Healing through happiness

Woman standing with her arms outstretched at sunset with birds flying around
Photo: © Pop Nukoonrat / 123RF Stock Photo

Teenagers are under enormous pressure, with their personal ideas about growing up and changing, not to mention transformations in their physical appearances courtesy puberty. Acne is probably wreaking havoc on their skin causing them to wonder what they are being punished for, and they have to answer or avoid constant questions about what they would like to be when they are older.

Into this scenario of colossal mayhem enters depression, and it is rather easy to conclude that the game of life is lost before it has hardly begun. With all the confusion over hormonal changes, it can be challenging to discover depression and isolate it from general mood swings. Understandably, depression is a serious health issue and must be responded to with caution and sensitivity.

Generally, depression causes its victims to be in a state of extreme grief, which then begins to negatively impact their daily activities such as eating, learning, work, social interactions and so on. It is not a one-size-fits-all type of disorder, i.e., the diagnosis is dependent upon the patient more than it is upon the ailment. Teenagers generally hide their feelings, and may confuse depression with their other difficulties. Meanwhile, they may be desperately looking towards their parents, teachers, siblings or other elders to take note of their suffering.

Depression can cause anything between uncontrollable weeping for days, extreme exhaustion for no reason, weight gain or weight loss, insomnia, physical pain without a source and suicidal thoughts. Fortunately, depression is curable with the right approach and timely intervention.

How can teenagers combat early onset of depression?

There are plenty of ways to take action when you realize that someone in your life may be depressed, but there are also ways to avoid it, which most importantly, allows a person to march on into an adulthood full of potential.

1. No pressure, mate!
Avoid stressing out. Some amount of stress is normal and will certainly have to be faced, such as stress over exams, break-ups, loss of a loved one or a beloved pet, arguments among friends and other disappointments. We must learn to handle these situations intelligently and move on quickly after a healthy amount of grief. But stress can be caused by other factors such as bullying, abuse, unhealthy relationships, etc.

TIP: If situations arise where you are being cornered or hurt such as the ones mentioned above, react. Inform a trusted adult instantly — this is non-negotiable.

2. Exercise!
Your mental health is very closely connected to your physical well-being. If you are not a particularly sporty person, that’s completely alright, but your body requires some amount of physical exertion to keep your muscles working and to get your heart pumping. Take up a sport at school or a 5-minute run or power-walk around the neighbourhood. Exercise causes the release of endorphins, which are hormones that inhibit feelings of pain and additionally can cause you to feel happy. Yoga is an excellent option for days when you need relaxed stretching. It may sound all too easy, but a healthy exercise routine can absolutely change your life!

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Anuja Siraj

Anuja Siraj

Anuja Siraj is the author of A Lifetime’s Worth, a content writer and an engineer at Air India.