While this article and the page involved disturb me to no end, I’m no longer 14 and I’ve never been a girl. When I was this young lady’s age (and I’m still only 25 but a lot has changed) I had feelings of suicide, in fact from the age of about 4 or 5 I had thoughts of suicide and committed self harm. I didn’t cut in the traditional sense, but I punched walls, hit my head against walls, doors, anything I could find…fists, bats. I have obsessively cut my nails to the point of bleeding since I was about 9, and when that gave me away I started with my toes and feet…less noticeable. In college at the peak of my depression and isolation I started using my razors (I used safety razors like those used before the disposable, that use double edge blades) to cut my hands and fingers. This was instantly noticeable and I stopped very shortly after. Most of my depression and suicidal thoughts had to do with being physically, mentally, and eventually sexually bullied from the age of 6-17 by my male peers. I felt unwanted and hideous. Or stupid and worthless. I had that drilled into my head for so many years that I believed it…this is the only reason I didn’t ever continue with the razors or complete suicide. I didn’t because I was afraid of what would be said about me if I died. I would be bullied and ridiculed as a corpse. I did try pills once but that was more of a cry for help. I holed myself up in an apartment for about 9 months just waiting to die. I am now 3 years out of that worst time of my life, and I feel the worthlessness sometimes, but it has subsided. This is in thanks to therapy from the age of 3 that to this day is only starting to really crack the surface. Depression isn’t just “Feeling sad” and you can’t just “Get over it” it is a mental illness, it is as real as asthma or diabetes. You may grow out of it, or get treated for it for some time and be relatively healthy, but if you don’t take your meds, don’t take your “Insulin…your Inhaler” you will fall back into sickness. Many people will feel depressed from time to time. In fact humans have this feeling of sadness and depression just like every other animal…but it usually goes away. Some people really can get a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and feel better, and some of us take 22 years to crack the surface of why they have wanted to die since the time they were too young to cross the street on their own. Depression kills, and it’s not always fatal. It kills people from the inside, it kills childhood, it kills the fun and mystique of adolescence. It doesn’t always “get better” as is trendy to say, but eventually it get’s “less terrible”. I was brutally assaulted in high school once. Attacked by 8 classmates, prodded aggressively in the ass with phallic objects on a daily basis for an entire semester, ridiculed relentlessly, all of which was ignored by the teacher. It took getting into special ed to escape this treatment and having a state’s attorney file suit against the school’s administration. The world we live in doesn’t adhere to what we tell our kids. I told teachers, of course I did. All through my childhood I was given that crap. “You’ll grow up”…”It’ll be better”…”Tell your teacher/an adult/your coach/your minister” Well what happens if the teacher isn’t paid enough to give a shit? What if the adults are the ones calling you a faggot? What if your coach loves to demean you, and religious figures though often times very helpful ( my most trusted advocate was a nun) but may also be of no help. Our kids these days have the internet. They learn about sex, trends, music, and yes even depression and suicide from other kids and from hearsay. It is hard to get to these kids. I grew up in that little cusp between the old ways and the new. I was at the forefront of texting, chat-room flirting (remember “cybering?”) and AIM bullying. There are new terrors that we out of the loop don’t even know about. What is important is having safe spaces. If your kid…or you don’t like your/their therapist it is important to shop around. It won’t hurt their feelings. I have seen 12 therapists at least in my 22 years of therapy. I am on the 12th and he is great, but it took every one of those 22 years to find a good one. For others it doesn’t work that way, either they don’t ever see a good one or they don’t even get access to one. In other cases one can hit the jackpot. What is important about this rant is that open minds need to abound when it comes to depression, and for those who have not actually lived in the body of a depressed person there is no way to really know what they are feeling. Many people will never look “depressed” to you, it is a mechanism many use, to look happy. You tell us to “Smile more” you are adding to the depression, cheer up can mean “you are unpleasant” in the damaged mind of depression, and that is what it is. It is damaged. I have a damaged mind and I know it, I also know that It’s not broken. There are dents and spots of bondo but it still runs, and it will get bumped up again. And on one last note. The line between “Cry for help” and “attention seeking” is incredibly thin. Some people who are depressed and let everyone know about it…others are too far gone to even ask. Said “Cry” may come in the form of a whiny person, or destructive acts, other times it will come from someone briefly lucid and in need of help. In no case should it be construed as just attention seeking in a negative sense. There is no way to know for sure so never assume anything. Oh and on that note. Be nice to people. It can be hard and humans are mean sometimes, we get cross and we get snippy, but don’t let that affect the way you genuinely treat people on a personal level. Be nice to clerks, and wait-staff and people in general. You never know what they have gone through, and what your snippiness can do to drive them over the edge. This is a bigger challenge than one would think, but even having the presence of mind could help one person. And one person helped is one less harmed.