How is depression diagnosed?

  • Perhaps the best way to understand why a teen might say they’re depressed is by experiencing their life yourself!

    Brace yourself; you are entering the life of an average teenager.


    Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEPBLEEPBLEEPBLEEPBLEE-

    You smash your hand down on your cheap alarm clock and read the time: 5: 30 A.M. Time to get ready for school. You reach your hand over to your bedside table and grab for your phone. Oh, wait- your parents took your phone because you forgot to take out the trash. Groaning, you pull yourself into an upright position. You only got three hours of sleep because you had so much homework. Well, that and the fact that you couldn’t start your homework until 9 P.M the night before because your parents were giving you so many chores. You force yourself to get up and get ready for school.

    After quickly jumping into clothes (and praying that people won’t make fun of you for what you wore), you shove all of your homework into your backpack and hustle downstairs. It’s 5: 57 A.M, which means that you only have three minutes before Mom leaves and you have to walk three miles to school. No time for breakfast.

    Your mom comes downstairs and gives you an ugly look.

    “Why isn’t the god damn dishwasher unloaded!?” She yells. She tells you that you now have an extra day with no phone and extra chores when you come home. Luckily she still drives you to school, but that’s because she has a better mood than usual. Your ride to school in silence, as your mom is still furious about the dishwasher.

    Already, your day has started off too early, with people yelling out you, and you’re hungry. You don’t have money to buy a school breakfast, though, so you’ll have to just stay hungry until you get home. It’s probably for the better. Your family tells you how fat you are; may as well just starve yourself so they won’t say that anymore.

    You arrive at school at 6: 20, barely arriving to your zero period class. You walk in the door, but no one greets you. Everyone around you has food and Starbucks, but no one offers you any. You take notes for forty minutes, eventually forgetting your hunger.

    Your school day is boring and uniform: Go to a class that none of your friends in it, turn in piles of homework, take notes, receive piles of homework to compensate for the ones you turned in.

    When you get to fifth period, you remember that you have a test, and you didn’t have time to study. You fail, but you never had a shot: the teacher hadn’t taught any of the material.

    You sit with one or two “friends” at lunch, but you can’t eat because you don’t have money; and no one offers you food.

    Eventually, the school day ends. It was long, strenuous, and you have a ton to get done. Being done with school means that you have to go home, though, which is even worse.

    You arrive home after a long three mile walk. No one is home, so you have to sit in the backyard because your parents are naturally distrustful of what you will do if you are left inside alone. You watch YouTube on your laptop for the next fifteen minutes. That was your free time for the day.

    Your father gets home with your two little brothers. You finally enter the air-conditioned house, but you can’t relax. Your father remembers that you have to do chores, so he makes you vacuum the house. Your little brothers purposefully yank the cord out of the wall, turning off the vacuum. You tell your dad, but he does nothing to stop them. Eventually you get fed up and shove them away from you. Even though your brothers are 12 and 14, they go and cry to your dad about how you “hit” them. You carefully explain the situation to your father, but he doesn’t care. He slaps you across the face and tells you to be more mature.

    Your mother gets home. For some reason, your mother has always hated you and you don’t know why. She glares at you anytime you enter the room, and makes you clean anything even remotely dirty, wasting your precious homework time. You have a mental breakdown as you work on your chores and homework and are told to “man up” by your father.

    You go in your room to get a piece of gum, but your little brothers stole the whole pack. You can’t complain to your parents, though, they will be mad that you had gum in the first place.They will undoubtedly hit you with a belt if they knew you had possessions they weren’t aware of.

    At dinner, you succumb to your urge to eat (having not eaten all day and all) and your family tells you that you’ve eaten too much or that you’re going to gain even more weight. When you go to shower, you look at your body. You aren’t fat, but you have been trained to believe that you are. You begin to sing in the shower, but stop when your father tells you that you’re annoying him.

    As the warm water rinses your back, the reality of your life sinks in.

    Your parents hate you.

    Your body is disgusting.

    You have no friends.

    You’re failing in school, which means no college.

    You begin to hyperventilate. Like a tidal wave, your depression hits. Tear flow freely. The only way you know how to make yourself hurt less is by cutting yourself, so that’s what you do.

    Eventually, you finish your homework, and cry yourself to sleep.

    And the cycle repeats. Over. And over. And over.


    So many of our lives as teens are like this, and it takes an extreme mental toll. So much is expected of us, but no one was to support us. Our parents reject us for who we are. We are not allowed to see a therapist, and have no friends we trust.

    Feelings are left to fester inside of us, eating us from the inside out.

    No wonder so many teens are depressed. Look at how we live.

    Shine bright,

    Jackson

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