“Depression is the inability to construct a future.” said Rollo May.
Is that the crux of it for the youth today? I ask, in all its objectivity.
The present youth is not able to create or see a promising tomorrow for their life. Well, a large percentage of it. Not in terms of professional or career successes, but for life as a whole, to a larger extent. Failures at many levels, push them to retire to personal shells.
And that, more often than not, leads to severe mental ailments.
It seems, youth and depression, these two words have become inter connected.
As hard to swallow, it might come across as a fact, but it is true to the core. Young people are suffering from hopelessness, dejection, melancholy and gloom. Some evident and some not so evident.
It indeed is a colourful world for the young ones, with more shades added every day. So much on the palette, yet so less to life. Social media, peer pressure, academic pressures, social pressures, relationship goals, achievement goals and what not! Depressive states of young minds are cropping at an alarming speed. Look around, dig a little deeper, and the greys and blues of obscurity will become so visible.
The results of such depressive states of mind?
Dropping out of school (most popular), substance abuse, running away from home, and violent, reckless behaviour.
Do you have one such youth around you? Are you one such youth?
I will try to help you to identify the symptoms of depression, be it about your own self or someone around you, who you suspect is showing varied behaviour patterns.
Some of the identifiable symptoms are:
- Unexplainable sadness which becomes a regular occurrence.
- Anger that lasts for quite some time, sometimes even without any tangible reasons.
- Crying frequently, or severe emotional outbursts.
- Abrupt halt of communication with family and friends.
- Showing absolutely no interest in his or her usual activities.
- Noticeable changes in eating and sleeping routine.
- Lacking of eagerness in day-to-day routines
- Fatigue and loss of strength to do normal activities.
- Substantial fall in the concentration skills.
The most important thing to notice here is that today’s youth has many different reasons altogether to fall in the dungeon of depression. We simply cannot compare or parallel the reasons to those prevalent in earlier days, or the reasons good enough for adults.
Youth today has a different world around them.
Crowded by the narcissist mentality, thanks to the social media trends, youth today is more sensitive to personal criticism as compared to adults coming from yester years. Also, teenagers experience unexplained body aches, which often are the results of irregular sleep patterns, overload of activity in a day, and lack of body rest. That, to a larger extent, results in physical and mental stress.
A strongest sign of depression, to look out for, however, is the selective withdrawal from some people. The youth might withdraw themselves from adults, but most probably not from their friends. Simply for the reason the same age friends offer the colours that they want, the colours that they crave for.
Suicidal teens, facing severe clinical depression are not difficult to identify.
Some of the most prominently destructive (read suicidal) signs to look out for, which should be enough to trigger a remedial action are:
- Mere joking of committing suicide,
- An apparent fascination with the idea of death,
- Giving away their prized possessions,
- Owning sharp or deadly weapons, irrelevant medication in huge numbers, and other materials, which can harm them physically, and
- Going as far as personally saying goodbyes to their loved ones.
What is the help that we can provide to mellow down the disturbing colours of young ones’ world and paint the picture with pleasant and soothing colours?
- Well, the best and most workable way to cure depression among the youth is to offer them support.
- Allocate help. Let the suffering teen know that there are people willing to help them solve their problems.
- Make sure they are treated gently.
- Listen to what they have to say and refrain from lecturing that might allow them to feel they are doing something wrong.
- Engage in the activities with them that they like to do, in whatever little action they try to indulge in.
- Surround them with love, compassion, understanding and smiles.
- Come what may, never get agitated of their behaviour. No matter how irrational or unreasonable they behave, try to reason them without losing your temper. Try to offer compassion at all possible times.
- In the end, the validation of emotions is the final step in order to diagnose the severity of depression among teenagers.
Yes, youth depression is happening. It is real, and adults around them cannot and should not turn a blind eye to this fact, which can severely put the lives of our teens in danger.
Through open communication and the assurance of support, we can guarantee that they will be able to conquer whatever emotional problems they are dealing with.
Let’s bring joyful colours to them and help them to make a picture vibrantly coloured.
It is time to start taking notice of depression in our youth NOW!