk to another relative, a school counselor, coach or other adult who will be able to help you get help. If you feel as though you cannot speak to anyone you know, there are help-lines you can call. The professionals at the help centers can coach you to make it easier for you to talk to someone or connect you with someone themselves. The most important things to remember are that you are not alone, and you are going to be ok.
Please know that there is nothing more important than your mental and physical health. Getting well should be your top priority. The cost of mental health care and medication is steadily decreasing, making it more affordable to get the help you need. Some family doctors and nurse practitioners can prescribe psychotropic medication for only the cost of an office visit or insurance copay. Most drug companies provide the doctors with coupons for medications as well. Using a coupon, a $150-dollar prescription can cost you as low as $10. No kidding. Always ask for a coupon.
You wouldn’t drive on a flat tire until it ruined your car, let a leaky faucet flood your home, or walk on a broken leg. Don’t wait to fix something that is fixable. Get the help you need. You are worth it.