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10 Things I Say as a Depressed Teenager That Mean 'I'm Having a Bad Day'

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

I am not proud of myself for feeling this way, but I often don’t acknowledge that I have depression.

Instead of acknowledging depression, I will passively say some things that are specifically pointers to —”DEPRESSION! DEPRESSION! DEPRESSION!” When I think of these phrases and words I say, I think of a blaring alarm. So, when people around me say stuff like this, I will have that alarm subconsciously ring in my own head, and I just have to check on that person. Usually they think I’m overreacting.

When I’m ashamed of depression, I will never say I’m having a bad day. I’ll just throw out some warning signs and hope someone will realize what I’m feeling. So when this doesn’t work, I just feel even worse and it just progresses into a downward spiral of emotions.

When I’m having a depressive episode, or simply having a bad day, these are the things I say that I wish people would recognize.

1. “I’m exhausted.”

Every time I say, “I’m exhausted,” I’m not exaggerating. As a teenager, I’m almost always tired. But if I say, “I’m exhausted,” then I’m probably feeling worse than usual.

2. “I can’t come, sorry.”

When friends invite me to things after school, I usually say, “Yes.” I like hanging out with people. So when I say, “No,” I’m either busy, or I’m too tired for any more social contact. If I say, “I just don’t feel it,” that means I’m suffering on the inside, because when I’m in my good mood, I’m up for anything and everything. So this is major for me, to say no to something like this.

3. “I want to take a break.”

Most people think this means that I just want to take a rest if we’re running a mile or a test. No, that’s not what I mean. I usually mean I want to take a break from life. Probably because life feels like too much, so I just want to take a break…maybe live in the hospital for a few days.

4. “Can you help me with this?”

For some people, they actually need help with academics. I’m very lucky that I’ve been blessed with a bright mind, and so I rarely need real help with any of my school subjects. I’m also very energetic, except for during my episodes. So if I need help, I’m probably just too lazy/tired to do anything. This is nothing like me, so if I ever say that, I’m probably not able to focus or I’m just too tired to work on something.

5. “I need more sleep, I’m so sleep-deprived.”

It’s true, I don’t usually get a lot of sleep. But if I say the phrase “sleep-deprived,” something is wrong. I always operate on limited sleep, but if I’m actually feeling sleep-deprived that means I’m suffering because I actually didn’t get enough sleep to function right…probably because I’m going through an episode.

6. “Everything’s a mess.”

I have OCD to a certain extent and one thing I have a hard time with is keeping stuff clean, but once I get started cleaning something, I will not rest until it is spotless. And messiness annoys me, so unless I’m really tired (which is nearly always), most things are pretty neat. Things like my room and school backpack are never clean, so they don’t count. But if my schoolwork is messy or if I keep erasing things, I’m probably getting really pissed off because things aren’t clean enough. When these things are messy, I get extremely frustrated, so if this happens, somebody is going to need to get me out of that loop of constantly getting worse.

7. “Life hates me.”

This is kind of a common phrase you hear when you’re a teenager in this day and age. However, I hate when people say this all the time (especially people who only had one thing go wrong in their day and then they say stuff like this). It’s a terrible thing to say when it’s not real, so I always yell at people when they say this. I will not get off their back until they justify themselves well enough. Maybe this is why people don’t like me, but when I say something like this, then you know that I’m being real.

8. “This is a depressing song.”

When we’re in class and we’re allowed to listen to music while working, I jump at the opportunity. It’s a chance to block off all people from my ears, and I also get to listen to the songs that reflect my mood. So when I say, “This is a depressing song,” I’m probably feeling terribly depressed, because music has a special place in my heart. If anyone looks at the songs I’m listening to, they’ll likely be able to tell immediately what my mood is.

9. “I’m going to break something.”

Most people think this is an exaggeration or something of that sort, but sometimes this means I want to break myself. So that really sucks because people don’t get it. Sometimes it also means “let me go to the hospital for a few days.” Otherwise, it just means I’m super pissed off.

10. “God help me.”

I’m not exactly a believer in God, which is a big bright red warning sign. Also, I don’t try to rely on others for help, I try to be independent (as much as my parents will ever let me). So this means that I’m asking something I don’t believe in for help. Bright red loud flashing alarms. This definitely, definitely means I am not feeling OK. In fact, I’m feeling so bad that I’m going completely against my nature on two of my major values.

My long term goal is to be able to clearly communicate when I’m not feeling OK. So I hope sharing this story might help others to communicate their own situation to their loved ones.

If someone wants to help, just know that when someone says something like the things I’ve mentioned, don’t hesitate to ask about it. Even if you think you’re overreacting, it’s best to be safe rather than sorry.

Until then, I hope people will continue to be understanding of every single person in need of help.

Photo credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

Originally published: March 18, 2019
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