September 2001
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Everyone Gets the Blues
By Danielle McCarthy, SNN Editor, Booth Memorial, St. John's NF

The dictionary defines depression as: low spirits or vitality; dejection; melancholy. Teenagers might know it as feeling "down in the dumps" or "feeling blue." Depression may be something that only lasts a couple of days, but some people suffer from it for years.

Adolescents in particular are susceptible to depression because of the factors existing in the outside world, such as peer pressure, stereotyping, forms of prejudice, and so on. These factors are not the only causes of depression, but each can be very damaging to the psyche of a young girl or boy.

If the cause for the depression is an isolated situation which presents you with a couple of setbacks, then first of all just take a second and relax. Breathe in slowly from your nose and exhale through your mouth a few times. Try lying down, listening to calming music, and day dreaming of something totally unrelated to your problem. If you let yourself get uptight about problems in any situation, you'll make it out to be much worse than it really is. You could also choose to work off your frustration in the form of playing sports, dancing, punching pillows, or anything that requires you to use energy and make you forget your troubles. When you're ready to face the situation again, try to be objective. Put yourself outside of the scenario in your mind, and think of any solutions you could use to solve the problem. If you can't think of ways to turn complications into something positive, then ask someone else for suggestions. Someone who hasn't had your problem might be able to see things more clearly then someone who is involved or experienced something similar. Even if whoever you talk to doesn't offer any advice you could use, talking to someone about it will ease your mind. If you don't want anyone to know how you feel, then simply writing it down in a journal serves as a great emotional release.

When some people are depressed, they may experience feelings of hopelessness, or a feeling that they don't have a purpose in life. That frame of mind may lead to suicidal thoughts - something much more serious then just having a bad day. In these cases, the person would be largely benefited by talking to an adult. Although advice from a friend or a parent can certainly be comforting, professionals such as guidance counsellors are educated on how to deal with those feelings. Try to remember that you're not the only one who feels sad or angry all the time. There are other people out there who will understand your feelings and can help you get past them. You will not feel this way forever and no one will be little you for asking for help.

For anyone who hasn't felt depressed sometime during their life, they should be considerate of how other people may feel. Something as seemingly harmless as calling someone a name could trigger a bout of low spirits. Once a person's confidence is shaken, they could be impressionable to anything. If a friend or even someone you aren't friends with, confides to you that they feel depressed or suicidal sometimes, the best thing you can do for them is to urge them to talk to a professional. If they refuse, all you can do is be there for them. Sometimes offering your ear to listen and your shoulder to cry on, can work miracles.


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