January 29, 2014 Edition

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Speak out if you have depression

Alexis Baldwin
Guest Writer

Have you ever thought you had, think you have, or do you currently have depression? If so, you might have felt crazy, alone and scared, maybe even like you couldn't tell anyone because they may think you're crazy, faking it, or just "being a teenager."

Depression is one of the most looked down upon diseases in the nation. Some people think that it's just something you can get over or that it's used for attention.

Depression is actually a chemical imbalance in the brain. It's caused by the loss of serotonin. You wouldn't go up to someone who had cancer and say that it's their fault that they had cancer and to just get over it, would you?

The way society views depression is one of the main reasons teenagers are scared of speaking out about it. I know this personally because I too suffer from depression.

Being a teenager is hard already - you feel like you're getting judged for every step you take. It seems like, at least it did for me, that letting people know you have depression would be a disaster, giving other kids more ammo to bully you.

Depression is one of the leading causes of death because of suicide, and here in the past three years suicide and depression rates are increasing greatly. With teenagers being scared of speaking out about it, it's slowly going to keep increasing.

From my experience, speaking out about it is one of the best things I could've done. I've experienced the suicidal thoughts, the feelings of being alone, the exhaustion and everything else that comes along with this dreadful sickness, but one thing I've learned from it is you're never truly alone.

Speaking out may be hard at first, but once you do it you realize, hey, maybe for once in my life I will actually be OK. If you have any thoughts of suicide, or think you may have depression, I strongly encourage speaking out about it as soon as you get the feeling and before it gets too late.

(Alexis Baldwin is a member of Hoxie High School's chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and is competing in Advocacy in FCCLA Star Events. Her goal is to get more teens to reach out and get help for depression.)

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