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Within The Depths of a Teenage Mind: Bringing Depression and Anxiety Out of the Shadows

depression_psa_i_by_namelessblob[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he halls of our school are rushed and packed in the morning. Upon first look, it may seem that everyone is ready for the day, but truth is, deep down everyone has their own struggles. More than three in ten teenagers today struggle with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, which can affect everything from relationships to school work. For the most part, these conditions go unnoticed and untreated. “I feel like a lot of people don’t think that it’s actually a real thing, people will say like ‘Oh just get over it,’ but it’s lot more than just being able to get over it,”  said one current junior (we’ll call him Mike in this story) who wishes to remain anonymous.

According to, in the years 2012-2013, 11.2% of all teenagers in Maine, were diagnosed with either Anxiety or depression, and 52% of the students diagnosed did not receive professional treatment.                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Mike has dealt with plenty of anxiety issues throughout his school life.

“6th grade went fine for me but 7th grade was where my anxiety started to show up. That was a very difficult period for me and it stunted my performances in school for a while, and I finished that year with pretty unspectacular grades.”                                                                                           

He said it was especially hard dealing with social anxiety because it is so important to be a well liked in middle school, and friendships are often directly linked to a student’s self confidence.                                                                                       

“I have always wanted to get good grades to get into a good college, and I wish I didn’t worry so much about being popular in school.” He said that one outlet he uses to cope with anxiety in high school  is being open with his friends. “I have a good amount of friends, and I’m close with them and tell them a lot about my struggles with anxiety.” A lot of kids who struggle don’t tell anyone, but Mike believes openness is key to coping.

He told his mom about his emotional struggles, and he is now in counselling. His advice to other teens is: “Don’t bottle it inside of you. You can’t make it better by yourself. If you tell someone or get professional help, you won’t feel so alone anymore.”                      

Jack is a Junior and also struggles with diagnosed depression. He has an extremely high IQ , and has done well in school throughout his life, and had a great freshman year that led to him making the honor roll.

“Over that summer leading up to my sophomore year everything changed. It’s not like anything super traumatic happened to me, I just began to feel lost. I was always down about myself, and I woke up every morning absolutely dreading the fact that I had to go to school.”

It was an incredibly scary and powerful shift and he said, [quote]“It sucks all the life out of you, to the point where you start wondering; What’s the point?”[/quote]

The November Issue of Time Magazine profiles three local teens who struggle with anxiety and depression. One, senior Phoebe Gariepy, told Time that one of the keys to coping for her has been “to avoid places online that glorify sadness and self-destructive acts.” She also uses yoga and dance as outlets to help center herself.

I was actually surprised that the story got published. I did the interview when I was a sophomore and was told it would take awhile to be published. After a year and a half I figured it was a no go, so to wake up one morning and be in time it was alittle shocking!
     I got some messages on Facebook from strangers who wanted to share with me what the story meant to them. It was a wonderful feeling to hear these people say that I made a difference in their life. I feel like I became a part of something bigger than just Phoebe Gariepy living in Arundel Maine. I felt interconnected with the globe!
      “I know that by sharing my story I have helped other people’s lives. Knowing that the pain I went through is actually useful and beneficial to others makes it all worth it. If anything Ive gone through can help others I will share until the day I die.
     Aside from helping others I think sharing my story and having it be heard has helped the healing process of it all. Even though this particular struggle happened a long time ago, sharing it has helped me to heal.”



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