Dear Teenager,

As I have branched out using different social media apps for my blog I have discovered that there are a lot of teens who are struggling with depression. I can relate so much to these teens because I was once in their shoes. Being in middle school and high school is a hard period in life. You’ve got the stress of schoolwork, bullies, girl/boy friends, and home life all hitting you at once. School was extremely hard for me but I’ve got some really good news for you- it gets better! In my opinion real life starts after you graduate. Things that bother you right now will not last forever. I want to give you some tips and tools on how to survive school while battling depression.

Dealing with bullies

My best advice is to let it go in one ear and out the other. Don’t let a mean kid keep you from being your true self. Be who you are, dress to express yourself, hang out with people you like even if they aren’t considered a “cool kid”, and overall just be yourself. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone, if they don’t like you that’s their problem. Stick with the people who like you for who you are and who are uplifting. The bullies do not matter, they are only showing their insecurities by trying to torment others that they are intimidated by. If it ever gets to the point that their actions are or could possibly physically effect you, don’t be embarrassed to go to your teacher about it. Your peace is more important than someone who obviously has nothing better to do with their time than to torment you.

“Young love“

Just being straight up honest, the person you are dating or perusing at this young age is probably not going to be your future husband/wife. Don’t let a relationship get in between your school work, family, or friends. There is plenty of time to find love in your life, but now is the time to thrive and have fun with your friends, make good grades in school that will offer you chances at future scholarships, and cherish your family because we are never promised tomorrow. I worried way to much about having a boyfriend in school and because of that I went through so much unnecessary stress and heartache instead of enjoying my younger years. Most school aged people are still too immature to hold a proper relationship anyways, so live it up with your friends, work towards creating a prosperous future with your grades, and worry about boy/girlfriends later in life when they’ve matured. Trust me on this one because it’s my biggest regret!

Dealing with your depression in the right way

Depression is not something to be dealt with lightly. I pray you have a supportive family that you can go to and talk about your problems, and if you do please talk to your parents about your feelings. They’ve experienced life at your age, and even though they are “old” and maybe “not cool”, they love you the most and care about your mental state. If you come from a family that isn’t as supportive, I want to start off by saying that you are not alone- many kids struggle with bad home lives. If this is the case for you do not be ashamed to go talk to your guidance counselor, you don’t have to tell anyone, I understand this may seem embarrassing for some teens. This is their job and they took this job because they genuinely care about their students, it’s confidential and it could really take the weight off your shoulders.

I also advise getting involved in school activities like sports, clubs, R.O.T.C, tech school, choir, band, or theatre. I joined band at my first school and tech school (the cosmetology program) when I transferred to another school. This is going to give you an outlet to take your mind off your problems and thrive learning something you could potentially enjoy. It will also open up opportunities for scholarships! I thought I was the last person who would ever get a scholarship, but thanks to the tech school program I received a scholarship for the cosmetology program at my local college.

Dealing with a toxic home life

This one is really tough because I know how important home life is. If you come from a toxic household, know that you are still loved. Surround yourself with the love of loving family members, friends, and teachers (don’t try to substitute that love with solely a boy/girl friend because like I said, most school relationships don’t last and I don’t want you to become even more devastated). Don’t let bad traits from a toxic guardian rub off on you- just because they might have a problem doesn’t mean that you are destined to become just like them. Take it as a learning tool on “how not to be” and strive to become better through school. This is your life and it’s your choice if you are going to go down the same path they did or take a higher road and learn from it.

(TRIGGER WARNING) Suicide & Self harm

This is the part of this blog post that inspired me to write this entire thing. Harming yourself is NOT the answer. Iv seen so many teens post about suicidal thoughts on a particular app and it shakes me to my core. I know things may seem really dark for you right now. You may be dealing with a lot of stress and emotional pain, but harming yourself is not the way to make things easier.

I’m going to be very real with you right now, I was once where you are, I’m 31 now and looking back at all the things I would’ve missed had I ended it…. there’s just no words. There is so much life after your school years. There are so many opportunities, adventures, new friends, and real love waiting on you. Do not miss out on the best years of your life because of temporary hardships you are dealing with right now. Hold on, put up a fight for your life, and seek help- I PROMISE you that one day it will be worth going through whatever you are enduring right now.

This chapter of your life is a lot shorter than what it seems, you are just beginning and just like a good book, as time goes on it gets better! When you are struggling to see the light write down all the good things in life you want to accomplish someday (your dream job, college if that’s the route you wish to take, meeting the love of your life and getting married, having kids of your own, exploring the world, you name it!). Life is so much more than your teenage years, do not give up now! You have the ability to create the future of your dreams, stay strong and be a fighter for yourself.

And PLEASE if you are thinking about the “S” word, talk to someone, tell your parents, talk to your school counselor, and if you happen to be religious talk with your youth group leader or pastor. You don’t have to go through this alone, and trust me, you are not alone.

I hope this post helps you to see the bigger picture and what’s most important in your life right now. I pray that you will take these tips and turn your focus on more positive ways to handle the emotional pain. Just keep in mind that whatever you are going through right now is temporary and that you have a wonderful journey ahead of you. You are loved, unique, and important.

If you are a parent reading this post, I highly encourage you to talk and listen to your kids. I know it’s easy to get caught up in work and everyday life tasks, but your child may be going through hard times they are not telling you about. If your child is showing signs of depression this is not to be taken lightly. It’s better to try and get help for your child than to think “it’s a phase that will pass” and risk your kid going down a bad road or even losing your child. Even if it comes across as “attention seeking” this could be a cry for help. If you get to a point where you are unsure about what to do I recommend looking into counseling. I know some people may think “how can you talk about parenting? You don’t even have kids”. I don’t have kids, but I was once one of those children suffering with depression and not knowing how to properly handle it on my own. That sent me down a very destructive path and it breaks my heart to see teens on social media dealing with the same issues. So please, talk to your children, having this serious conversation could be a life saver.

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