"You are not alone"... Advice from a Cayman teen with depression
Aerin is a member of the Youth Ambassador Programme of the Alex Pantonne Foundation.
by Aerin Ewing-Chow
I have gone through just about every stage of depression, almost as if on repeat. I have felt the emptiness, the cold darkness that engulfs you, and the pain that can only be avoided at the thought of ending it all. However, more recently I have realized something; these feelings don’t need to be permanent and they are in my control, and with each challenge that we face in life, there is a solution. Here are some of my ways to cope with my depression as a teen.
- Don’t Wallow!
The countless times that I have sat in my room, tears dripping down my face whilst listening to sad music, wallowing in self-pity as to how horrible my life was... It has only recently occurred to me that I was merely feeding into my depression. I justified my actions by telling myself that I was entitled to do so, but I was doing nothing more than worsening my mental state. I have now learnt to replace giving into my emotions with activity, whether it be a job, writing, drawing, going out with my friends or even so much as cleaning my mess of a closet. Anything that keeps your mind busy with either positive thoughts or simply boring ones is a better alternative.
- Physical Interaction!
There is nothing worse than hurting alone. Even if you are bawling your eyes out with a peer or a family member it gives a sense of safety and warmth and can be a preventative measure against self-harm or further. Being left to your own devices whilst in a difficult place can lead one to make rash decisions that will be regretted after coming down from the feelings of anxiety. Making social plans is an amazing option when it comes to rebounding from a rough time.
- Talk to Someone!
It is truly one of the hardest things to open up to someone. To share your innermost thoughts and feelings can be emotionally brutal, however, you can’t resolve your issues alone. To come back from depression is possibly one of the hardest things someone can face, but a solution is absolutely possible with a team of supporters, including a licensed therapist. The benefits of therapy are that it is an unbiased environment in which there is no personal connection or judgment from the other end, only a listener and advice given. Everything said in therapy is confidential, letting the patient know that there is nothing to worry about in terms of the thoughts, actions and experiences expressed in sessions being repeated elsewhere. It is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself.
- Do Not Give In to the Low Points!
When dealing with depression it is guaranteed that there will be low points. There are good days and there are bad days, but the key to getting through the bad days is knowing that they will pass. Everything passes eventually and it is our mindsets that determine whether or not the storm will pass; we could either believe that due to a bad day the rest of our week will be awful, or we could ensure that the next day will be better, even if only by the slightest bit.
- Do What Is Best For You!
It can not be emphasized enough as someone who has struggled with putting others’ emotions before their own that your wellbeing should come first. Of course it is important to be considerate of others and to have empathy, but if you know that a certain action or situation could trigger any feelings of depression, you can not act on them. It may be difficult to say no to someone who you care for or to remove someone from your life, but your own mental health should always be the priority, regardless of the consequences.
I am currently still dealing with my issues, but using these methods I’m trying my best to get better. That is all you can do, try. There is no way to recover without the effort it takes.
Please also remember the following: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are so many other kids like me and so many others like you. Don't be afraid to reach out.
Being a teen with depression is not a life sentence.