Last year an interesting New York Times article came out about a woman who posted a tweet she thought only 170 of her followers would see.
Have you met adolescents or does your child seem irritable constantly? Nothing ever seems to go right for them. They are always slamming doors or talking back. You feel like they should be really happy about something and instead they just seem pissed off. What is their deal?
You understand that sometimes some things just don’t work out. Some days are just rough. But for adolescents who have depression, every day can be like this. And they run out of explanations for why it is like this. Its called irritability. And for adolescents, it can be a major part of their depression. Sometimes it makes depression hard to identify in them because a lot of people can be irritable…sometimes… But not all of the time. They might be called by other people angry, uncooperative, insubordinate, impolite, antisocial – but under it all, under how other people react to them – is this feeling of irritability that they can’t shake off although they don’t understand why.
When people hear the word “depression” or that someone is “depressed” a lot of different things come to mind. People make assumptions about what that experience is like and what that person is like. These assumptions usually come from negative stereotypes about mental illnesses, like depression. As a society we don’t really understand mental illness because we don’t talk about it in an authentic way.
I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teenager and in high school I didn’t want to tell anyone about my experience because I was worried they would think I was weak and I was just complaining.
When you are generous with who you are, people vibrate with that, they feel it, they sense it, and they’re surprised by it!
What most resonated with you in this video? How have your adolescents been generous with you? How have you been generous with them? Tell us about your experiences!
The Mindful Self-Compassion website is a great resource if you are looking for more information about mindfulness and being very compassionate with yourself! The website and book were developed by Christopher Germer, PhD is a clinical psychologist from Massachusetts. He specializes in mindfulness and compassion-based psychotherapy.
One of the things we really like about this website is that there is a page full of free meditations to download and listen to!
There are also some pdf’s available here if you wanted to print them or if you can’t listen to a meditation, but are able to read it.
Not only is this a wonderful resource for you as a parent, but also for adolescents.
Did you listen to a meditation? Did you download any? Would you share this with your adolescent? Tell us what you think of this resource in the comments!
It can be difficult to guide your child about making the decision to start therapy if their grades are already suffering. How can they afford to go to all of the sessions? Especially if they have to miss school? Do they really have time for it? Is it worth it?
If your child already has good grades – it might seem unnecessary for them to go to therapy, because good grades means they are functioning well, right? Well…grades are only one part of their life. They might be struggling in others like with their relationships with others and their relationship with themselves. Some young people also try working harder at school as a way to deal with their emotions. There are other important ways of functioning – see our past article talking about this.
If on the other hand, your child’s grades are getting worse because of their symptoms, can they afford to miss school for therapy?
The problem is if they don’t get therapy their grades are likely to get worse. That is because depression can make them feel not motivated to do their work or go to class, they can have trouble concentrating, and anxiety might make them too worried about going to class or getting through a test without second guessing themselves.
Is anyone even listening?
Some young people don’t like to go see a doctor or a therapist because they haven’t felt listened to in the past. As a parent, you might have felt this way before with medical professionals. It can even feel more this way as a young person who does not have the experience you do.
Because of this, the young person might feel frustrated and have some of these thoughts:
How is this even going to work if no one is listening to me?
They really don’t care what I think, just what they think.
There’s no way for them to understand anyways.
The problem with these thoughts is that if the young person is working with a professional therapist or doctor, they should not be true. In medicine, doctors are evaluated based on professionalism – which is their code of conduct or the way they are taught and socialized to behave. Professionalism includes having respect for patients and being responsive to their needs. So if someone is really not listening to your child, it is unprofessional. That means they have a right to and should say something!
Some examples of things you could say to your child to encourage them to address the situation in a neutral way are:
Do you feel like you are not being listened to? Maybe we should tell Dr. So and So.
I know you would like to get better; please let me know what is holding you back from talking to the doctor/therapist.
Let’s brainstorm about how to tell Dr. So and So some of the concerns you have.
Has this happened to your child before? How have you and your child addressed it?
Sometimes common sense isn’t common practice!
What did you think of this video? What really struck a cord with you?
The answer is that its complicated and we don’t yet know. What we do know is that there are many changes which happen in the brain and the body when someone is depressed.
This song by Shakira for Zootopia has a great message!
What songs help you stay positive?