Teenage Depression is Destroying Our Lives

This was supposed to be a happy post. A post about getting a boy a puppy to help deal with teenage depression, but that post wouldn’t make a difference. I hoping by sharing this story we do make a difference.

Let me start out by saying that I love being a mom. My children are my life, my everything and I have put absolutely every ounce of myself into the past 15 years. But every now and then motherhood sucks!!

As 2018 drew to a close, our world was rocked when Ashton’s doctors confirmed that his hormones were wrecking havoc and as a result his condition had taken a turn for the worst. He was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and mild depression at the age of 9. Five years later and we are dealing with clinical teenage depression and borderline personality disorder. Teen depression is real and its a serious mental health problem.

The persistent, often unexplained feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how teens think, feel and behave. In addition to that it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. Although depression can occur at any time in life, symptoms may be different between teens and adults. Peer pressure, expectations to perform at school and their ever changing bodies can bring a lot of ups and downs for teens.

In Ashton’s case (and many other teens), the lows are more than just temporary feelings as they are in fact symptoms of depression. Depression symptoms ease with treatment such as medication and psychological counseling. Our efforts which include healthy eating, exercise, adequate rest, medication and counseling have however proved futile over the past two months.

When Hormones Come Into Play

Adolescence is a confusing and in fact a horrible time for teenagers. It’s a time of change, transformation, and adaptation. It’s also a time of the unknown for teens. The hormonal events that occur during this period have significant effects on brain development, neuro-cerebral chemistry, adolescent behavior and increases risks of depression. In the case of Ash, this is where we are at.

Symptoms to look out for

Behavioural: antisocial behaviour, compulsive behaviour, hostility, impulsivity, irritability, risk-taking behaviours, self-destructive behaviour, self-harm, social isolation, or lack of restraint

Mood: anger, anxiety, general discontent, guilt, loneliness, mood swings, or sadness

Psychological: depression, distorted self-image, grandiosity, or narcissism

Also common: thoughts of suicide

Am I Failing as a Mother?

I’m a good mom … actually I’m a great mom. I’m hands on and involved. I spend copious amounts of quality time with my kids. In fact I’m often criticized for spending too much time with them. I’m also a fun mom who goes river rafting and plays lazer tag, but why do I feel like I’m failing at being a Mom. Ash gets the best in exercise, health care and nutrition but nothing I do seems to help my child. Judging if his behaviour is because if his condition or just normal teen behaviour is incredibly hard. My heart breaks because he’s an incredibly brilliant and intelligent young man who isn’t achieving his full potential. I live in fear, constantly walking on eggshells. I don’t have a support system when it comes to this. This is a road I have tackled on my own for the past 5 years. Unless you are living this, you have absolutely no idea how raising a child with depression debilitates a family. I’m at a complete loss and while I face tough choices, I’m torn between my heart and my mind.

Breaking the stigma of depression

The ignorance about mental health issues that continues to exist is perplexing. Depression continues to be one of the most stigmatised mental health issues out there. Maybe, just maybe if we talked about it more, then people wouldn’t feel like they are alone. Maybe we can help and support each other. There are so many families facing the same or similar situation but haven’t found the courage to get the help that’s required because of the fear of being ostracized and judged by so-called perfect families. We see it daily on social media … the perfect families with the perfect wives, perfect husbands and perfect kids. You don’t need to succumb to that kind of pressure. Firstly perfect doesn’t exist and secondly if this story resonates with you, both you and your child deserve all the help there is available. There really isn’t any time for the bullshit social pressures that exist

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South African Depression & Anxiety Group Contacmedical professional or the SA Depression & Anxiety Group without delay.

Should there be cause for concern, contact a medical professional of the SA Depression & Anxiety group without delay!

Zane Wilson
Founder
zane@sadag.org

For counselling queries e-mail: zane@sadag.org

To contact a counsellor between 8am-8pm Monday to Sunday,
Call: 011 234 4837

For a suicidal Emergency contact us on 0800 567 567

24hr Helpline 0800 12 13 14

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post.

28 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. My heart broke reading it and I can’t begin to imagine what your entire family must be going through.
    Big hugs and strength to you and Ash. I hope with the right treatment and time that he will be able to overcome it.

    1. Author

      Thanks Kirsty. That’s all we pray for hey

    2. Author

      I’ve never been one to wish away time but I want his teen years to be a thing of the past

  2. Wow, this has knocked me back a bit. I feel for you amd Ashton. I can’t possibly imagine what you both are going through but sending you a big hug and lots of love x. I hope you find a way to work through this. In fact, I know you will. You are increasingly strong and one of the fiercest mama’s I know ❤

    1. Author

      Thanks for your support hun. Appreciate it xx

  3. My heart bleeds for you because I know what you are going through as a family. My daughter was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 15 and from that moment her mental health went all over the place…extreme highs and severe lows. Last year, during her first year at university, she was put on medication to control her mood swings (the dose is increased everytime she sees her doctor so they can find the right dosage) and her doctor advised her to see a psychologist. I had people telling me she should just quit using her meds and eat a healthy balanced diet and exercise and then she will feel so much better…but they are NOT in this boat. The hard part for me is because she studies in another city and I have to continually re-assure her I’m always here for her when a panic attack strike or she hits a severe low. It’s hard work being a parent of a teenager with depression.

  4. Thank you for this post. It must’ve been super tough to write. I have bipolar 2 and have the greatest fear that my kids will inherit some traits. I don’t know enough about this so it’s a real encouragement to do research and find support sooner rather than later. I wish you and Ashton and the rest of your family every bit of health and happiness 💕

    1. Author

      Thanks Jade. Totally understand your fears. I hope and pray that your kids wont be affected xx

  5. Oh Natasha….I’m feeling the pain for you and your family. I can only imagine what this must feel like. I wish I knew what to say but I don’t. What I will say though…is thank you! Thank you for keeping it real and putting this out there. I’m sure that may have not been an easy decision. I do believe that if more people spoke about it, we could break the stigma.

    1. Author

      Thanks Nicola. Hopefully by sharing our story all this wouldnt have been invane

  6. My dear friend, whilst I read this heart wrenching story my heart goes out to you and your family. I truly salute you for sharing your experience. Dealing with young people on a daily basis has made me appreciate this blessing I have to be able to support them in their career development. I pray for Ashton that he will be granted strength & courage and you my friend are no doubt the best mum the boys could have been blessed with!! Much love to you all 🤗😘❤🌼

    1. Author

      Thank you Edith. Grade 9 is a big year for him and loads of emphasis has been placed on that. The pressure and demands of school are one of his biggest triggers

  7. My thoughts and prayers are with you anc your family.It’s hard enough to cope with teen moodiness generally so this must be heartbreaking to deal with. Sending you a big virtual hug to do the best you can under the circumstances.

    1. Author

      Thank you very much Appreciate your message

  8. Wow Natasha thanks for sharing, especially the information on the signs to look out for. My heart breaks for you because for a while my little cousin suffered these symptoms and in the black culture depression is often not take seriously and seen as attention seeking. It took her bruising and cutting herself for something to be done and the depression to be noted as a serious illness; that requires support from those close to her. I greatly admire your strength and pray that will each passing day you are given more strength and support to cope.

  9. I wish I had a magic wand to make this all disappear or just go by faster. You always have a shoulder and ear with me. Being such an awesome mom is a super power not all have and I pray that you be blessed with a solution, strength, patience, perseverance and lots of love.

    1. Author

      Thank you a million times over for your support I really appreciate it

  10. My dear friend! I stand with you entirely! My daughter suffered mercilessly during her teen years with depression, but due to limited resources, she did not receive help until she entered her twenties. In my culture, depression is a choice. My daughter would be told things like, “snap out of it”, “What do you have to be depressed about? You have everything compared to others!” “You are being so ungrateful!” “Are you on your period, again?!” And of course my favorite statement of all! “YOU JUST WANT ATTENTION!” “YOU ARE SPOILED!”
    The ignorance is never ending in my family. I will pray for you and your precious Ash! My daughter has experienced some relief with acupuncture and biofeedback therapy. Thank you for sharing your story. Ash, you are not defined by depression! You will define it! God bless you! ☺🙏❤

    1. Author

      Ohhh thank you got sharing Maritza. Its a tough journey if everyone is judging you instead of not understanding. I’m sorry your daughter suffered for all this years and I’m sure you suffered as much as a parent it definitely takes it too in you. Sending love

  11. Thanx for sharing what your family is currently going through. It’s very important that the stigma against depression and anxiety is broken. I wish Ash all of the best and also that you as a family will overcome this. You are indeed a great mom to great kids so don’t for one moment feel like you are failing them💗

    1. Author

      Aporecite your message Nastassia 💗

  12. Thank you for sharing, streangth and all the best for you and your family. I look up to you. *tightHug*

    1. Author

      Ahhh I appreciate your message 😘

  13. Nooooo…. this breaks my heart! Big big hugs mama. I hope the meds help!! You hear so much about this but when it is so close to home it is heart breaking. Thanks for being brave enough to share his story .

    1. Author

      Thank you for your support always. I really appreciate it

    2. Author

      Thanks you so much for the support

  14. Oh Natasha I am so very sorry you and your family are going through this. Big hugs to you and I hope you find a way out.

    1. Author

      Thanks Heather. I promise to visit u soon xx

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