Try to imagine this scene for a minute: three 15-year-old girls huddled around the bottom of a bunk bed at three AM talking about everything and anything that comes to mind. Sounds like a cliché Lifetime movie right? Well, that is a regular thing that my best friends and I do pretty often. Last week, my best friend and I slept over at another one of my best friends’ house; we grew up together and have more memories together than I can recall. The topic of conversation switched to depression and anxiety, and we all went around telling each other about our experiences and thoughts. We were in very deep about the topic when I started to realize something it took me far to long to admit: I am not sad; I have amazing friends, and my family is amazing, and I have no real reason to be sad at all, although I am depressed from time to time. While this revelation came to my mind, I began to talk about it to my two best friends, who told me they felt the exact same way. As the conversation continued I began to think to myself: if you were to ask me two years ago what my definition of depression was, I would have probably told you something along the lines of being sad. Today, if you were to ask me what my definition of depression was, I will tell you it has nothing to do with sadness, depression is emptiness and numbness. I am not sad; I am depressed.
Depression is common among teenagers; while your hormone levels are rising and falling, so will your mood. Hormones are not the only leading factors of depression; your environment can have a lot to do with depression. Negative environments can obviously cause sadness and depression, and abuse is also a leading factor. While there are plenty of different reasons one can become depressed, no one knows for sure what causes depression. Depression can occur at any point in life, for anyone of any age or gender. Sadness is completely different than depression; sadness is a normal human emotion that everyone goes through no matter what. Sadness does not just jump out at someone; it is a domino effect. Something happens, a person processes it, and they determine how they react to that something. Once that person determines that the thing that has happened is sad, they become sad–not technically depressed. Depression is a built up emotion typically. Even though depression tends to be emotions built up, some people in life experience depression different ways: some get ’bouts’ of depression from time to time, and some will be depressed once in their life and then never experience that feeling again.
Although you can be depressed and sad, they are not the same thing at all. It took me almost 16 years to realize that I am not sad; I tend to get bouts of depression every so often, like when my hormones elevate during that time of the month, but that does not mean I am sad. I am not a professional in this topic, at all; I just know my own experiences and feelings and emotions. If you are depressed or sad, I highly recommend talking to someone–anyone at all. If you feel that your case is too much to handle on your own, I would recommend seeing a professional as soon as possible. Talking and getting everything out into the real world and not just your head is such an amazing feeling and it has helped me so much. I just want to mention that even though you might feel hopeless now, you never know what will happen tomorrow; stay positive.
Edited by: Kim Rooney
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