“I don’t think I feel depressed”, said Mia Alex, a seventeen years old girl, “All I feel right now is frustration and anger”. While I looked at her bio, she seems to be a kind hearted and a bright teenage girl yet she was facing troubles in her schools and also with her friends. However most of the times the parents do not put much significant on their child’s issues and do not emphasize such issues thinking them as mere teenage problems. While talking to Mia, she said, “I was numb and could not feel anything but I knew that I was not happy”.
Most of the times teen depression and anxiety disorders are not treated right, as there are numbers of myths regarding the adolescent anxiety and depression in the young people but in reality we should realize that it is not normal for children to feel sad or anxious some times, rather it should be considered on a serious note. It is not normal to be irritable and anxious most of the times. Even though all of us feel down or sad at time, may be some times for no reason, but depression is something more than these short term unhappiness. This is an illness which may cause importunate change in the mindset, thought process and behavior that may lead to affecting the physical health of the individual. Also feeling anxious is quite common for the adolescents. They tend to feel anxious before exams or at the time of results, but the anxiety disorders are more than the mere anxiety feeling. It is more intense and adolescents tend to feel anxious on a continuous basis for months or weeks.
Mia continued saying, “One day I was at one of my friend Linda’s house. It was a get together of friends after our exam, so we all were happy and chit chatting the whole day. Suddenly while we all were laughing at a joke, my friend Ben made, while laughing I caught myself being happy and laughing only because I see others to do that. I was not really that happy and joyous with the entire situation at Linda’s house. That sudden feeling made me so sad and irritated I could not find anything interesting afterwards. After a point of time I had left the party and came back home. I did not like anything there. All of my friends asked me to stay, even there was this guy I liked a lot, Ethan. Even he asked me to stay for a while, but I could not. I did not like anything there and just wanted to go home. After coming back home I did nothing but started crying for no reason. I asked myself the reason but there was no such reason for my crying. I did not have any answer for it”.
There are several factors that contribute to such anxiety disorders and depression in teenagers. However the parents need to understand, that whenever it happens it is not someone’s fault. The most significant thing here is that the anxiety and depression symptoms are required to be identified and it should be left untreated. If such things happen it can affect the physical health of the individual along with their work and study. Previous studies have indicated that depression and anxiety are mostly interrelated. The clinical studies have recognized that around 90% patients of depression are seen to be having anxiety disorder systems as well; especially this is mostly seen in the teenagers. Most studies have named as mixed anxiety-depressive disorder where the patients are seen to have both the symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. We have found in most of the studies that these anxiety disorders are mostly the preliminary conditions that mostly occur at the childhood or adolescent period. Also some studies have recognized that the co-morbidity of both the depression and anxiety disorders can also be explained by a common genetic vulnerability. However what all the researches regarding the adolescent depression and anxiety disorders indicate that the symptoms of these diseases should be recognized and treated immediately. If not it can lead to underachievement of studies, drug or alcohol abuse or even it can lead to an increasing chance of committing suicide. So if your daughter or son tends to show some kind of symptoms or signs that can indicate towards anxiety or depression, you should talk to them or get them medical help as required. However, it this case, Mia’s mother Mrs. Williams was considerate and thoughtful enough to realize that her daughter was having issues and she needs to get some amount of medical help. Mia said, “When I started having such issues, I initially thought of talking to my mom about that but then again I got scared thinking that she will not put much emphasis on that. But then she only came and talked to me regarding all these issues and asked me if I need to talk to her or if I am not comfortable enough she can get me medical help as well. I cried so much that day by thinking that someone understood me and I did not feel that much vulnerable that I was feeling the day before. Now I think that I am fortunate enough to get such an amazing mother and such a supportive family who understood me when I could not understand myself. I did not know what exactly I want or I need at that point, but my parents understood me and got me what exactly I want”.
Several scholars have indicated that having someone in the family helps the individual to cope up with the situation because while in such a situation, it is difficult to live with your own self. Mia also echoed my thought saying it was the hardest thing that she had ever done. For a patient who is facing depression attack every now and then, it is difficult to live with herself, because of the vulnerable mental situation. At that point she could accepts other’s mistake but not hers, every other person seemed to be beautiful, but not her. With these thoughts, she had struggled each day and she is still struggling as she is still working with her therapy. Mia stated repeatedly that having a loving family could be of help as she could feel safe with them and felt nice while she talked to them. She said, “During that period I had major fluctuations of moods. On one day standing in front of the mirror I felt ‘Wow! I am looking good’ even without doing much things with my hair or putting any make up, but the other day after being dolled up for going to a party, I felt I am the ugliest of the lot and started crying over that. But having a loving family helped me a lot to cope up with such situation. Even though due to my continuous anger and depression attacks I almost stopped talking to my father for at least three months, he also kept a cordial and helpful relation with me throughout”. Mia’s father does not stay with them; she has mostly been with her mother and brother. She said, “I used to be so angry on my father of not taking care of us or treating my mother with negligence, whenever he made any approach towards me regarding those issues, I had reacted in a weird way. I was utterly saddened by the fact she only cared about herself and did not care a bit about my brother, my mother or me. These thoughts killed me while I realize the person I love the most, he is a selfish person. But during my therapy, I realized there is always a different side of the story, there is another side of the coin. Maybe the way he did not understand out situation, maybe my mother and he had some kind of mismatching in their relationship which did not work out. But both of them made efforts to make my brother and me happy and they always acted as a team when it came to my brother and me. They always made efforts that made me and James happy. So eve we should understand them and give them the space they want and take their own decisions in life”.
Mia was lucky enough that she has been treated by a medical person as soon as her mother could realize that she is having issues. The therapy of such depression and anxiety disorders help the person to feel confident and look towards life from an entire different light. These issues are triggered in the adolescents due to several reasons such as separation of parents, romantic interlude, death of a loved one or bullying at school or having other issues with friends. In this case Mia had issues with her parents and this may have triggered the root of depression in her. While I asked Mia regarding her therapy, she seemed to be very happy with that. When I asked her regarding her treatment and therapy, she clarified that there was no treatment as such. Generally doctors or counselors try different kinds of treatment for a patient. You never know what works before trying, rather if you are lucky enough, the first one will work. But Mia had to try a couple of procedures, before her counselor find the right one for her. Mia said she really enjoyed the procedure as for her it was like finding the right dress that fits and once she finds the right dress for her, she could be her own Cinderella. From her description, she seemed to have dealt with her treatment phase quite well. Even though she did not want to have any medicine, but her doctor and her mother both made her realize that she needs a basic medication sue the chemical imbalance in her body. Also she had depression and anxiety disorder in her family history; therefore the doctor did not want to take any risk and prescribed her the basic medicine. As she continued, “When my treatment started first I was kind of relieved as I myself could not find the reasons for my behavior for a long time. I was nervous and anxious at the initial stage, but the talk therapy worked like a magic. It was great to talk to someone knowing that I am not being judged or someone will not shout on me after knowing what I have done or what I feel about my parents”.
Psychological therapies work around ninety percent time after the adolescent is diagnosed with anxiety disorders or depression. The most helpful therapies in such consequences are Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Both these therapies help the individual to deal with their negative feelings and thoughts while encouraging them to involve into different activities that help them in a speedy recovery. From Mia’s interview I could realize that it is also possible that you are not being able to open up to your therapist, then it is okay to shift to a different one. Above all, you have to realize that you can never give up, you have to try till the end, you have to keep trying and keep going.
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