Depression, Depression with Social Anxiety, and Self Harm

Depression: The Signs & Symptoms

Depression hits many people all over the world. It doesn't reserve itself for those who have gone through troubling times; it can strike anyone at anytime, regardless of their situation. Some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • an overwhelming sadness
  • feelings of hopelessness and desperation
  • thoughts of harming oneself
  • constantly worrying, intense anxiety; tension
  • lack of happiness and enjoyment
  • becoming tired easily
  • thinking of suicide
While many people assume that depression only happens to people who have had a traumatic experience, that is not true. You can have a perfectly happy family, a wonderful life, and still be depressed. It is not something in your control and if you have any of these symptoms, don't dismiss your feelings as invalid. Seek help.

Depression: Facts & Statistics

  • 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression
  • That's 5% of the population
  • 11% of teens are affected by depression before the age of 18
  • Women are 70% more likely to experience depression in their life than men
  • 30% of college students report feeling depressed to a point where it disrupted their studies
  • 50% of Americans with depression don't seek treatment

Depression with Social Anxiety

Depression by itself is bad enough, but add in a crippling fear of social situations and losing your friends... now you've got a real party. Having depression and social anxiety at the same time is terrible. Having both is wanting to see your friends so you don't lose them all, but being too tired to get out of bed. Having both is not wanting to leave your house to go to school, but stressing out about failing. Having both is wanting to go see your favorite artist in concert to get a break from your sadness, but being absolutely terrified of the large crowd. Having both is having social anxiety whispering in your ear that no one likes you while having depression telling you that you're worthless. Having both is being attacked from every side and not being able to see a way out. Having both sucks.
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How to deal

If you ever feel like you have anxiety, social anxiety, or depression, always seek help. Your feelings are not invalid or made up and the first step to getting better is admitting that you have a problem. One of the most certain ways to get better is to see a therapist. Then you can start setting small goals and train yourself to refuse the dark thoughts and call them out on their falseness. "No, your friends are not going to hate you if you don't want to hang out today." "No, you won't embarrass yourself by asking the teacher for help." "No, you are not alone."

Self Harm

Self Harm: Facts & Statistics

Self harm can often accompany depression. Because many teens do not report that they hurt themselves, these facts and statistics only represent those that do.

  • 13% of young people try to harm themselves between the ages of 11 and 16
  • Each year 1/5 females engaged in self harm and 1/7 males engaged as well
  • Nearly 50% of people who self harm have been sexually abused
  • About 50% of those who self harm start around the age of 14 and continue on until the age of 20
  • Many who self harm report learning how to do so through friends or pro self injury websites
  • Approximately 2 million cases are reported each year in the US

Getting Help

For those dealing with self-harm:

If you are self harming or thinking of doing so, the most important thing to do is to get help. While it may seem like a terrifying thing to do, or you may not want help, it is the only way you are going to get better. Talk to someone you trust about it and let them help you get what you need.

If you are not in a safe environment to get help or you cannot bring yourself to do so, find a way to distract yourself. Self harm is usually an act to deal with the emotional pain of life, so instead of taking out your pain on your body write down your feelings, go for a walk, even draw on yourself with markers if you need to have skin contact. If you are thinking of hurting yourself, a good alternative is to hold an ice cube. The cold will hurt but it will not harm you. While all of these things can keep you from self harming, the most sure way to stop is to ask for help, no matter how hard that may seem.

For those who know someone dealing with self harm:

Tips for you while helping someone who self harms are:

  • Be calm and gentle. Someone is such a fragile state needs to be cared for. Yelling at them, showing disdain for their condition, or ignoring the problem only makes it worse.
  • Deal with your own feelings. When someone tells you that they self harm you may feel shocked, confused, or even disgusted. You need to confront these feeling because that is the first step to helping the person who self harms.
  • Learn about the problem. If you have distaste or even disgust for self harm, the most important thing to do is to learn about it. Try to understand why the person hurts themselves and what it's like to be a a situation where the only option seems to be to hurt yourself.
  • Don't judge. Don't criticize the person or make rude, negative comments. The person who self harms is already feeling ashamed and alone, being judgmental only makes it worse.
  • Offer support, not threats. It is your natural instinct to want to help and you can do so by being gentle, listening carefully, and finding a professional who can help. The way not to do it, is by threats and punishments.
  • Encourage communication. Let the person know that you are here to talk at any time about any thing. Tell them that you want to understand what they are going through and that you want to help in any way you can.

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