The Effects of Teen Depression on 17-Year-Old Josh
Josh doesn’t know whether he should tell his father how he feels. When he’s at school, he often feels different than everyone else, like there’s something wrong with him. Whenever, he’s with his friends, he’s worried that he’s the only one concerned about the way he looks and even anxious about who he is. Josh can’t really get a handle on feeling good about himself. At 17 years old, he feels like he’s practically an adult and should be mature and confident. But instead, he feels insecure, confused, and sad.
Josh doesn’t have very much energy for much else other than school. At the end of the day, when he gets home, he turns on the television, and falls asleep. When he’s at home, he sleeps a lot more than he did last year before his parents divorced. He lives with his father who works a lot and is practically never home. Being alone at home is okay; he doesn’t have to be with anyone and experience that feeling of self-rejection.
Josh sleeps all night, not waking up until the alarm goes off and gets to school just in the nick of time, if not, late. But even at school, Josh isn’t doing well. It’s hard for him to concentrate on assignments or the lectures given by his teachers. And he doesn’t really care either, whether he does well or not.
A school counselor approached him last week, probably because she could see that his grades are dropping, and asked him how he was doing. Although he could tell that she was caring, he didn’t want to tell a stranger how he felt. He stayed quiet and answered her questions with one-syllable words. Besides, he was shy too, and somewhat embarrassed about feeling the way he did. Aren’t most 17-year-old boys insensitive, strong, and emotionally distant? Why wasn’t he?
Josh knows that he’s depressed. He happened to be searching online for ways to feel better and came across the following list for depression:
- A depressed mood
- Loss of interest in activities
- Social withdrawal
- Suicidal thoughts
- Poor concentration
- Poor memory
- Slow thinking
- Loss of motivation
- Sleep disturbance – insomnia or hypersomnia
- Appetite disturbance – weight loss or gain
What seemed to float off this list and catch his attention was poor concentration. It is really hard for Josh to concentrate in school. He’d rather not be there; he doesn’t want to admit it, but he doesn’t like who he is. It’s like it’s almost excruciating to be with his friends because of his low self-esteem.
Josh also learned that at times it’s normal for a teen to experience symptoms of teen depression because it’s already a challenging stage in life. An adolescent might go in and out of experiencing confusion or at times self-rejection, but when these symptoms last for more than 3 weeks and when there is a decline in functioning at school, then likely there is depression. Learn more about the symptoms and treatments for teen depression here.
Despite all that he has learned online, Josh still isn’t sure whether he should tell his father who is, for the most part, emotionally absent. Although he knows that if he tells his mother, she will smother him, and do practically everything for him to “fix” the problem, he is going to tell her anyway. He needs to get this off his chest, and he wants to be able to feel better.
The research that Josh did also told him that there is treatment for depression that works! Medication and therapy combined usually can make a teen feel better. He probably won’t really like therapy, he thinks to himself, but continuing to feel this way is the lesser of two evils. Once he tells his mother and gets treatment for his depression, Josh wants to move on with his life.
– By Robert Hunt
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