“You’re Just a Teenager”

More stories from Madison Pickul

Whenever I said I was sad, anxious, or feeling depressed, someone always told  me, “Oh stop! You’re just being a teenager.” Boy, do I wish that had been the case.

July 2014, I moved away from my grandparents, my best friend and I had to switch schools. As hard as the move was on me, I had to be strong for my little brothers, so I pretended I was okay. Lucky for me, I was great at faking smiles. I hid all the pain and anxiety I had and pushed it far down. I now realize that definitely wasn’t the best idea.

Starting a new school was very hard for me. I knew nobody, I didn’t know where any of my classes were and how my new teachers would treat us. My anxiety, undiagnosed at the time, was skyrocketing. It only got worse as I started failing my math class because I couldn’t understand it. It made me feel like a complete, utter failure.

Soon a red toothbrush became my go to coping method. I couldn’t eat breakfast because my anxiety wouldn’t allow it. When I would eat, I’d feel sick and just end up with my red toothbrush down my throat. During the months of November to January a family friend died, my uncle fell twenty feet and broke his back, and then my mom-mom had a stroke on Christmas Eve. That’s when the weight started disappearing and the depression started appearing.

By Jan., I was at rock bottom. My depression was at its peak, I had lost my drive to do anything and I dropped twelve pounds. When my friends and family would touch me, my pulse went through the roof. I was drowning in fear and depression while surrounded by people who were swimming. On Jan. 6, that’s when I finally got help.  I told my mom that I thought it be easier if I wasn’t here. I’d figured I’d have no more pain and fear to deal with.

Now, nine months later, I am living a better life. I’m healthy and seeing doctors regularly. I am not writing this for me, I am writing this for you. To raise awareness of depression and anxiety in teens.  As pop singer Christina Perri says, “I’m only human and I bleed when I fall down.” Words and actions can tear down a person’s self-confidence. People can only be strong for so long.

Depression in teens is not something to take lightly — 1 in 5 teens suffer from it. The statement, “They’re just being a teenager,” is the reason teens hide their suffering from their parents and friends. In 2013 an estimated 2.6 million adolescents ages twelve to seventeen in the U.S.A alone went through at least one major depressive episode that year. So don’t you dare tell me they’re just being a teenager. Just remember once you hit rock bottom, the only way out is up.

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Lenape Valley Crisis Response Center: 1-800-499-7455
Lenape Valley Crisis at Lower Bucks Hospital: 215-785-9765
Lenape Valley Crisis at Doylestown Hospital: 215-345-2273
Adolescent Crisis Intervention & Counseling:  1-800-999 9999