"Dear Carol, I'm really sad sometimes"
Lately I've been researching mental disorders because I’m wondering if I have one. When I tell people I have anxiety or depression, they say it’s only hormones. But a lot of teens have disorders. I’m not sure how to approach this. I want to know if I have a real mental health issue.
–Do I Have A Disorder
Dear do I Have A Disorder?,
The internet can make everyone worry. "Are you ever sad?" "Do you ever feel depressed?" "Do you have trouble staying organized?" The answer is often yes, but that's called being a human being. It's not necessarily a disorder or reason for medication. Instead of going down the rabbit hole of internet research, stay positive, sensible and upbeat. Take good care of yourself (exercise, sleep, nutrition) and ask questions at your next checkup. Know too that some days will be happier and easier than others. And when possible, assume the best rather than obsess about the worst. Summer vacation is ahead, so plan a few things that will be relaxing and rewarding. A hiking trip? A cousin weekend? Volunteering? Curling up with books and magazines? That said, if you notice you have dark moods that are hard to shake, or if you no longer enjoy activities that always gave you pleasure, or worse, if you ever feel self-destructive or suicidal, then definitely talk to a pro or at least a parent, teacher, counselor or nurse.
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