Dealing with depression as a freshman


Joanna Baker

The stresses of high school compared to those of middle school can worsen depression in students, particularly freshmen.

Being a freshman, high school is a whole new world than the one I was used to a year ago. Heartbreak, stress, depression and pain are things that no one should have to deal with, yet it’s the life of a high school student.

No longer can I pass as “too young” for responsibilities, nor am I apparently old enough to efficiently handle real-world issues or tiptoe the line of my parents’ trust. It is a whole world different than what I could have ever imagined.

I know I’m sounding like a flowery Netflix coming-of-age flick right now, but it’s true. In my admittedly brief experience with high school, I’ve faced stress, drama and emotions that I have never previously been prepared for. Depression can often spawn from these emotions, and this can only lead to more trouble if the person’s facing their issues alone.

According to The Center for Discovery, 20 percent of high schoolers experience depression before adulthood. This number may not seem like a lot, but this calculates to be roughly 1.8 million teens that carry the weight of depression on their shoulders.

Those who experience depression often experience isolation. They could be popular and have plenty of friends and caring family members, but they don’t feel loved. Sometimes, it even feels like it’s those same friends or family members who are the cause of these feelings.

As if depression alone isn’t enough, there’s the stress of new workloads that are piled upon us freshmen. AP and honors classes, tutorials, after-school activities and stressful home situations only make things worse. Students need to know that they aren’t isolated in the suffocating abyss of high school. Every day, we face pain and agony at school.

My friends tell me that they oftentimes find themselves locked in the bathroom at home, looking for a place to cry without worrying or bothering their families. Teachers don’t know, and students feel that they can’t afford to tell them.

Depression makes you feel like you don’t matter. Some feel like they’re being self-centered; that what they’re experiencing isn’t an actual problem. That’s not true.

We high schoolers have feelings that deserve to be heard. As of 2015, one out of every five students seriously considered suicide before they reached out for help. This statistic does not include the students who didn’t report their pain or those who acted out on it and are no longer alive. Suicide is a gruesome seven-letter word, and it’s the tenth-leading cause of death in the United States.

Dealing with depression shouldn’t feel like you’re fighting your battles alone. It shouldn’t be embarrassing to admit to those who love you the most that you need help. There’s always someone to turn to: from parents to teachers, to a classmate that you might not have ever thought of speaking to. Put down the shield and reach out to others. There will only be so many chances to do so.