Depression can be one of the toughest mental illnesses to deal with for any person. Though coping with it doesn’t get any better with age, it is especially difficult for younger people like teenagers.
Parents often brush aside the possibility of their teens having depression as if they are simply feeling sad. In fact, for many people, depression is an illness that reoccurs throughout their lives.
Teen depression can be caused for a variety of reasons, and it may lead to many different consequences if left untreated.
So the focus of this article will be to understand how to discipline and how to react when a depressed teenager refuses help.
If you have a depressed teenager who refuses any help, or you are one, do give this a read.
Although mental health should never be taken lightly, it is also true that in today’s era of hyper-communication via social media, everyone is an advocate and expert on the topic.
Dialogue is good, but taking diagnosis into our own hands when we don’t qualify as medical professionals isn’t.
So the first step of disciplining a depressed teenager who refuses help is to have them diagnosed correctly by seeing a mental health professional.
This will also ensure gauging the extent of the depression a teen faces to avoid any dire outcomes such as suicide.
If you have doubts that your teen or a teen you may know has depression and refuses help, you can always keep an eye out for telling symptoms and other contributing factors.
You may notice that a teenager who has depression may appear to be more withdrawn than usual and will most likely keep more to themselves.
A very commonly observed symptom is the feeling of constant sadness for no apparent or obvious reasons.
According to WebMD, there are many symptoms that can be attributed to teen depression. A few of the most common ones are listed below:
- Teens may appear apathetic.
- They have trouble concentrating.
- They have trouble making any decisions.
- The idea of death may occupy their thoughts.
- They might start behaving as rebels.
- They exhibit sadness, anxiety, and hopelessness.
- They might become hypersexual.
- They start engaging in drugs and alcohol.
- They cry frequently.
- They become very sensitive.
Look at the family history
Depression is known to be passed on from one generation to the next and is, in fact, hereditary. Research shows that at least 40-50% of depression, especially clinical depression, is passed on via genetics.
The other half is shaped by other environmental factors.
So if you think you know a depressed teenager who refuses any form of help, you may want to look at their family history.
If the family has people who are diagnosed with depression, there is a solid chance that you might be right about your hunch.
In fact, if the teenager has a depressed mom, there is a heavy possibility that the children might carry that weight with them as well.
Teenagers are not adults, and they still need the love, attention, and care of their parents. If the parents are not doing well themselves, the children will be affected too.
Now we know that teens aren’t kids anymore, and they have their own private lives.
By monitoring their screen time, the intention isn’t to smother them or to invade privacy; rather, it is to make sure that they don’t let their phones take over their lives.
These days social media has become such an integral part of our daily lives, and youth especially can’t live without it.
Many teens even take to social media to build careers for themselves and those who don’t follow the ones that do.
Being at such an impressionable age when teenagers are still going through personality changes and development, it is very easy to succumb to the ills of social media.
Unrealistic beauty and body standards portrayed lead many young people to develop eating disorders and body dysmorphia, conditions which can lead to severe depression.
Many people also fall into a cesspool of inferiority complex by seeing the seemingly perfect world of the people they follow on social media. It serves as a constant reminder that they aren’t enough.
Cyberbullying is also a reality that many teens have to tackle. All of these things combined have a huge toll on mental health, so no wonder you are having a difficult time learning how to discipline a depressed teenager when they constantly refuse help.
If the teenager who seems to be depressed has moved in the immediate past to a new city or home, it could be a reasonable assumption.
Moving to a new place in your teenage years can be a traumatic experience for many, especially for those who used to love their life in the city they were used to living in.
In many cases, teens have to move due to a divorce settlement which uproots their entire fabric of reality.
Even if the move isn’t a result of a divorce, it can still be difficult to cope with. A new place seems entirely alien; no friends, no acquaintances, and no sense of belonging.
Shifting schools can be very difficult to do as well. This is also why a depressed teenager might be hesitant to even go to school after moving. The school makes them depressed because nothing is the same.
It is very difficult for teens to become a part of new social groups as outsiders.
If you know of a depressed teenager, you may notice that they sleep for excessive hours, more than what their body needs.
Sleep is an excellent avoidant strategy used by depressed people to escape the daunting reality. So a depressed teenager who is refusing help will turn to slumber every chance they get.
However, if you notice that your teenager is sleeping more during odd hours, it may not be an excess of sleep but might be the complete opposite.
Because the depressed teenager refuses help, internalizing all of the pain they feel can lead to their inability to sleep at night due to heightened anxiety.
Because they don’t get proper sleep, they often have trouble waking up on time, so you notice they sleep a lot during the day.
Now to you, it may seem like they are oversleeping when in fact, they are just compensating for the lack of sleep they got.
If you see that you don’t know how to discipline your depressed teenager who refuses your help every chance they get, try to take small steps.
Try to get them out of bed during the day if you notice that they have been cooped up inside for a couple of days.
The best way to make sure that the depression doesn’t worsen is to seek medical help immediately. Coax your teen into getting the help they need and assure them that you will be with them throughout the journey.
Try and get them to a doctor, but if they are not well enough to make the trip, call a professional home. There are many residential programs designed specifically for such patients who are unable to get out of bed.
Anyone who is not doing well mentally finds it hard to cope with work, let alone a teenager who is essentially an overgrown kid.
Disciplining depressed teenagers who refuse help for employment opportunities is not an easy task.
Honestly, maintaining a stable job for people who suffer from depression is also a very difficult task. Work activities as easy as typing up emails and coordinating with work peers seem to be daunting tasks.
This certainly doesn’t mean that depressed people cannot work. Work can also be a distraction if a good balance is created.
If you find it difficult to keep up with a demanding corporate or any other job, you should make some changes.
Work From Home
See if you can get to work from home for your job. Ever since Covid-19 hit the world, WFH has become quite the norm, with many companies continuing a hybrid mode for work.
Staying home will be in your comfort zone, all the while allowing you to fulfill your duties.
The best part of being a freelance worker is that no matter the type of service you offer, it is on your terms.
Take work on days you feel slightly up for it and rest on days you feel very down.
Freelancing work is a good way to discipline depressed teenagers when they refuse other help. It is a good way for them to find some much-needed balance.
Turn Your Passion Into Work
Often when work becomes more of a chore and not something that excites you, it will add to the depression.
If you have a passion, a hobby, or an idea that can be converted into a business, you should take the challenge to reignite your spark.
Be your own boss and create something of your own choosing to make work exciting. This way, you can discipline yourself as a depressed teenager who doesn’t want outside help.
Mental health has infiltrated modern pop culture at so many levels, especially in mainstream media and entertainment.
Although, as discussed above, it adds a lot of misguided information, including mental health into pop culture has importance as well.
Mental health is no longer treated with the same stigma that it used to be a few decades back. People acknowledge it and hence want to treat it.
Seeing mental health being normalized in mainstream media also serves as validation for people with issues like depression.
It makes disciplining a depressed teenager who avoids your help seem possible because they know they aren’t alone and others go through similar experiences.
When these experiences are displayed in movies that star their favorite celebrities, it gives hope to teenagers that it does get better and that they should not give up.
Although there are so many movies and tv shows out there that talk about depression, here are some really good flicks for you to try if you are a depressed teenager looking to discipline yourself without any help; it’ll make you feel less isolated.
Who knows, you might be motivated to go out and seek the help you deserve.
We would also urge people who don’t have depression or aren’t even teens to watch such films to better empathize with these experiences.
- All the bright places
- The perks of being a wallflower
- Little miss sunshine
- Girl interrupted
Not only are these films entertaining, but they also educate people in a great way to better understand how depression works.
Surely learning will put anyone in a better place to be able to discipline a depressed teenager who stubbornly refuses help.
Hopefully, if you have read this far, you are now a bit more aware of teenage depression.
If you are a depressed teenager refusing to get help, it is highly encouraged for you to change your mind because it can get better.
If nothing, we truly wish that this article made you feel a little less lonely in your reality. Depression is horrible, but it doesn’t have to be this way forever.
So many people, especially teens, get silenced by their feelings and emotions that they completely shut themselves off from the world.
If you are a depressed teenager or you happen to know one, we encourage you to come forward and share your stories. Your experience is important, and it deserves to be validated.
Moreover, if you have been able to get out of the depression slump, you are more than welcome to share tips and tricks that worked for you so that others in your position may find the same escape.