Lately I have been feeling very sad, and all of sudden, I will just break out and start to cry. I have a good family, but I guess it happens because I have a lot of pressure with school. I feel like I am in complete sadness, and I can just all of a sudden get mad at someone for asking me a question, even if they didn't do anything. Also, I always want to be alone.
I am not sure if this is depression, or just something that happens when you grow up, but it is kind of intense, so I don't think that's it. Thank you very much.
Let me first acknowledge that you are a very sensitive and mature young woman. You are reaching out for help!
You are right to assume, this is NOT JUST part of growing up. I am not able to diagnosis in this forum whether you are clinically depressed, but will give you some things to do and look at in your situation.
First and foremost, you must tell you parents. It might be helpful to tell them that you reached out for help and share with them the information I am giving you. If you believe that your parents may not be supportive, then you must talk to a school counselor, or other adult.
You do not mention feeling suicidal at this point, but if you feel that you want to harm yourself or others, contact a suicide hotline, emergency room or the police immediately.
I have a few questions for you. You talk about school creating a lot of pressure. Many young students are under a lot of academic pressure and are pushed to perform. This is either pressure coming from the outside like your family or the school or from your own pressure on yourself. It is important that you look at all you are doing, school, sports, family obligations, church, everything and see what can be done to reduce some of the pressure. Pre adolescence and adolescence is a time of self discovery it is important to feel accepted and valued and have the proper balance of support and independence. Your parents and school counselors need to be involved in helping you make some changes in this area.
Secondly, have you started your periods yet? Some of what you are describing, the feeling like you could cry, yelling at people for no reason, can be caused by changing hormones. You might want to ask your mother if she suffers from PMS and also it is important to know if anyone in your family does suffer from Depression, since we know there is some family connection with Depression. It will be important to see your physician and discuss all of these issues with him/her.
Your mention you always want to be alone. If you are feeling overwhelmed with school, not happy with yourself, your body is changing, and whatever else that is going on, pulling away can sometimes be helpful, to recharge and do some introspection. But if this behavior is very different from what you normally do, if you are not seeing your friends, talking on the phone, loosing interest in things, then it is more like a depression, then a "filling" up.
Here are the things that I would suggest you do.
- Tell your parents or another supportive adult.
- See you doctor. Share about these feelings and get some good information on menstruation and hormones.
- Talk to you school counselor, teachers and parents about your school situation.
- Find at least one friend that you can confide in. Talk with other girls your age. Look for a teen support group. Many churches, YMCA's or local therapists facilitate these groups.
- It is also very important that you are eating regularly and eating good food, reduce your intake of refined sugar. Ex: candy, sodas etc. and NO caffeine products. I would also advise you stay away from products which contain Aspartame (things that are sugar free or diet) which has been shown to cause changes in brain function. You must also be sleeping enough. You need at least 8-10 hours of sleep a night.
Not eating good food and lack of sleep can cause many emotional symptoms.
You have made the first step by reaching out for help. Follow up on the suggestions and be persistent until you get the help you need.
This question was answered by Michelle Barone MA MFT. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She holds three California Teaching Credentials and is a Parent Educator. She has been working with families for 15 years in the areas of relationships, pregnancy, pre and post natal loss, parenting and alternative education, specifically home schooling. She practices in So. California and is also available for phone or email consultations.