Teen depression is a very serious reality for many. Teenage years can be a difficult time for many. Social pressures of wanting and needing to fit in while being unique and accepted. Pressures to keep up with the academic load of school and the strong desire of parents for their teen to succeed can feel all too much sometimes. Identify is forming and they are not sure who they are nor exactly who they want to become.
With all this, many teens have trouble learning how to balance it all and often feel on overload. Unfortunately, we see that this can lead to teen depression which is such a difficult experience for the teen and family. You are wanting to help your teen but whenever you do you feel the wrath of irritability and reactivity from your teen. This often makes parents really overwhelmed and unsure how to go about helping their teen.
Perhaps your teen’s depression looks like this:
You pick up your teen from school and ask about her day. Her response is not surprising as she says “fine.” You try to probe further and ask about her friends or maybe a test. She starts mumbling something your way and you know she really isn’t in the mood to talk. The problem is she is rarely in the mood to talk to you. You end up feeling at a loss again on how to connect with your teen.
Once you get home, she runs up to her room and closes the door. When you go to check in to see if homework is being done she is yet again on her phone. You know how obsessed she is with social media. And you know how much she compares herself to her friends and tries to find acceptance with social media. You see how withdrawn she has been. You notice that her eyes get puffy and sometimes like she’s been crying. You are worried that she may be cutting herself.
You want things to get better for her and for her to believe in herself but you don’t know how to help. Teen depression can be very overwhelming for the parents and the teen alike. Of course you are concerned for your teen. All you want is for them to be happy again and to love themselves.
4 things you should know about teen depression:
Teenagers personalize so much more than you can imagine. Teens often experience things about being about them when it isn’t necessarily. Or maybe much less than they are making it out to be. If a couple friends of theirs go out and don’t invite your teen she is most likely getting into her head that she isn’t good enough, likable enough, pretty enough etc. When it really could have been not thought about or not such a big deal to her friends.
They develop narratives in their mind that are often very negative and unrealistic. We all engage in self talk and if the talk is primarily negative in nature this can lead to teen depression and hopelessness. The type of self talk that is often apparent is “I am not attractive enough”, “I am not smart enough” and “I am not funny enough.” Ultimately the underlying theme is “I am not enough.” When this is repeated over and over it is very hard to allow space for smiles, connection, and self love.
They can keep things deep deep inside which is a concern for safety. Finding words to their experiences is often hard for teens. They are likely allowing their thoughts to take them for a ride. Feeling as though no one gets them is a common feeling and as a result, often don’t share what they are experiencing. When deep heavy feelings are kept inside this can be a concern for safety. Self harm, suicidal thoughts, risky and self sabotaging behaviors are much more likely when things are kept inside.
Teens that only talk to teens about their depression will likely not be getting all they need. When teens do talk about their feelings they often only talk to their friends. Although it is true that support from friends is great for their mental health and happiness, this is hard when it replaces all communication with an adult. An adult is better able to help them challenge these thoughts, develop plans for growth, and ensure safety.
Teen Therapy at Simi Psychological Group we provide teens with a safe place to open up and share what is deep down. We encourage them to talk through the personalization, and deep feelings they are experiencing and challenge negative self talk and build confidence. Our psychologists and therapists work on building a genuine connection and confidence within the relationship so they are feeling safe and empowered.
Teen depression can be hard for everyone involved. It is important to make sure to help build their toolbox now and better handle all the pressures they face so that they are better able to navigate life. And ultimately live a happy confident life. Call us today for a free consultation!
Donna Novak, Psy.D.
I’m a licensed clinical psychologist who empowers people to work through the roadblocks that are holding them back and find meaning and purpose in their lives.
I specialize in working with anxiety and in helping adolescents and their families, adults, and couples better their relationships and find direction. Rather than shy away from the tough stuff in life, I prefer to face it head-on, together. I believe that challenges are part of being human and that everyone has the potential to become their own life’s navigator. So they never have to feel out of control or at the mercy of their circumstances. Learn more