Depression and Suicidal Thoughts are NOT Normal Teenage Problems
Dr. Richard Schultz Says...
Hello again, my friend:
Thank you SO much for writing back to update me on your situation. I am very glad to hear that my initial reply was helpful to you, and that you now have some greater hope of recovery. I am also pleased to know that the frequency of your severe depressive thoughts and feelings have reduced somewhat. This is great news.
Based on what you have said, however, it certainly sounds as if you are still struggling quite a bit, and the facts that you are still having such difficulty focusing on your work, and do continue to have thoughts of suicide when you think about your life are clear signs that TREATMENT IS STILL NEEDED. I know that accessing mental health assistance in your country may be more difficult than it is here in the United States, but I have to believe that help IS available to you.
Think of it this way: If one of your parents, a sibling, or a best friend came to you in such pain, I know for sure that you would not hesitate to get them assistance. Sometimes, however, we have difficulty in showing OURSELVES the compassion and kindness that we would gladly extend to others in need. So, in this case, I REALLY need for you to be a loving, accepting and nurturing friend to yourself and follow my suggestion to seek mental health treatment.
I am pushing you to get treatment for several reasons. First of all, the symptoms you describe, although improved, continue to manifest at a severe level. Second, many types of anxiety and depression can be very stubborn, and the more we resist addressing them, the more strongly they persist (I'm not sure if the symptoms themselves are so stubborn or if is WE who stubborn in accepting and getting help with them). Finally, these symptoms are negatively impacting your ability to function and live your life constructively (not able to study, spending lots of time on the internet, and somewhat paralyzed by worry about your future). The more you fall behind in your work, the more intense your worry and depression may become. Therefore, with regard to getting help, the sooner the better!
Finally, in answer to your last question, although academic, familial and psychological pressures are commonly experienced by us all as we move into the world more independently, frequent thoughts about ending one's life and severely depressed mood are signs that something more serious than just "being a teenager" is going on.
So, in closing, I will make a direct request of you; that is for you to begin investigating the availablity of treatment as soon as you finish reading this reply. Maybe just spend 15 minutes talking with a friend or family member about treatment, or investigating local mental health professionals and clinics on the internet (since you are already on the internet a good bit already). After that 15 minutes, see if you feel more or less hopeful about the future. I think that seeing yourself get some help will in itself begin to improve your mood and self-confidence. We like seeing ourselves move forward and we don't like seeing ourselves remain stuck.
Again, I wish you courage and strength as you follow my request. Please continue to update me on your progress as I very much want to help you get the asisstance you need and deserve.
Richard E. Schultz, Ph.D.
Page last updated Aug 26, 2012