Diaries Magazine

Coping with a Teen Suffering from Severe and Recurring Depression

Posted on the 14 September 2022 by Sparklesandstretchmarks @raine_fairy
Coping with a Teen Suffering from Severe and Recurring Depression

Depression among today’s teens is not a unique experience, and it can be wrought with terrible frustration for a parent or parents who desperately want their child to simply snap out of it. But while there exist many clinical therapy methods and spiritual/holistic options on how to help a teenager with depression, asking them to "get their head together" or to "snap out of it already" is most definitely not among them. 

According to a new report on the subject of severe teenage depression, if you are the parent of a teen, you are most likely very familiar with hazy responses or even the silent treatment when you attempt to engage in a conversation. Kids also tend to sleep forever unless you wake them and insist they embrace the day (or what’s left of it). Teens will also prefer the company of their smartphone over that of real faces and human interaction. 

Such behavior is not unusual for teens; however, they can also be signs of depression when taken a step further. If your teen is struggling with severe and recurring mood swings, you might suspect they are struggling with either just being a sensitive teen or suffering from mental health issues. 

Say the experts; severe clinical depression can include the following: 

--Fatigue, lethargy, and a general lack of energy. 

--Decreasing interest in normal, regular activities.


--sudden angry outbursts.

--Stomach and digestive issues.

--Spending less time with loved ones and/or friends.

--Failing grades and a disinterest in attending school.

--excessive self-criticism and negative talk.

--Openly talking about dying and/or suicide. 

If these alarming signs persist for over a couple of weeks, your teenager may suffer from depression. According to the Newport Academy, here's how you can help a teenager suffering from depression, be it mild or severe.

Ask Questions

After carving out some privacy to engage in a conversation, one parent should approach the subject of depression at a time. Two parents might seem overwhelming to the depressed teen, and a confrontation might result. 

You can explain your concerns by asking the following:

“I’ve noticed you’ve been sleeping a lot lately. Are you feeling okay?”

“How come you still don’t hang out with your friends?”

“I see that you get angry pretty quickly lately.”

“What’s up with school? Your grades seem to be slipping, and you're a good student."

You can then follow up with some open-ended questions: 

“Can you maybe tell me what’s been bothering you lately?”

“Why have you changed your mind about hanging out with your friends?

“Why do you think so much about dying or death?”

Note that speaking plainly about suicide to a child will not give them bad ideas. In fact, that’s said to be “just a myth.” If you ask your teen directly about suicide, it will make it easier for you to find him or her the clinical support they need. 

Make Sure you Listen

If your child begins to open up about their feelings, you need to be attentive and listen. Stop what your doing, be it work, getting ready for bed, or making a meal, and do not let the moment slip away from you. 

Teens suffering from severe depression can feel as if they are a burden to their families. If you don't have time to listen to them, they will take that as a clear rejection and feel like they are "bothering" you. This means they will likely not confide in you again, making matters worse.  

If it’s impossible to stop what you are doing, such as engaging in a Zoom meeting with your boss, you’ll need to explain that you can’t talk “right this minute,” but that very soon, you want to give them all the time they need for a one-on-one exchange. You need to let the teen know you intend to offer them your entire focus.  

Assist Your Depressed Teen with Support

As a parent, your guidance and compassion are irreplaceable when it comes to helping your depressed teen. But professional, clinical support is generally regarded as an essential step in improving symptoms that go with severe and recurring depression. 

If your teen doesn’t want to see a psychiatrist, then take them to their pediatrician first. Or you can speak with a school counselor or even one of their favorite teachers. Studies show that a depressed teen will be more open to clinical support if a trusted adult outside the family unit encourages it. 

You should also be open about what will happen in depression therapy so that the process becomes demystified. If they are anxious over having to be hospitalized and/or prescribed strong medication like Lithium, you need to offer support and encouragement. Only then will your depressed teen be on the road to recovery. 

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