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Empty, Disconnected, Uninterested

I used to be a happy, content person. In the 6th and 7th grade my depression was controllable. But, ever since this school year started, depression has been the biggest part of my life. I most commonly feel disconnected, empty, and apathetic. I feel so empty sometimes I can’t even think. Other times I feel extreme sadness. Sometimes I cry while not feeling any emotion. And yes, thoughts of killing myself swarm often, even though killing myself seems absurd. I also have physical difficulty saying what’s bothering me. Tears swell my eyes and I cannot speak. I say stuff out loud such as, “I want to die”or “I’m always sad” without thinking. I think it comes across as a joke, but it’s more of a cry for help. I avoid social interaction if possible, and sometimes cry over the thought of attending school. When I get ready in the mornings, I often cry over little things and ponder if I should go to school or not. I lack motivation yet have ambitions. I hate everything about myself and never see the good in things. Sorry, this is more of a compilation of problems, but I don’t know where they’re coming from. (From the USA)

I am very glad you are reaching out to us here. Your courage and persistence in dealing with depression is an important part of coping and handling it. It takes a lot of grit to wrestle with these feelings and I admire what you are doing to manage it, including reaching out to us here at Psych Central.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Disengaged, with a loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite (weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting)
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much.
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Anxiety-related physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
  • Loss of meaning or purpose, feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

There is also an assessment tool here at Psych Central and learn more about depression here.

Depression robs our energy and motivation while keeping us trapped in ruminating thoughts. This is why your effort here is so important because the desire to have it change or lift or lessen is the main ingredient in bringing change about.

I think what makes the most sense for you is to talk to your parents and have them make an appointment with a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or clinical psychologist. The first two can do an evaluation and screening for depression and make recommendations for medicine and therapy. A clinical psychologist can offer an evaluation that can help make a definitive diagnosis and make suggestions or offer psychotherapy.

You can also ask them to make an appointment with a therapist who is familiar with working with teenagers. I often recommend the evaluations first because there can be a number of reasons a person gets depressed and an evaluation that rules out physical causes can be very important.

What is vital is to get some help from someone who understands how to treat depression. If for some reason your parents are not willing to take you I’d encourage you to talk to your school guidance counselor. He or she has access to services that will be helpful in getting you the treatment that can help.

You’ve taken to first step by writing us here. Now it is time to get connected to people who have the skills to help.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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