I know this is simply too easy…to suggest that we should live by the wisdom shared by the genius minds of yesterday. But it is tempting, isn’t it, to think that, all we need to do is to listen to the words of those who experienced controversy, who suffered at the hands of the immoral…those who seem to have the secret to survival of life in general.
Andrew Martin from Collective Evolution talks about the world as it is today…filled with war, famine, injustice, death and destruction…. He says, and I quote: “It seems strange when we have access to so much knowledge and collective wisdom that there continues to be such suffering conflict and ignorance.” [Source: Collective Evolution]
Click here to see all ten quotes.
The subject of childhood stress and depression seems to surround me this week. Everywhere I turn on the web and in the newspapers, someone somewhere mentions it in one way or another. It is obvious that we are all very concerned for our children.
With the memory of the 14-year old who committed suicide earlier this week still fresh in our minds, I would like to continue my discussion on depression, stress and its symptoms. In my opinion one cannot be over-informed on this subject. Our children are precious and they have the right to grow up healthy and successful, without the added emotional baggage that goes with depression, stress and anxiety. It is important that we teach our children how to deal with their issues early on. As parents it is our responsibility to give them the necessary tools to deal with stressors so that they can become adept at using their skills to combat any emotional strain in future. One cannot avoid stress in our day and age, but one can learn to deal with it in a healthy, non-destructive way.
We, as parents are not only here to feed and clothe our kids, or give them a home and pay for schooling, we need to prepare them to become adults in an unforgiving world and, in the process, we may learn valuable lessons of our own.
Elizabeth Renter recently published an article in Fox News about teenage stress. The article gives insight into normal levels of teen stress and provides a list of tell-tale signs and symptoms that could indicate that the teen is overwhelmed. While teenagers, in general, have a certain amount of stress in their lives, and while some stress can even be beneficial, parents need to be prepared to confront issues if their child presents with these symptoms that show he or she is under abnormal amounts of stress. DO NOT HESITATE TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM.
[Click here to read the full article.]
The American psychological Association conducted a survey in 2013 and found that teens report unhealthy stress levels that exceed those of adults. 31% of teens reported feeling overwhelmed by stress and 30% said stressors were the cause of their sadness and/or depression. [Source: FoxNews].
WHAT SHOULD PARENTS WATCH OUT FOR?
* Changes in eating and sleeping habits
* Overwhelming worries about things that are beyond their control (like global events, being ‘’perfect’’, etc)
* Fear of humiliation when doing everyday tasks (eating in front of others or saying the wrong things)
* Recurring and intrusive thoughts they cannot seem to control (fear of germs, paranoia, e.g. someone is out to ‘get’ them)
* Refusal to be away from parents or refusing to go to school
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR TEEN?
* Listen to what they say – do not interrupt them
* Provide thoughtful responses
* Do not over-react; keep calm
Renter closes the article with the following statement: “By talking to your child, keeping a close eye on her behaviors, modeling positive stress management techniques and not being afraid to reach out for help, you’re most likely to set your teen up for success.” [Source: Fox News]
This article contains added links and has more valuable information about teen stress and depression, please do yourself and your child a favor, click here, and read it in full.
Yesterday an article in one of our local South Afican papers, Maroela Media, shocked the country. A beautiful, talented 14-year old girl jumped to her death from the second storey of a popular mall in Northern Johannesburg. Her parents were caring and considerate, they knew about her worries and she was receiving treatment, yet she still felt it was necessary to take her own life. I cannot imagine the pain those parents are going through….to think that, despite their efforts, their child was still silently suffering.
Recently I heard someone say that for every statistic, be it murder, suicide or death by natural causes, a family is torn apart by grief. One should never lose sight of that….death causes pain, but imagine the guilt and confusion when someone commits suicide, when someone suffers from depression, yet hide it so effectively that none is the wiser.
Depression is a disease of our times; everyone suffers under the stress and strain, not to mention the trauma, of daily life. Children in pre-school are already pressured into performance, they are measured by a certain yard-stick, they are boxed and packaged and, if they do not fit, they are bullied, scolded and isolated from the ”group”. That is only the beginning….and only at school. Have you noticed how many children in school come from broken homes? Single-parent homes? Children torn in a battle between Mom and Dad, children shunted from one home to another, children with alcoholic parents, children with deceased parents, abandoned children….the list goes on and on and, in the meantime, the pressure builds.
In adolescence it only grows….trying to fit in with the crowd, battling to make your grades, please your parents, please your teachers, perform well in extra-curricular activities…and, of course, the old teenage-angst…the hormones going every which way, the love triangles, etc, etc.
Adulthood brings more responsibility, more stress – money problems, relationship problems, being pressured into having a successful career, being the best mother/father/spouse, competing on a social level with the in-crowd….it simply never stops. And I am not even talking about the conflict we are bombarded with every day in the media…it seems that the whole world is a confusion of death, war, famine, disease, natural disasters…life is truly overwhelming and many people, adults and children, may feel they are not merely living anymore, they are simply surviving.
Therefore it is no wonder that, when I Googled ”depression, statistics” I immediately got a startling result. Have a look:
[Statistics and information via DoSomething.org]
- 1 in 4 young adults will suffer an episode of depression before age 24.
- More than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression globally.
- The WHO estimates that depression will be the 2nd highest medical cause of disability by the year 2030, 2nd only to HIV/AIDS.
Keeping in mind the connection between depression and suicide, I continued and had a look at the statistics for global incidents of suicide.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29
- Over one million people die by suicide worldwide each year
- The global suicide rate is 16 per 100.000 population.
- On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world.
- 1.8% of worldwide deaths are suicides
- In the past 45 years, global suicide rates have increased with 60%
This is indeed frightening, isn’t it? To think that people we see everyday, those that we pass on the street, family, friends, may hide this dark secret, this terrible pain…and when they take the final step, we wonder how we could have missed the signs. What could we have done to prevent it?
Dr Shekhar Saxena, director of the department of mental health and substance abuse at the WHO said: ”Suicidal tendencies are transitory. People who have an intense desire to commit suicide grab the nearest possible means. If you can restrict their access, even for a few hours, you can save a lot of lives. People think about it and talk to people and decide not to do it.” [Via The Guardian UK.]
The question remains: How do we prevent suicide? Depression lies at the root of suicidal tendencies and if we are well versed in the typical symptoms of depression, we may be able to save a life.
[Information via PsychCentral.com]
Typical symptoms of clinical depression:
- Constant depressed mood – feelings of sadness and emptiness. People may appear tearful, morose or irritable.
- Diminished interest in activities that previously brought pleasure. Person may seem brooding and isolated.
- Significant weight loss or weight gain or decrease or increase of appetite.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia.
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation.
- Constant fatigue or loss of energy
- Constant feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
- Inability to concentrate or to think clearly. Person seems indecisive.
- Recurrent thoughts of death or recurrent suicidal ideation or suicide attempt. [More details on symptoms can be found here.]
If you think someone you know may be in danger, please do not hesitate to confront them directly. Sometimes all these people need is just someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on…a friend that will understand.
The infograph below, compiled by Lifehack.com, will provide more information about the nature of depression. Understanding the disease is the first step in conquering it and, perhaps, saving a precious life.
‘When a patient comes to me requesting a Reiki treatment, I know they’re ready to release old energy, patterns, and/or beliefs that no longer serve them. They may be fully aware of this, or just know on a subconscious level that whatever they’ve been doing has not been working. The idea of experiencing a Reiki session to balance their chakras seems to just feel right.
‘Reiki helps us reconnect with our heart, our true center, realigning us with our Higher Self.
‘During a Reiki session, you’ll feel calmer, and be able to take full, deep and easy breaths. Your muscles start to release tension, your heart rate will become moderate and adrenals will be put at ease. There’s a deep sense that everything will be OK, despite all of your struggles...’Continue reading here.
”Almost nowhere is the mind-body connection more apparent than in the link between depression and heart attack.
Mental health and heart health are intimately connected when it comes to your heart. Heart disease is consistently the No.1 killer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Each year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. And 190,000 of these are repeat heart attacks. Those who have heart attacks are more likely to become depressed, and people with depression have higher rates of heart attacks…………..” Continue reading here.