Typical teenage anxst or depression?

by Sophie
(London)

I am a 19 year old female and I live in London. For the last four years I have experienced what I have come to refer to as depression. However, I sometimes feel that this is too strong a description.


At times, I fill the text book criteria of a depressed individual; despair, low self esteem, no confidence, withdrawal from social activities, suicidal ideations, etc. However, sometimes, and occasionaly for weeks at a time, I feel perfectly "normal". After researching for months (potentially running into years) I have deduced that at times these periods of happiness could be described a mild mania.

Sexual promiscuity, reckless behaviour, exaggerated enthusiasm, and the main and most damaging - excessive spending of money...that I do not have! I have embraced many personal methods of dealing with my mood swings - and for some time had convinced myself that this behaviour was perfectly normal for a teen. However, many of the regular occurances during ones adolescence effect me to a hightened degree.

I find it increasingly difficult to deal with rejection, to maintain close friendships, trust people, and control my emotions. I have visited a doctor and was prescribed a mild anti depressant which I never actually took - I threw away the medication in the belief that I could deal with the issue myself, since I had been active enough to admit there might be an issue.

Recently, I have got a new job - a dream job actually - and I am terrified that I will not be able to keep up the demands of my employers. I have been here for just over two months and already I am struggling to find enthusiasm and extreme difficuly in getting to work on time, or at all, due to severe periods of lethargy and despair.

Is this perhaps a case of depression which in fact can be treated by medication do you think or just standard highs and lows experienced by most people at some stage in their life?

Thanks,

Sophie
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Sophie,

Thank you so much for reaching out. I commend you because you are clearly very self aware which exhibits a high level of maturity, particularly for a 19 year old. You clearly have an amazing amount of personal strength and courage that will take you very far in life.

What you describe may very well be depression. Did you take a depression test on my site? This may help provide you with some more answers as well.

As you said, you have some of the classic symptoms - lack of interest or enthusiasm, suicidal ideations, feelings of despair - all of which may represent clinical depression. The other things you mention - low self esteem, low self confidence, etc. - are normal, especially for teenagers. Regardless, the fact that you fantasize about suicide is a big warning sign.

Before you get on meds, I'd recommend that you find a therapist that you can talk with. Someone that can provide a professional evaluation and diagnosis. Once you are diagnosed, a proper treatment plan can be put into place which may or may not include meds.

While meds can help, in a lot of ways it is just a "bandaid". It helps to mask the symptoms but does not help to address the cause of the depression. Therapy will help to address the cause - why are you depressed in the first place? What deep seated issues exist that you need to work through? Therapy will help you address this.

A big congratulations on getting your dream job. You sound way to self aware to let your depression or mood swings get in the way of keeping and excelling in your dream job.

Try positive affirmations. They can be very powerful and help "cancel" your negative thoughts. Be aware of your negative self talk. For example, "I am not good enough. I don't deserve this job". Acknowledge it then consciously replace it with "I am an amzing woman and I deserve to have this dream job and I am going to be successful!" Say it, repeat it, believe it!

You do sound amazing and I know you can get through this. You don't have to do it alone. Find the help / support you need so you can have the great future you deserve!

Thanks for your question. Feel free to visit my site or reach out to me again!

All the best,

Dana

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