“When you’re depressed, you don’t control your thoughts, your thoughts control you. I wish people understood that” – Sherry Amatenstein, Pyscom

Depression and anxiety are harmful to people and their mental health. It causes people to negatively overanalyze their own behaviors and is a threat to their emotional well-being. Stress is often brought on by the expectations of parents, other people, social media, or from difficult events happening in young people’s lives.

Social media is one of the leading causes of depression and anxiety because of the pressures to get likes or followers. As well, the ability to post anonymously on the internet has resulted in toxic comments that affect the mental health of even the most confident people.

“You cannot do life differently if you don’t change your thought process.”

– Arti Patel

In a 2019 social media depression study, much of the evidence points towards people experiencing depression, sleeping problems, and memory loss. More than 6,000 individuals from ages 10 – 18 years experienced cyber-bullying online that impacted their mental health, according to a survey.

In an October 26, 2021, article by Sky News reporter, Alexa Philips, wrote about a young lady by the name of Zoe Watts who claimed her own life when she was nineteen years old because of her obsession with social media. She joined a toxic online group of girls and had anorexia, an eating disorder that was encouraged and worsened by her time spent on by social media.

Her father, Keith Watts, is one of the people who support the Online Safety Bill, which requires online platforms to manage harmful content on their platform, and if not, then the online platform may be blocked, according to Sky News.

Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen told British MPs on October 25, 2021, that the Facebook company was “negligent” and “unable to acknowledge its own power.” She went on to describe how Instagram is “more” dangerous than other forms of social media because of its focus on “social comparison” and “bodies” which makes it the most harmful platform for teenagers to use.

The Facebook whistleblower also describes that there are at least 100,000 “manually driven fake accounts” on Facebook when she left the company in May and many children get money in exchange for using a fake Facebook account so many will think that a real person is behind the account.

Depression is not about being sad, but about not wanting to, or not being able to do the things a person used to do. Being depressed is like being weighed down by an invisible force and feeling worthless. In an article by the World Health Organization (WHO), about 700 000 people throughout the whole world die due to suicide every year and is the fourth leading cause of death in teenagers and adults within the ages of 15-29 years. Once someone is in the spiral of depression, which is very similar to addiction, it is very hard to climb out of the hole without help.

Another aspect of depression is that a person does not trust their own judgment; they continually second guess all their behaviors, and the motivations of others, resulting in conflict, guilt, and regret.

Linda Esposito, a psychotherapist, encourages people to not be overly obsessed with the past and focus on the future. “Time spent reliving, rewriting and recreating the past is like purchasing a one-way ticket to the dark depths of despair.” A person going through depression will need to stop thinking about the past and focus more on the future since the past cannot change.

Negative self-talk can lead to depression. Most of the inner dialogue people with depression think of are the bad topics, such as, “What do they think of me?” or “Am I good enough?”

Arti Patel, from a Global news article, emphasizes the power of a mindset.“You cannot do life differently if you don’t change your thought process.” If a person does not change their way of thinking or outlook, then their life will not change, and they will continue to feel depressed.

As Dr. Jane Framingham notes in an article for PsychCentral on the Global News article by Arti Patel, overcoming depression takes time and patience. Teenagers can get help from a psychotherapist and talk to them about their problems, which will help them conquer their depression, although the process won’t be instant. Psychotherapy is great for people dealing with depression and poor mental health because psychotherapists can provide them with support and methods to improve their mental health.

An article on The Talkspace Voice blog by Elizabeth Su, who was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, said that most people with mental health feel better after seeing a psychotherapist after about three months, and some patients need 15- 20 sessions to feel the improvement.

Depression and anxiety are big problems for teenagers around the world. As life goes on, a person’s mental health will go through highs and lows, especially during upheavals, such as the pandemic, but if one seeks help and receives support from others, they might be able to overcome depression and anxiety.

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