Dealing with Depression

Learn how I beat Depression


What is depression?

Most people, children as well as adults, feel low or `blue’ occasionally. Feeling sad is a normal reaction to experiences that are stressful or


When these feelings go on and on, or dominate and interfere with your whole life, it can become an illness. This illness is called `depression’. Depression probably affects one in every 200 children under 12 years old and two to three in every 100 teenagers.

What are the signs of depression in children

• Being moody and irritable – easily upset, `ratty’ or tearful

• Becoming withdrawn – avoiding friends, family and regular activities

• Feeling guilty or bad, being self-critical and self-blaming – hating yourself

• Feeling unhappy, miserable and lonely a lot of the time

• Feeling hopeless and wanting to die

• Finding it difficult to concentrate

• Not looking after your personal appearance

• Changes in sleep pattern: sleeping too little or too much

• Tiredness and lack of energy

• Changes in appetite

• Frequent minor health problems, such as headaches or stomach-aches

• Some people believe they are ugly, guilty and have done terrible things.

If you have all or most of these signs and have had them over a long period of time, it may mean

that you are depressed. You may find it very

difficult to talk about how you are feeling.

What causes depression in children

Depression in children is usually caused by a mixture of things, rather than any one thing alone.

Events or personal experiences

can be a trigger. These include family breakdown, the death or loss of a loved one, neglect, abuse, bullying and physical illness. Depression can also be triggered if too many changes happen in your life too quickly.

Risk factors

People are more at risk of becoming depressed if they are under a lot of stress, have no one to share their worries with, and lack practical support.

Biological factors

Depression may run in families due to genetic factors. It is also more common in girls and women compared to boys.

Depression seems to be linked with chemical changes in the part of brain that controls mood. These changes prevent normal functioning of the brain and cause many of the symptoms of


Where can I get help?

There are a lot of things that can be done to help people who suffer from depression.

Helping yourself

Simply talking to someone you trust, and who you feel understands, can lighten the burden. It can also make it easier to work out practical solutions to problems. For example, if you are stressed out by exams, you should talk to your teacher or school counsellor.

If you are worried about being pregnant, you should go and see your general practitioner or family planning clinic. Here are some things to remember:

• talk to someone who can help

• keep as active and occupied as possible, but don’t overstress yourself

• you are not alone – depression is a common problem and can be overcome.

How parents and teachers can help

It can be very hard for young people to put their feelings into words. You can help by asking sympathetically how they are feeling, and listening to them.

When specialist help is needed

If the depression is dragging on and causing serious difficulties, it’s important to seek treatment. Your general practitioner will be able to advise you about what help is available and to arrange a referral to the local child and adolescent mental health service.

Many young people will get better on their own with support and understanding. For those whose symptoms are severe and persistent, the most effective forms of treatment include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and sometimes antidepressant medication. CBT is a type of talking treatment that helps someone understand their thoughts, feelings and behaviour (see Royal College of Psychiatrists Factsheet on CBT).

Antidepressant medication may help and usually has to be taken for several months. They are not addictive, but there may be some withdrawal symptoms for a short time when you stop taking them. All medicines have side-effects, but if you are concerned about these, you should talk to your general practitioner or psychiatrist (see Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Factsheet on antidepressants;


• Carr, A. (ed.) (2000) ‘What Works with Children and Adolescents?’ – A Critical Review of Psychological Interventions with Children, Adolescents and their Families. London: Brunner-Routledge.

• Rutter, M. & Taylor, E. (eds) (2002) ‘Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’ (4th edn). London: Blackwell.

• Scott, A., Shaw, M. & Joughin, C. (eds) (2001) ‘Finding the Evidence’ – A Gateway to the Literature in Child and Adolescent Mental Health (2nd edn). London: Gaskell

Learn how I beat Depression


  1. Ryan Warren
    Posted January 20, 2009 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    I tick all those boxes except the one about looking after personal appearance but even with that I fill the bottom 1 thinking that I’m ugly. Currently a GCSE student living in a working class area in Belfast with a split family and living with my mum. Today I got the day off to do art coursework and completely screwed up pages and am dreading tomorrow as it’s the deadline for both projects. I went down and said to my mum who then somewhere along the line found a reason to argue and raise her voice to me causing me to freak out throwing remotes at the wall and telling her to ‘Fuck off’ and ‘Keep away from me you dick’ and such things you say in anger. From this I ran upstairs in a rage stamping on the floor and things then causing me to punch the wall and break the knuckle on my baby finger. My parents just don’t understand how depressed I’ve been over the past few years and I really need a way to tell them how I feel because everytime I try they just don’t get it! School is slowly ruining my life bit by bit and I’ve really had enough of it, all I want to do is become an electrician I don’t see why I have to be tortured in all these subjects I’ll never need. I would continue with English, maths, French and ICT but the other subjects including physics, biology, art and history are just becoming to much of a burden on me and quite frankly a waste of my time as I’m predicted to fail 3 of them.(Not art) But now I could possibly fail art because the way I draw and things can’t really be done now because of my broken knuckle and the deadline FOR EVERYTHING was yesterday! I thought in the gramar school you would get worked slightly less than you would in the secondary schools but apparently not, I wish I went with my mates to the secondary where I can do subjects I would actually enjoy like Media Studies in which what’s supposed to be the finest school in Northern Ireland or 1 of them anyway does not offer me! I’ve never been too lucky with girls… Just recently I’ve been in a bit of a situation where I liked this girl and she liked me and we would like kiss and walk around and sit alone in parks at night but not go out with each other. Turns out shes doing all this with god knows how many other people and I’m pretty sure I’m going to get charged with assault soon for bashing 1 of her many in a garage with all the cameras around me. This seems to much for a 15 year old boy to handle and quite frankly I’m just fed up. I need 4 GCSES to do an electrician apprenticeship at the local college or tech, which I’m pretty sure I’ll get in English language, English Literature, ICT, French and maths, I just can’t deal with all the other topics holding my progress in these subjects back and other things going on in my life. Girls, anyone that says they like me im too shy to do anything about because I’m worried I’ll cock it up and I just keep away from them, “Becoming withdrawn – avoiding friends, family and regular activities”, then next thing i near they’re six months into a relationship. I find myself staying up late on my laptop on school nights because I don’t want to go the next day, “Changes in sleep pattern: sleeping too little or too much” and “Tiredness and lack of energy”. I find myself in class staring into space not caring because I hate myself ( which relates to another point just not going to get it now ) and “Finding it difficult to concentrate”. Recently I’ve acquired a larger circle of friends and I really thought life was getting better and I was working harder and being more jolly from day to day but little did I know that girl I was talking about, “Courtney” would stab me in the back and twist the knife and as I said I’m probably getting done for assault because of her, awel no-one likes her anymore. She’s not even the best looking but seemed a really nice person and loyal even though I helped her cheat on her boyfriend which really should have said it all to me but anyway. Recently I find myself considering suicide but realise it’s not worth it because in 5 months I’m out of school with nothing to worry about except the 1 subject of electrician, can’t wait! So yeah life’s pretty messed up for me right now as I’m left clueless, girless, knuckleles amongst many other things. Please reply to me as I need advice and support right now, my trial examinations are less than two weeks away and I haven’t touched a book. Life is hell for me and I’ve began drinking at the weekends with my friends, something I never done before but it does take it all away. Nothing I can’t handle but just enough to make me feel better. Sorry about not writing in paragraphs, my English teacher always shouts at me for that…

    Beginning of second paragraph lol

    Well yeah life sucks! I don’t know how people in all the higher classes cope with it because I’m in mainly bottom classes like E5 out of 6, M6 out of 6, T7 out of 8, F6 out of 6. <– my school, personally I think it’s hugely overated and I hate everything about it to be honest, the staff don’t seem to care, homeworks are pointless exercises when we could be revising which I have no time for. I often resort to my xbox to take my mind off things where me and my friends can go online and fight against the French and Americans online on war genre games and get a strange sense of satisfaction out of winning and making fun of younger people on it and people who quite frankly suck at games. Well I’ll bore you no longer, all I have to say now is thank you for your time and I eagerly await your reply.

    p.s Is what I just wrote pretty coherant English?


  2. Meredith
    Posted April 11, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    when i was a little younger i ticked all those boxes. No one really understands just how i feel. Although not many things are bad in my life I’m just pathetic, useless and worthless. This doesnt actually say anything about depression in teenagers but i have felt like this 90% of the time since i was 10, I’m now 14. People cant make sense of why i feel so down i only have 1 friend and she doesnt understand but she can compramise. I self harm as well. People tell me its a phase, but is it really a phase? this serious for this long?

  3. Alice W
    Posted April 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I saw an article that had some, what you might call, “alternative”, methods for dealing with depression. I’m not sure how well it works, but some of the ideas actually made sense to me. I guess you can judge for yourself though.

    Nice piece.
    Alice x

  4. Mike
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 1:38 am | Permalink

    Where can i start, ive been pretty depressed for some time now but i wouldn’t say it was just one thing, it just seems to be one thing after another the last 3 years of my life. I am 19 years old, when i was 16 i got dumped by my girlfriend who i had been with for nearly a year, obviously i know there is far more worse break ups, but what can i say she broke my heart. It took me a long time to get over it and still now I’m not sure if i am, unfortunately i had to see a lot of her as she was close with a lot of my friends. She is with a guy now that doesnt appreciate her at all, and breaks my heart everytime i see them together.
    Then 3 months after the break up, in my depression and just purely not thinking about what i was doing, i stole money from the shop i was working at, got a final warning from the police. My parents had to save my arse, and I now am still in debt to my parents which although could be a lot worse, i just feel that they think of me as a disappointment, i let them down, both my older brother and sister have done well for themselves. I just wasted my time in sixth form and ended up with shite a levels, not good enough to get into any uni.
    After sixth form, my parents had to move, and i actually was happy to go with them at first, thinking i could pay back my debts, that was last september, and guess what with the current climate i cant get a f**king job, so i have no money, no friends up here, no social life, no job, and all my closest friends, are at least 200 miles away, i just feel so trapped and fed up, i feel trapped that i owe my parents money, about 3 grand, that isnt how much i stole, just they have bought me car and paid insurance etc, and although obv that is a good thing, i dont have any money to run it, and it has left me in so much debt!!!!
    I just feel so fed up, i havent worked for 8 months, i am withdrawn in both my bank accounts by several hundred, i just feel there is no way for me to get back on my feet, i feel pretty ashamed with how my life has gone, my parents had all these plans for me, my brother and sisters both have degrees, both have good jobs, and i am sat in my parents house, on job seekers allowance, with no friends, and no life, staying up all night, regularly just purely because i cant sleep, which is causing me to just waste my days anymore, i am just so down, i do occasionally chat to my close friends but what do you expect they are all either at uni having the time of thier lives, or working full time in jobs, i would be the same, you just dont have time to comfort your friend, i just feel so alone, does anyone have any advice out there about what i can do to keep my motivation up and try and get some belief in myself?

  5. amy
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    iv’e been depressed on and off for basically my whole childhood, ill have months where ill contemplate ending everything, then maybe a month that seems less terrible. I’ve been with my boyfriend two months now, he really did seem like the light at the end of the tunnel, i was so in love with him, and now i feel nothing. I feel nothing for anyone, things have gotten so bad it’s like i have no emotions. I just want to know is there anyway my feelings for anyone will come back? it’s unbearable :(

  6. Anon
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m 24 years old and have just been diagnosed with depression. It’s good to know what it is thats been causing arguments between myself and my husband for so long. Anyway the nurse I spoke to has signed me off work for a month initially but will be reviewed after that to establish whether I need longer.
    I’m adamant I WILL NOT take medication for it as I know people who can’t cope with life without them and I don’t want to end up like that. I tick all the boxes apart from ‘Wanting to die’. Death is my biggest fear

  7. tina
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    guys you are not 25,married and was depress after the 1st baby was born and now am pregnant again and two days now i have been feeling low,i mean to de point i can hear things like kill urself or you are gonna die. i dont want to live like this.i want to see my children grow up,get married and ME enjoy not a christian but have started praying now as my mum is a strong beliver in christ and thinks this is not normal for urs to be feeling this way.i look at my daughters face and smile sometimes cos she is pretty and just dont want to live her here,am scared of dying and its really hurt that i have this kind of disease or mum doesnt really undestand and my hubby gets scared so i dont tell him much,am fighting for my life and hope each one of you is doing the same,dont give up,stay strong and if you can pray,just say anything.take care and stay blessed everyone.

  8. Trisha
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    its so hard to control or evan change how you feel about life or yourself. I have been suffering from depression for about 3 years and i never took it sereously until now. The way i feel affects my whole life, i am over-weight, low self esteem, not socialable and put my self under lots of pressure. the sadest part of the whole thing is that i DON’T want to feel like this, or miss the life i could have. i see other 17 year olds having fun and enjoying life and i want that too, i just dont know how to change or get better.

  9. Sarfaraz Khan
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Trust me depression is affecting me so much, i put so much effort into my A levels and still didnt get into uni, i cant seem 2 find ajob anywhere cuz of the recession cant seem 2 drive for bollocks and cant seem 2lose weight off my stomach, i feel like a lost cause, I have no business with a world that rejects me

  10. Esther
    Posted July 21, 2010 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I’m suffering with depression, although I believe it’s been building for the last four years of my life. Im only sixteen years old, just finished my GCSEs and am continuing on to do A levels despite my deep loathing of that school, as with any other I’ve ever been to. Just walking through the corridors a week or so ago, seeing the teachers and other students, was almost too much to bear. When in leaving I was stopped by a teacher who wanted to talk, I had to put my sunglasses on to disguise the tears.

    At this moment for me, it’s nearly four in the morning, and I’m nothing like tired enough to sleep yet. Meals are made and eaten as and when I feel up to them, sometimes forgotten for a whole day or so, then compromised with a single binge of food from the supermarket round the corner. I’ve been sleeping until early afternoon recently, and staying in bed longer, since books no longer hold my interest, I’ve lost contact with all friends my own age, and it’s just easier to attempt sleep than anything else.

    On the worst of days, I can’t even manage eye contact with people, let alone going out in public. I’ll eat far too much and lie curled up on the kitchen floor, sobbing for extended lengths of time while everyone else sleeps. At the best of days, I can almost function normally, but even then I can’t stay in social situations for very long. Subjects will make me cry now that never would have before.

    Friendships have always been difficult things for me, but even more so now. The few true friendships I have and cherish are held through the typed word, where I can strive to be a good person despite this constant veil over life. So far, in about a year, four or five people have fallen for me, and I’ve felt nothing more than love for a friend for any of them, or anyone else. I hope that this is linked with the depression, and will leave when I finally get ahold of it, because otherwise there’s a glitch in my brain that I don’t have the foggiest how to fix, and it isn’t fair on them or me.

    The bulk of my worries at the moment is dedicated to ultimate questions, religion and philosophy for the most part, and even stimulating, intellectual discussions with friends are only helping in the short run – pretty soon afterwards, despite the convincing arguments, the doubts will start creeping up again. I’ve decided that depression doesn’t listen to reason, and hopefully my mind will be my own when this entire mess is over.

    So far… I’m not taking any medication for this. The idea of being reliant on drugs of any kind is repulsive for me; I want my mind to be my own, and I want to overcome this obstacle through my own power. While the more sensible part of my realises that this isn’t the way to do it, my stubbornness is equal only to pride and patience.

    But, well… if any of this sounds familiar to you, then you’re not in this alone. Through a few paragraphs worth of text, I hope you find some solace and reassurance. If this is naught but the ramblings of a madwoman, then at least she got it off her chest. Good luck, and God bless, to you all.

  11. Hello
    Posted March 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    I have read some of the above comments, and I am so glad to realise I’m not the only one who feels this way.
    I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have a perfectly normal life. I have a wonderful mother, a kind step-father, I do ok in college and am on my way to University. I have a few problems like anyone does, with my father being a bit of a prat and my sister can be ‘strong-willed’ shall we say. So why is it I just want to curl up in a corner and cry all day long?
    I bunked the afternoon lessons today. I came home and rather than catch-up with work like I planned to do out of guilt, I just sat in silence for an hour then went onto the computer to read online books all afternoon. I am stressed from so much college work, with coursework deadlines and stuff too. I’m drowning, and it’s my own fault. I should have done it sooner. Instead I just lost myself for days on the computer. Nothing feels real unless its on a screen.
    I feel silly saying this. I should be a normal teenager. I’m very good at disguising the constant sadness. I smile at people I despise and laugh all the time at things that aren’t remotely funny. I prompt people into talking about themselves do that I don’t have to talk and can just nod along. It’s easier for me to act the fool than to open myself up. “My personality is extremely bland and boring, so here, look at me dance and yell like a moron instead!” Lately I’m finding even maintaining this mask hard. My friends have started to see through the mask. I get shaky and anxious around certain people I used to really like, and I try to end conversations quickly and make excuses to not go out for weeks at a time. I don’t trust them at all anymore, with my emotions or real opinions about stuff. I realised I had to do something about this intense aversion when I got panicky about my own mother talking to me. I’ve also lost interest in all previous hobbies and activities. I don’t do anything anymore and find no enjoyment in any formerly stimulating activity.
    I’m gonna talk briefly about the boy front, in case any other similar girls read this and want to compare or not feel alone. I don’t feel comfortable talking about this. I am 17 and have never had a boyfriend. I went to an all girls Convent school, and despite the majority being sluts I’m not like that. I can’t. As soon as a boy shows interest in me I shy away. I don’t feel comfortable allowing to expose myself enough for them to get to know the real me. The boring, reclusive, depressive, ugly me. It’s better to just let them see the make-up and bright clothes and let them see me that way, from a friendly distance. I don’t have many guy mates, (2), and they are practically girls themselves anyway. I would love a boyfriend. I’m so lonely. And there are some emotional aspects of life that a mother or friend can’t fulfil. I scare boys off easily because I’m very flamboyant in my make-shift happy mask, and I am quite overbearing when people first meet me. I don’t mean to be. The over-excited behaviour is because I get so nervous. And hopeful. Though that hope has never panned out happily. Still alone.
    I feel fat, useless, ugly, and unfashionable. There’s a black hole inside of me that sucks out all my energy and happiness, and it takes all my energy to not crumble inwards.
    I walked down the street once and had to fight not to sit on the pavement in emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion of just getting out of the house.
    As I said at the beginning, I am am glad that others have felt similar to me. I want so much to be better. I want to see the world without a blindfold of depression. I hope that others out there try to stay strong, I’m going to try to. Best Wishes to everybody, and a note for the suicidal’s… please don’t. You have such a long time to be dead, even if your life is a struggle, jsut get to the end and then you can rest forever. You’re not alone, and it doesn’t matter what your going through; debt, boyfriend/husband troubles, prison, jobs, anything – just remember that nothing lasts forever. You will get through this. Repeat it like a mantra if you have to. “This won’t last forever. No matter what happens, this won’t last forever.” May all the depressive people reading this live full and eventually happy lives. It’ll be a struggle to get there, I know it will, but the first time I see the world without that depressive blindfold will be more potent than the richest chocolate. You’ll see someday.

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