I'm depressed but don't know how to tell my parents. What should I do?
- 16 year old female
It's so hard when we feel like adults won't understand where we come from or what things we're dealing with everyday. It feels like people won't care about the things bugging us. So why say anything at all? Why not just keep it to ourselves?
I've felt this way too. I still feel this way at times. And I can tell you that it's simply not true--people will care. The thing about adults is they're not perfect either. They have stuff going on in life too. They get down sometimes too. And I have found that a lot of the times adults UNDERSTAND and even can relate to how we are feeling. That was the case for me talking to my mom when I was younger. She didn't have any resources to help me, but she was able to point me in the direction of people that could help. Depression thrives in isolation. It amplifies that feeling of thinking you are the only person in the world feeling this way and no one cares. That's a lie. You hear me? Say it aloud: "That's a lie. People do care." You matter. The things that stress you out matter. The things that make you sad matter. And finding resources to help deal with those things is important. I cannot promise you every adult will be responsible and care and take your concerns seriously. But I CAN promise you that there are many many adults out there who will. I encourage you to start by breaking through those feelings of isolation by telling someone how you are feeling. Maybe start with a friend you can trust if you're not ready to talk to your parents yet. But remember your friend is only a start. Once you do that you'll feel a little less alone because someone knows. Then you take another step and tell someone else, preferably an adult this time. Sometimes saying the words are hard and writing them is easier. You don't need an elaborate fancy explanation or an excuse. Just write your truth: I am depressed and I don't know how to fix it. And hand that truth to one person you trust. That's the place to start: breaking down the wall of isolation and remember there are people in your life that love and care for you. People that will support you through whatever life throws your way. People you can count on. And you matter to them, very much. Hang in there.
About The Author: J.Elle is an African-American author and advocate for marginalized voices in both publishing and her community. Before becoming an author, J.Elle worked in education, teaching tweens and teens from traditionally underserved areas to employ hard work to fight for their dreams. More recently, as the founder of the Your Story Is Your Power, a creative writing camp for #POC teen writers, she mentors high school students on the craft of writing and the importance of sharing stories from their perspective. She's also a Spring 2019 Author Mentor Match Mentor and works as an Editorial Intern at P.S. Literary Agency. Her highly-anticipated first book, Wings Of Ebony, is slated to come out in the spring of 2021.
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A final note: We are strong believers in the power of therapy. We know that this isn't a realistic option for every teenager, since some of you might not have the parental support or extra income necessary to make this happen. But, if possible, please consider therapy. Many of the adults you respect most have benefited from therapy, and it's likely that you will too. There's no shame in getting support. You deserve it.