Making a permanent impression since 1994
December 8, 2003
Girls describe loneliness, desperation
By Katie Jordan
Your best friend is depressed and contemplating
This statement might not be true, but maybe it is.
And maybe you have no idea.
Though it’s a problem that effects teens
everywhere, depression often goes unnoticed, even by family and close
That’s what it was like for Mary, a sophomore of
For a long time, Mary said, no one had any idea that
she had a problem.
“I’m good at make-believe,” said Mary. She hid her depression, bottling up her sadness so no one would know.
Katy related a similar experience. Her depression
remained unnoticed and untreated, she said, until she made a suicide
“I’m not really sure if it’s that I want to
die,” Katy said. “I think it’s just that I don’t want to live the
life I’m living.”
So Katy overdosed on medication at lunch hour one
“I wasn’t planning on telling anyone, but I got
scared and told my teacher,” said Katy.
Both girls said it was difficult to explain the exact
reasons for their depression.
Katy’s father used to hit her, before he moved out
several years ago. But though that was a huge part of her problem, she
said she’s unsure if it was the only cause.
Mary said she has a good life, but has always been
more mature than other children, and sometimes oversensitive.
Being different, as it often does, led to being
“When people teased me, my self-esteem shot
down,” said Mary. “Then I started to beat them up.”
“It’s easier to get angry and deal with it than
it is to deal with depression,” Mary added.
But her anger didn’t always lead her to hurting
There were times when her overwhelming emotions drove
her to hurt herself: Mary had a problem with cutting, though she also hid
this from those around her.
“It’s not something you’re really proud of,”
said Mary. “I’m going to have scars on my body forever because of what
Once a friend noticed the cuts, Mary said, and Mary
told her they were from her cat.
“She knew it wasn’t my cat,” Mary said.
Katy has also struggled with cutting, or
self-harming, and tried to conceal it from others. “I tried to hide it
by wearing long sleeves,” she said.
But everyone found out what she’d been doing when
she was brought to the hospital after her suicide attempt.
Katy said she found comfort in self-mutilation.
“It gave me another type of pain to focus on other
than the pain inside,” she explained. “I would bleed out my pain
because I didn’t know how to talk about it.”
Though she said she found it difficult to explain to
other people, Mary’s reason for cutting herself was similar.
“It was like a release,” said Mary.
Mary also said she found release in fits of uncontrollable crying — but only when she was alone.
Being alone was part of Mary’s problem. During her
worst periods of depression, she had no friends, she said.
Katy also said she was isolated, because friends
either ignored her or said unkind things to her after she tried to kill
herself and went to the hospital.
“I don’t think they wanted to be friends with me
anymore,” Katy said.
The loneliness became even worse when the school
system removed her from school, after a second suicide attempt and
“Every day I sit at home I’m getting more
depressed,” said Katy.
Without friends to turn to, unfortunately neither of
the depressed teens found family a complete source of comfort, either.
Katy said her family didn’t really understand her
depression and was “really critical about things.”
Mary suffered a traumatic loss when her grandfather
died a few years ago.
Her parents knew that he was ill, but left Mary at
home when they went to see him — she never got to say goodbye.
The loss of a loved one is painful for anybody, but
Mary said her grandfather’s
death was especially hard.
Besides the cutting, the crying, and the fighting,
Mary also began to neglect
“It’s hard to do anything when you don’t see a
point,” she said.
People finally started noticing Mary’s problem when
her grades dropped. Her mother eventually decided that she should see
someone about her depression.
Mary said that talking to a professional helped to
organize her thinking, even though she didn’t feel an emotional
attachment to the person.
“They’re just somebody to talk to,” she said.
Katy has tried many ways of treating her depression
since her suicide attempts brought attention from the school and her
A succession of antidepressant medications — Paxil,
Zoloft, and Effexor — hasn’t helped her much, Katy said.
Katy found, like Mary, that communicating with others
Before she was removed from school, she said, the
social worker and the teachers were very supportive, though other students
isolated or mistreated her.
“When I was in the hospital, the other patients
were really nice and understanding, and so were the doctors and nurses,”
Katy also took part in a course called Dialectical
Behavior Therapy, which involved talking with a psychiatrist and learning
to deal with emotions.
“I would really suggest the program DBT,” Katy
Besides this program, Katy had other suggestions for
teens dealing with depression.
She said they should not give up, because “there
are always people out there who are going through similar situations.”
Mary said she now has friends who try to be there for
her, even if she can’t
make them understand what she’s going through.
Mary’s advice for anyone suffering from depression:
“Find somebody to talk to.”
It’s almost impossible to find the words to explain
how depression feels, Mary said.
“It eats you alive from the inside.”
|© 2003 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.|