“They Put on A Mask”: Depression through a Teenage Perspective


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This article was written by a teen that has previously gone through a state of depression but is reaching the goal to be free.

By Katie Williams

It’s a never-ending void. It feels like you can’t escape. Some kids don’t necessarily want to hurt themself. They just want the pain to go away. Anyone can go through it. It doesn’t matter whether their life seems perfect from the outside; people have no idea what goes on, especially in the teenage mind. 

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress. 

They put on a mask. They walk through our school hallways, grocery aisles, sometimes the hallways of their own homes, with smiles on their faces, and nobody knows the battles they are fighting. Their parents/family members don’t know that they cry themselves to sleep at night because most parents never think that their child could have these thoughts go through their head. When most find out, they are shocked and, like mine, ask, “what happened” or “how” and ”why.” 

And to parents, some of you think that we have no reason to be sad, that we should be thankful for what we have, and that we are okay. But what if we aren’t, we can be grateful for what we have and still be sad. It’s not about what we have; it’s not about not being thankful. It’s about feeling alone and or tired, just tired. Most like me can’t even explain how they felt or why they felt it. Was it being overwhelmed?

The clinical characteristics of depression include behavioral, emotional and cognitive symptoms. Behavioral features include loss of energy, disturbances with sleep, and changes in appetite. Emotional characteristics include depressed mood, feelings of sadness, and feelings of worthlessness.

Now, parents may be asking, “how do I fix it” or “how can I check with them.” Well, it’s difficult because most kids will just put on their mask and say, “I’m fine.” and even if you keep asking, they will not tell you. The advice that a teen would give you is to sit next to them and say that they could tell you anything and that if they are going through something like this you will support them. And help them, whether that be a therapist, just talking with you, or just letting them handle it with you checking in every day. Any of these ways are better than them handling it all on their own and keeping it in. 

I hope that this article reaches the right people, the right families that need to hear this. Whether finances cause stress, having no friends, or school anxiety, everyone needs someone to talk to. And it is tough to open up. But to a kid that’s going through depression reading this, many know how you feel although it seems like nobody does, and we are all fighting our battles, but you are a warrior and can make it. You can do it. 

Mendocino County’s Mental Health Service offers a “Warm Line”, which is a non-crisis call line for residents that need help. Residents can call 707-472-2311 to just talk with someone, to ask questions, or to express a need.

Katie Williams
Katie Williams
Katie Williams is an Editor in Chief for the Ukiah High School Newspaper and a Junior at UHS. Katie enjoys writing about emotion based and community oriented pieces, and is the head producer for the @ukiahilite instagram page. Outside of school Katie enjoys baking, reading and assisting her family in reaching out to our community. After high school Katie would like attend University and Major in Psychology to work with children that “deserve better, they need someone to listen”.

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