Dear Carol

"Dear Carol, I'm depressed—and I don't know what to do"

Dear Carol, 

I'm only 12, but last year I realized that I was depressed. It's gotten a lot worse. This year I became suicidal, and I just don't know what to do. My parents don't want to try meds, and my therapist isn't working. I'm in an anonymous group at school with 10 other girls, and that isn't helping either. Now my parents are talking about things like boarding schools and going to live in a hospital. I didn't know about any of this. I have a ton of trauma and every time life's going good, something comes up and ruins things. I'm a mess and don't want to hurt my family. 

- Depressed

Dear Depressed, 

Feeling down or moody is one thing, but feeling suicidal is much more serious. I'm so sorry this is such a difficult time. It might help to find a new therapist. In the meantime, is there any one person in the school group that you can become closer to? Or can you focus more on a favorite class or teacher or your own strengths? Can a school nurse or counselor talk to your parents about medications? It can take a while to get the dose right but, for many individuals, meds make a big difference. In some cases, so do residential treatment centers or therapeutic boarding schools.

Keep finding creative ways to express yourself—even just baking and gardening can provide real pick-me-ups. One more idea: Any chance you can get a cat or hamster or guinea pig? When you take care of something else (plant, pet or person), it can provide you with good feelings, too. But right now, getting professional help should be the top priority. As so many adults have said: It gets better. (Need help right now? Text HOME to 741741 to reach a volunteer crisis counselor 24/7 in English or Spanish.)

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by GL | 5/3/2022