We are living in a time where families, adults and children are struggling all over the world to survive financially as well as emotionally. Many of us do not feel we are loved and supported at home or at school, we do not feel safe and secure in our homes. Many of us do not have the privilege of having the loving mother and father that others are blessed with and it makes us very sad. It makes us feel lonely and hopeless. Teenagers who do not feel the love, support and acceptance of their parents at home, or who don’t belong to a nice peer group of friends at school can easily become sad, lonely and isolated. Life is full of stress and challenges and the group of people who is most vulnerable to all the brokenness, turmoil and insecurity in the world around us is the youth, our children and teenagers.
Children between 10 and 19 years of age are the most emotionally vulnerable group in society with the greatest chance of developing depression and suicidal ideas. Teenagers can easily become overwhelmed emotionally because they are in a period of rapid change, they have to adjust to physical changes in their developing bodies but they also feel pressurized to meet the demands of their parents, teachers and society in general. Teenagers may look quite strong and mature physically, but their brains (especially the front part of the brain that helps with planning and making judgments about appropriate behavior) have not fully developed yet. Therefore our youth often feel incapable, hopeless and overwhelmed to meet the expectations and demands that are placed on them.
As a child or a teenager I want you to look at the following list of feelings and behaviours and see if you can identify with any of these. Mark those statements which sound familiar to you.
How do you really feel?
- I feel downhearted, blue and sad most of the time
- I keep on feeling sad, hopeless or anxious
- Morning is when I feel the worst
- I have crying spells or feel like it
- I am very tired and have no energy
- I get tired for no reason
- I find it difficult to do the things I used to do
- I don't enjoy the things I used to enjoy
- I have lost interest in my hobbies
- Most of the time I would rather be alone
- I spend most of my time alone in my room
- I feel hopeless about the future
- I feel anxious and scared when I think of the future
- I have no confidence
- I find it difficult to make decisions
- I feel I am a failure and have let my family down
- I feel that others would be better off if I were dead
- I feel useless and unwanted
- I feel very alone and isolated
- I feel other kids don't like me
- I don't have enough/any friends, I don't belong to a group
- My mind is not clear
- I have trouble concentrating on things like studying, homework or watching tv
- I have trouble sleeping through the night (wake up early) or I sleep too much
- My appetite has increased or decreased
- I notice that I am losing weight
- I feel guilty
- I am more irritable and agitated than usual
- I am restless and can't keep still
- My life is pretty empty
- I hate myself
- I hate the way my body looks
- I cut myself to calm me down
- I drink or use drugs to make me feel better
- I have thoughts of death or suicide
If you experience the persistent sadness and hopelessness mentioned above (and also recognize some of the other feelings and behaviours listed above) you may be suffering from depression and you must gather the strength to talk to your parent or another caring adult (like a teacher or adult family member ) about your feelings and situation. Depression is a serious, but treatable, emotional disease.
There is hope for you!
Radio Pulpit now offers young people the opportunity to talk confidentially with a someone and get Biblical advice:
- Sms one of our young counsellors at 071 679 4302 Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 19:30 till 21:30. You can also send an sms Monday - Saturday during the day; a young counsellor will attend to it.
- Or: BBM pin - 2B7CA575
- For emergencies phone our 24/7 telephone counselling service at 012 334-1320