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  • Photography

    Surviving Grief as a Teen

    Surviving Grief as a Teen

    The Holmes-Rahe Inventory, a world-renowned tool that documents life’s most stressful events, lists the death of someone close to you as one of the Top 5 most difficult life events. If you lose a parent, it can be particularly tough because your main support system may be lost as well. Recent studies have shown that when a parent dies suddenly, most teens experience grief that subsides over time. However, some teens find it difficult to survive the loss and may experience an increased risk of depression or inability to function normally.

    Why is getting help important?
    If you have very persistent grief, it is important to seek professional help. As mentioned above, strong grief can lead to psychiatric problems. Researchers warn that after two to nine months, if intense grief continues, it is a sign that a teen is not surviving grief well. The findings are also a wake-up call to the importance of preventing severe grief from taking over a teen. Even though grief can make us feel powerless, this time is also one in which we are often required to remain strong or think clearly. You may notice your surviving parent making financial arrangements or discussing changes for the family, which may include downsizing your home, changing your residence, etc. During this time, your input counts so the more mentally clear and strong you are, the better you can express yourself and handle the changes that the loss of a loved one may bring to your family.

    The right of teens to grieve
    Receiving help does not mean eradicating your right to grieve. The Mourner’s Bill of Rights for Children and Teens, created by The Bereavement Team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Notes that youths have fundamental grieving rights that should be respected by others. These include: the right to be sad and cry even if other people think you shouldn’t; the right to make some decisions for yourself; the right to be angry because of the death of a loved one; the right to ask for help from teachers, friends, or other adults; and the right to be a teacher. If you feel like living, laughing, or playing, do so. You are only a teen once and you should take advantage of the beautiful moments of inspiration you may have during this tough time.

    Understanding that grief involves different stages
    Grief can be complicated because you may feel so differently from one day to the next. You may start to feel stronger, only to feel totally down in the dumps the following day. Try and do a little reading, in particular into the work of Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, one of the most famous thinkers and writers on the subject of grief. Kübler-Ross said that there were five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Her research showed her that human beings do not necessarily go through these stages chronologically. Sometimes, we can spend a long time in one stage then go through others quickly, or go back, for instance, to feeling depressed after we have already felt acceptance. It is important for teen girls to understand that all these emotions are normal.

    Lowering your stress
    To enable you to withstand grief, try to instill as calm a state of mind as possible by adopting stress busting methods such as meditation, yoga, or even breathing. Studies have shown that these holistic practices can help teens with anxiety and depression. Research has also shown that social support is very important. In addition to finding support from friends and family, try to take part in community activities – anything from sports to worship. These activities will open your circles and help you feel less alone when the pain feels like more than you can handle.

    The loss of a loved one can make you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under your feet. As a teen, you are at a crossroads in life in which parents in particular play such an important role, though the loss of a sibling, grandparent, or good friend can be devastating as well. Realize that grief is a cyclical thing, get help if you need it, and rely on other loved ones to help you feel like you aren’t alone at one of the toughest times in life.

  • Health

    How to Handle Seasonal Depression

    How to Handle Seasonal Depression

    As my freshmen year of college was coming to an end, and my summer of returning back to my hometown was there in front of my face, I felt an immediate shift of sadness for the things that were to come of my life. I felt that I had made so many great strides in self discovery, while away from home. I had felt that all of the self reflection wouldn’t be worth living up to because of how trapped and isolated I was post the first college experience that I had been given. On the ride back home, I thought of all of my friends that I would miss and the experiences that I would miss out on simply because of distance. I was stricken with grief and longing for how my life had been on my own.

    That same summer I had dealt with serious bouts of anxiety that put me in the hospital. I could not stop overthinking. I could not stop thinking less of myself, or stop myself from being high strung on the things that weren’t even real. However, after a visit with my doctor where I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder, I decided to take my depression and anxiety into my own hands.

    In order to prevent the constant, never ending thought cycle I started to read books and allow my imagination to wander through that realm instead of focusing on things that I could not control. Books gave me the opportunity and outlet to feel free again. I liked that words created that type of safe space for me in order to express myself in the way that I wanted to do it.

    Music was another aspect of my life that gifted me with the outlet to allow myself to be as imaginative and free spirited as I wanted to be. On my favorite episode of Steven Universe, Garnet and Connie perform a song called “Mindful Education” that touches on surrendering to our fears. Also, in a way to deal with my environment, it was the only thing that created a sense of healthy boundaries.

    Whenever I feel my seasonal depression approaching, I make sure to pay close attention to my immune system since it is closely associated to our emotions. Nutrition is an important part of who we are and not many people know or understand that. According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, “individuals experiencing depression are also not necessarily getting the carbohydrates, proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that they need.” Before anything else, make sure to include a balanced meal in order to take on the day and be the best person that you know that you can be for yourself.

    Tackling depression is an ongoing cycle and something that we all have to experience one way or the other. An important part of my growth and development in this area was understanding that I was not alone. And in order to feel like I was not allow, I needed to take proper steps to make sure that I was taking care of myself in the way that I needed to be doing.

  • Articles

    What is Depression?

    What is Depression?

    Depression is categorized as a mood disorder. In some cases, it can cause teenagers to have suicidal thoughts. What’s even sadder is that it is the third leading cause, in terms of deaths, amongst teenagers as well. And to make things even worse, there is a lot of stigmas surrounding the idea that young kids simply do not experience these types of emotions or feelings (which is far from the truth). According to, the average onset of depression is 14 years old and 80 percent of teens do not receive help regarding this issue either. This is mainly due to the various ways in which depressive symptoms tend to show up.

    If depressive symptoms last for at least two weeks or more, then the signs you are seeing could be parallel to something that is not just regular teenage moodiness. Loss of energy, changes in appetite, fluctuating weight, frequent complaints about headaches or any physical pain, or a sudden change in grades are a few things to pay attention to when things do not feel right inside of you. According to, mood and pain share the same pathways in the brain and they are regulated by the same brain chemicals (serotonin and norepinephrine). It can also make people oversleep, hypersomnia, and often times it causes them to have trouble falling back asleep. It is important to find healthy outlets to channel the transitions that you may be experiencing in life or the complex emotions that you may feel as you are growing up. Grounding yourself is important especially since depression is a worldwide issue and is even more common in families since it is a biological condition.

    Medication can be used to treat this mental disorder and often times, cognitive therapy can aid in making healthy choices and decisions. Exercise coupled with sunshine can help you recharge your energy and ground you. Practice healthy communication and always remind yourself that this something that you are not alone on and that everyone, at some point in time, experiences thoughts and emotions that causes them to be sad. Psychotherapy is a good practice of mindfulness to take up since it could have more long lasting positive effects rather than medication that could cause some negative side effects. Focus on creating positive affirmations and thoughts on yourself because sometimes depression makes us feel less than what we are. If you have any friends that are experiencing these types of feelings or you are concerned about, make yourself available and know that you cannot change them and that this is something that they also have to work on inside of themselves. Again, depression is often a complex and misunderstood mental illness so it operates from numerous planes.

    Embrace that being young brings about a lot of changes both physically and mentally. This is a time of pure growth. Explore all of your emotions and do not let anyone hold you back from that. Work on healing and strengthening these quarks and remember that if something does not feel right inside of you, reach out to people that care about you. You do not have to suffer in silence.

  • Articles

    What are the Different Types of Depression?

    What are the Different Types of Depression?

    Depression can come in a variety of ways. It is not a binary mental disorder. The condition has many faces and many avenues that it can cross that plays into its complexities. In the same respect that symptoms can vary among different people, there are different types of diagnoses as well. Sadness is something that we all feel and know, but depression is a completely different ballpark. However, no matter the severity of the condition, there is a treatment for it. Below are a few common versions of it, along with a few traits that are carried along with it: According to, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the most common variant of depression. You often feel and see symptoms of extreme sadness, feeling guilt for no reason, changes in eating habits, and tends to recur throughout the entirety of a person’s life. Dysthymia, which is another type of depression that causes a low mood that lasts for over a year. On the bright side of the spectrum, around 80 to 90 percent of patients respond well to the antidepressants offered to them by their doctor. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is coupled with anxiety, an increase in irritability, fatigue during the sunlight hours, and weight gain. This most often occurs when the weather changes from warm to cold. This is mostly due to the lack of sunlight. Symptoms for this type of disorder can be mild but have been severe in some cases. SAD usually lifts during the springtime and can be cured with artificial light therapy. Psychotic depression, which is a mental state coupled with disorganized thoughts, behaviors, irregular thought patterns, false sights or sounds, hallucinations, etc. Sometimes it is hard for people in these positions to even leave their beds. Treatment for this includes: antidepressants and anti psychotic medication. Taking both of these together has more of a useful effect than taking them individually. Because there are so many variations of depression, it is important to be diagnosed by a mental health professional. In the meantime, focus on grounding yourself and try to identify the negativity that is overtaking you and reflect on it, in order to move forward in your life. With this idea of reframing the way one may look at their depression, and educating themselves on the different types of depression, someone could recover from the warped perception of themselves that they may have and work on gaping the bridge between their successes and failures. Focus on activities that you may enjoy and base your outlook on taking care of yourself because self care is an important and imperative part of being a human being. Reward yourself for the efforts that you take to make sure you are okay and if something seems too difficult to break down, then break it down in order to make it easier for you. Remember that this life is what you make it, essentially, and that everything will work out for the greater benefit of you.

  • Depression

    My Story On Living With Anxiety and Depression

    My Story On Living With Anxiety and Depression

    Living with anxiety and depression is exhausting. You swerve between being unable to sleep because you fear everyone you love is going to die, to feeling absolutely nothing when someone actually ends up in the hospital. You spend hours fighting the thoughts in your head that tell you that people would be better off without you. You can’t stop clenching your fist to stop your hand from shaking, as your heartbeat paces uncontrollably. Depression and anxiety can take up so much of your headspace, that you can no longer keep up with day-to-day activities, like eating nutritious meals, maintaining a work schedule, or sometimes even being able to get out of bed. The worst part is, you may dismiss your feelings as unimportant: but this dismissal is as much a symptom of needing to consult with a mental health professional.


    When I was dealing with anxiety and depression, I was scared that I would have to rely on medicines forever. My doctorwas quick to assure me that mental health recovery, like all disease management, was not that unmanageable. He told me that while counselling and (when needed) medication were primary to recovery, there were small lifestyle changes I could make to ease out, quicken and sustain the recovery process. Just hearing this reminded me that I had control over my life. It made me feel less anxious and more hopeful. If you are living with anxiety and depression; besides getting trained help, here are some small lifestyle changes I made that can be beneficial for you too:



    When I began experiencing the symptoms of depression, I was in college. Living away from the home for the first time gave me the independence to eat and drink what I want. I ended up drinking alcohol and eating junk food a lot, due to stress and the party culture in colleges. This took an instant toll on my mental health because I would feel guilty and hateful towards myself the whole week. So the first lifestyle change I made was in my diet.

     My doctor suggested to have healthy foodsand to incorporate vitamins in my diet, especially Vitamin C and Vitamin E into my food as studieshad found Vitamin C and E can help reverse the neurochemical imbalances that cause anxiety.

     I added fruits containing Vitamin Clike guavas, blackcurrants, and peppers, and Vitamin E-rich food like almonds and kiwis to my meals. Not only did I feel mentally and physically better, I even felt I had regained control over my diet and body.



    I was an ardent swimmer when I was younger, but I had stopped swimming as I grew up. During a depressive spell, I had beaten myself up this and felt as though could never return to being a good swimmer. My psychologist alleviate my fears and told me to simply plunge into the pool and keep at it for a week. At the end of the end of the week, not only was I feeling happier because I had conquered my irrational fears; the exercise also boosted my endorphins, which made me feel happier. While researching, I also found that another factor could have helped me feel better: the sun. I found out that Vitamin D deficiency can cause depressive feelings, and eating foods rich in Vitamin D and exercising in the open can be the best way to lap up this vitamin.



    Dealing with anxiety can be debilitating because your irrational thoughts often conquer you. If my parents wouldn’t pick up the phone, I would keep ringing them till they did, because I irrational thought the worst had happened. My friend (who was also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder) would lose sleep if her desk was not arranged in a certain way. We both found that a few perspective changes would actually help stop these thoughts. If I felt as though I couldn’t stop thinking about my loved ones dying, I would force myself to focus on my sensory abilities. Sometimes, I slowly chewed a raisin and tried to mentally describe its texture, taste and shape. Other times, I would walk on wet grass and focus on its sensations on my feet. This usually distracted me from my thoughts and curb their power over me. If this did not work, I would write down whatever I was fearing, and tear up the sheet. This helped me feel unburdened. 



    However, when my anxiety or depression really acted up, I resorted to a few supplements besides my standard medication. As these supplements were primarily plant-based, they had no side effects and did not cause any issues. I tried fish oil supplements, filled with healthy Omega-3 acids, which has been foundto help counter the effects of depression. I also took CBD Oil for anxiety, as it helped me de-stress and relax. I also added saffron to my tea. Not only did it add a wonderful flavour, but it helped in healing my depression.


    Now that I have recovered, and my mental health is much better, I find, that in fact, it is these small lifestyle changes that helped me get healthy quickly. It is by incorporating these changes that I can now sustain my mental health and live happily and healthily.