[3] Heal Our Youth: Dealing With Depression…MY STORY

Teen depression is a very serious matter. Being a mentor or just working with youth in general we need to educate ourselves about the many different things that goes on with the kids we work with. Because talking to them & asking questions aren’t enough anymore. We have the technology at our hands, so there’s no reason why we can’t educate ourselves. It’s not about what degree you need to earn in order to fulfill your position, or title when it comes to being diverse & educated on many different topics that our youth face with today.

My story

By the time I was in high school I had attended a few funerals before this one. But this one didn’t compare to the others. How does a teen deal with the normal things that goes on during those significant years like: preparing for college, peer-pressure, wanting to date but you’re not allowed to, grades are falling, & puberty. It was my senior year in high school when I lost the first man I fell in love with. How quick an illness can take a loved one from you without being able to enjoy the beginning of the next chapter… eventful times in a teen girl’s life?

I was told that my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when I was 18 years old. I didn’t know what that was?! Yea I knew about breast cancer, lung cancer, cancerrrrrrrrrr people! I didn’t know what Alzhemier’s was. It was hard to grasp. My aunt on my fathers side was the one who broke it down to me. I would go visit my dad who I called “Di” very short for common word “Daddy”. I would visit my dad at my grandmother’s who was taking care of him. He would walk around the house not saying much, or mumbling something because for whatever reason he lost his teeth. As the stages of Alzheimer’s started to beat him up, another occasion was when I came to visit & he was now in a wheelchair. How quickly that happened. He had to be assisted to the bathroom, fed etc. I was devastated  This person here isn’t my father. I knew that his time was coming, I just didn’t know when.

For my case, once Alzheimer’s is in it’s last stages, it reminded me of when cancer patients are in the last stages. Being bedridden, not all there, sleeping most of the time, very frail,  etc. I remember it all too well the last time I saw my father before his funeral. He laid there in his bed, sleep. I just prayed to God he wasn’t in pain, and that I would be graduating soon & if he could just hold on & wait for me to get my degree in health (a degree I wasn’t interested in before) to help find a cure for this stupid illness that was taking every bit of me away.

Dealing With Depression

Well that was in April. Before dealing with my fathers illness, I was dealing with depression before that all came to life. It started because my grades weren’t the best that I wanted them to be, my friends had turned on me, I didn’t think I would be accepted into a college of my choice & so on. I found myself being pushed from others. I didn’t have to isolate myself, they were doing it for me. I didn’t do anything to have all this to happen to me.

One day I found myself crying at my desk in my chemistry class. I was down…sad, because I didn’t understand this! I was pushed to be in a class I didn’t want to be in, I didn’t understand the material, I had to spend my lunch time getting extra help while everyone else hung out with friends. It was too much. I dreaded coming to that class. It then lead into me not wanting to go to school anymore. It was embarrassing finding myself with my head down in classes, hiding my tears. It was rough!

It was towards the end of April & my dad passed away. When I got the news I didn’t take it as bad as I thought. I felt prepared a little. But being there at the funeral was a different story.

Prom approached, and it was now May & I was excited.  It wasn’t the normal mother & father experience when watching their daughter go off with friends to prom. Just mom. Something I was use to. My parents had separated & divorced years ago. But this being something again, eventful he would have been there if he was well & in his right mind.

Next, graduation came around. My aunt who was my fathers half sister attended, as well as her mother, my aunts on my mothers side, and my wonderful mother. But as I sat on the football field to wait to be called & handed my diploma I would look back & see if my dad would be there in his wheelchair & he wasn’t. But it did make me happy that my grandmother made the effort to come out to a joyous day.

My message

At the time, my mother didn’t know I was suffering from depression. So coming from someone that dealt with a mild case of depression, I know it’s not easy overcoming it or to seek help. But as I experienced life, & strengthen my walk with Christ things did got better for me, and they can for you!

 I am not a professional, but I know if you seek help professionally & change your mindset, things can get better, but it won’t happen over night. We live in a world where we can get the help we need, only if we want it for ourselves.  If you’re a teen suffering from this illness, please let someone you trust know. If you’re not comfortable doing so, narrow down one person you can talk to. It’s better to nip this now, then have it carried on into adulthood which is another topic.

Ashley N., BA-Communication
CEO/Founder of MYGirls

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