"On this date (insert one you'll soon never forget), student X (insert a teen you never suspected) committed suicide."
-A news station that never even knew this person personally
I could have googled an inspiring quote to start off my article. In fact, I think many people would have preferred it that way. But the harsh reality is that teens are dying. Cause of death: Depression.
In a report on a suicide victim, from Blue Springs, Missouri, on April 7th, 2016, mother of sixteen-year-old Sara Prideaux, speaks out about not seeing the warning signs of depression. Her daughter was a star student with a bright future who laughed a lot and enjoyed being around friends. Never would she have thought that her daughter would take her own life.
I, myself, have suffered from depression. All throughout high school, I was severely depressed. Period. However, anyone that knows me would call me a liar. Even at that time, I called myself a liar. I had great grades and I was involved in a number of activities. It could not be me, the girl with the bubbly personality, and the bright smile. And this is the problem. Often more times than not, depression is one of the hardest illnesses to detect. Parents think their teen is just "going through a phase" or fail to accept the reality that something may be troubled in an area other than behavior or never get the chance to realize the presence of the fatal illness before it's too late.
The first problem is the hiding. In high school, I overloaded as a way to conceal the tragedy and the stress. And it worked. Much like the case of Sara Prideaux and many others, no one knew I was depressed, I kept myself busy and best of all, I could keep lying to myself about the state of my heart. I had to address the lies I told myself such as "it's okay" and "I can take on another thing." And when I told my mother, she had to overcome the lies that said "my daughter is abnormal" or " I'm a bad parent." The best thing to do about this disease is to confront it head on. No more hiding.
We need more support. I felt like dying and no one knew. To look at me, no one would have ever known. To talk to me, the problem would never have surfaced and so many people will read this and say "Well why didn't you tell me?" or "I would have been there for you." However, there is a fear in telling people the dark thoughts that accompany depression. What will people say about me? How will they react knowing I've contemplated ending my life? No one will ever know the amount of courage it takes to confide in someone. As a community, we need to make it more acceptable to discuss and act on helping people who may not understand what is going on in their own head.
The story needs to change. We are hearing this story and seeing this headline too much. Depression has claimed too many lives and the numbers continue to escalate. For people like me, spotting depression can be difficult. However, few people invest the time to investigate just an "okay". The best thing we can do is talk more. Sometimes, it doesn't take much to potentially save someone's life. And I am guilty of this myself. I could stop for one second out of my day to think of someone else. I could suggest to someone to get help rather than ignoring the signs. I could claim back a victim of depression with one simple acknowledgment.
"Even the darkest nights will end and the sun will rise" -Les Miserables. Fortunately, I never needed a headline. I got help. I spoke with my school counselor and with the support of my mother and friends sought treatment for my depression. I also turned to my God, who is always here for me because this is a spiritual war. I have seen the way darkness descends and I can confidently say that today I dwell in light. So understand that depression can be a lonely disease but you never have to face it alone. If you're facing depression, talk to someone, talk to God. Don't just be another headline victim.
Tamera Renee Adams
Below are some links for help with depression/suicide. If you feel you need help or know someone that needs help, please take that step:
For more information on the Blue Springs Suicides: