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10 Things I Wish My Parents Knew About My Depression

My parents were shocked when they found I had been experiencing depression. They had no idea what I was going through, and although I’ve worked through many things with them, there’s still a lot they don’t seem to understand. I hope these 10 things can help other parents understand their teen who has depression.

1. I feel so guilty for hurting you and being a “problem.”

I’ve seen the pain on your face. I know I’ve hurt you, and I know I’ve caused you extra work and stress. I sometimes feel guilty and selfish for being depressed. Just remind me you love me and that even if I create extra problems for you, I’m worth it.

2. Sometimes I don’t know what’s wrong. 

Feeling down can come on whenever — it’s unpredictable. I don’t always know what causes it, and if I don’t know how am I supposed to tell you? Please stop asking me to try and figure it out.

3. Don’t try to fix all my problems for me.

I know I have problems, but it’s a victory when I overcome them. You can help me if I ask, and hug me when those problems get to be too much, but no one can fix another person’s problems. I need to be able to do that myself. Just be there for me.

4. Other teens can be cruel.

Whether they don’t understand my depression or they just don’t care, when they exclude or bully me it hurts. Be the person I can run to and who will love me no matter what.

5. Don’t be ashamed of my depression and try to hide it from the rest of the family

Yes, I have depression. Don’t try to hide it from the family. No family is perfect, and when you try to hide my depression you’re telling me this is something I should be ashamed of. Depression is a mental illness. You don’t hide it when I have the flu, so don’t hide it when I have a “mental flu.”

6. Sometimes I fake being sick because I feel mentally unwell and I’m afraid you won’t understand.

When I’m feeling down I don’t want to go to school or do other social activities. I’m hurting too much inside to try being happy while trying not to have a breakdown in public. The best thing for me is talking to someone who will listen, or doing a fun activity that doesn’t involve being around a lot of other people.

7. I get mad at myself for not having the energy and motivation to do the things you want me to do.

Doing certain activities and chores takes a lot more concentration and motivation when I’m dealing with depression. Things that used to be simple and fun now take a lot of energy and more time. When I know I have a lot to get done, it stresses me out and makes me feel more down.

8. Don’t ask me what I talked about with my counselor.

It’s important to be able to talk to someone outside of our family and my social life. Don’t be offended when I don’t talk to you and talk to a counselor instead. Family and parents play a big part in my life, so I need to talk to someone else about those things. There’s a reason the sessions are private.

9. When I need breaks from family, please don’t be offended.

Like any relationship, families are hard work. Being around them every day can get challenging. Having breaks, like a few days away, gives me some peace. I don’t love you any less, but if stuff is stressful at home things start to build up. Having a short time away gives me time to clear my head and think things over.

10. Depression comes and goes. If I seem happy, it might not mean I’m “better.”

Some days are better than others, so even when I seem happy, be there for me. 

If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.