Could you be depressed?

Right, being in your teens is no picnic, what with parents, teachers, brothers, sisters and friends who often make your life miserable. Or maybe it's not them, but just life in general, or the atmosphere at home, or your daily boredom at school, or the fact that you think no one likes you.

But could your feelings of being down in the dumps be more serious than you think? Could you in fact be suffering from a very real depression?

You don't have to suffer like this. There is help available. And no, your friends don't have to know about it.

If you've had any of the following symptoms for more than a week or two, it might be an idea to see your GP or the counsellor at school:

  • You cry often and often feel sad.
  • You get irritated and angry or lose your temper quickly.
  • You often listen to music with really depressing words.
  • You no longer enjoy the activities that you once found very interesting.
  • You have little energy and feel bored all the time.
  • You often feel ill and miss school because of stomach aches and headaches.
  • You avoid family and friends and feel quite isolated.
  • You feel bad about yourself, you feel guilty about lots of things, you get angry when other people try and make you do things, your thoughts are often very negative, you feel angry with the world in general.
  • You easily feel like a failure and are very sensitive to other people's criticism.
  • You have difficulty concentrating at school and your marks have gone down.
  • You are often absent from school.
  • Your sleeping habits have changed – you stay up very late at night and have great difficulty waking up in the morning.
  • You are experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
  • Your eating habits have changed – you're eating more than usual, or less than usual.
  • You often think of running away from home or make an effort to do so.
  • You often think or talk about suicide or self-destructive behaviour.

(Ilse Pauw, Health24)

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