Today in this part of the world we remembered a very sad occasion and my kids wore purple in honour. Daron Richardson would've been 15 yrs old today, but she didn't get to celebrate this milestone. Unfortunately her parents have started marking a whole new milestone now.
My son is only one-and-a-half years younger than Daron was. The news last November, and remembering it today kinda hits home. I just cannot imagine coming home to find your child in the basement like that. It's unthinkable, unspeakable.
So I'd like to write an open letter so all the teens out there who may be relating particularly well to this topic.
You... Are Not Alone. You aren't. I swear sometimes we should just dump antidepressants into the public water supply*. This depression monster likes to make you think you're alone, but you are not. (*not my original thought: a very smart, depressed friend came up with that one)
Talk. To someone, somewhere, about this. When things were really bad for me I remember thinking I can't talk about this: if I open my mouth I'll start crying and I'll never stop and I'll drown and go crazy. Now granted the first couple of times I started talking about it I did become dehydrated from loss of fluids and ended up hiccupping through most of my sentences, but that calms down. I didn't go crazy, and no one told me I was crazy. People sat and listened, handing me tissues as I needed them and helping me.
It Gets Better. It does. It really, really does. Once your body figures out which hormone goes where and does what and you, your body and your life settle into a rhythm... it gets better. Please don't give up yet.
Start collecting tools (figuratively speaking), things you find helpful to fight this Demon. I realized much much later in life that depression and creativity live hand-in-hand. Being creative soothes that Beast better than any antidepressant does for me. If I'm not able to be creative for a while, guarenteed I will go squirrly. Music is a great tool for me. I truly believe that our brains are hard-wired to respond positively to music. Find a kind that makes your brain happy and strong to combat this Demon and load up your iPod with it.
Exercise. It feels like just about the last thing in the world that you'd like to do but getting some nice fresh blood up to those hardworking neurotransmitters helps.
Sleep. Wow, it's exhausting being depressed or anxious! When you need to, sleep. Of course the human teen's circadian rhythm is changing so there's that to contend with... but don't be surprised if your absolutely wiped (aka knackered: a much better term I think) sometimes. (especially if you've just Talked to someone... I'm always surprised that I'm physically tired from sitting and blabbing. yeah, yeah; and crying)
Basically just hang on; you're not alone and it gets better.
And if you're a parent: listen. Listen first, act second. And get help if you need support too. Let your child know through your behaviour that you can be trusted to take on some of this burden... and then celebrate when things do indeed get better.
Thank you for your time.