Sunday, January 21 , 2018, 9:54 am | Fair 50º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Dealing with Depression, Busybodies, Feeling Anxious

Question from Danielle

Um, I am really depressed all the time, but I pretend to be happy because if my loved ones knew they would be sad. Is what I’m doing a bad thing?

Weezy

We would not want to place “good” or “bad” qualifiers on what you are doing. A better barometer would be wise or unwise.

You are being unwise and I will tell you why. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. If you had a broken arm you would not hesitate to run to a parent. You would not stop to wonder if your broken arm would make them sad. It’s an emergency and you get it handled. You are not qualified to heal a broken arm so you ask for help.

Your parents cannot help you with your mental health while you are masking your pain. One day you may have a child of your own and you will want to know whether or not she is happy.

If you are frightened about what will happen when you tell your parents that you feel depressed then click here for help. Talk to someone.

There is a wide array of help out there for you. You just have to reach out and let someone know that you need it.

(AsapSCIENCE video)

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Question from Kelsey

Why do people concern themselves with your life if they don’t have good intentions?

Weezy

For a wide range of reasons. The root cause for this sort of behavior is probably fear and insecurity. People, especially young people, will often find fault with others and attack before anyone can notice their own flaws and hurt them.

Your best recourse is to stay classy. By this I mean, do not return blows. Do not call anyone a name. Do not attack someone's character. Do not dish insults or bad talk someone behind her back.

Instead say, say, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or “I’m not sure this really concerns you,” or “I think I need to handle this on my own.” That sort of thing will work well. You can then move on from that person and work toward avoiding this type of individual moving forward.

The older we grow, the more capable we are of filtering out negative personalities and inviting only those who exhibit mostly kindness and respect into our lives.

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Question from Samantha

OK, so I’ve been talking to this guy called Lou for like a month and a half. It’s my first actual relationship. We’ve kissed four times and I don’t know if that’s relevant or not, but last night we were hanging out with our group of friends and we ended up driving to a park to roll down the hills. (We’re 5 years old at heart.)

For some reason, I got really upset and I went back to the car with my best friend. Lou came over and told me he had plans for the two of us later. I was just kind of rude to him and sitting in the car. I thought I was having an anxiety attack so I asked my friend to take me home, and the car ride was awkward and weird. I was on the verge of tears and if I had tried to talk I would have just started crying.

So as soon as I got into my house I broke down and cried myself to sleep. I woke up this morning with a feeling like I don’t know how I really feel about Lou. I don’t know if I can do something like be in a relationship. I don’t like changing because of people and I don’t like being tied down or restricted. I don’t know.

I’ve never had this problem before because I’ve never cared enough to get into a relationship. I know this kid likes me a lot, probably more than I like him, and I don’t want to do anything to hurt him. He’s really a good guy.

I just don’t know if I just want to be friends or really I don’t know what I want at all. I just don’t know what I feel or what’s going on — haha. This might make literally no sense but I’m really desperate.

Weezy

This makes a lot of sense to me. It sounds like the anxiety attack was triggered by you feeling perhaps emotionally trapped by your boyfriend’s expectations. You are not as into this as he is and you are now the person who could potentially break his heart.

So this was sort of your mind screaming at your body, “I WANT OUT!” You are a warm and compassionate person but you do not yet possess the life skills necessary to understand exactly what you need to do next.

My advice is that you tell this boy that things are moving a bit too fast for you. You are not sure if you are ready to commit yourself to a relationship and you would like to take a break. The reason I am not recommending a complete breakup is that you may just be freaking out about the speed at which this is traveling and the depth of this kid’s feelings for you. If you can pump the brakes you may actually find that you miss him.

Any healthy relationship will not only allow you to remain completely yourself, it will also encourage, enhance and celebrate the true you. You may instinctively feel that you don’t yet know yourself well enough for that to happen while you have a boyfriend. A lot of young people begin dating too soon and surrender their true selves to the relationship. It is perfectly OK that you are not ready or willing to do that.

Always listen to your mind and your body. They are experts on the subject of you. If you feel that you were having an actual panic attack then you should tell your parents. There is a lot of help out there for you.

If your sudden mood swing was more situational, then address the situation. Did you feel trapped? Release the spring. Talk to the boy and tell him what you need and what will work for you.

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Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She also hosts a weekly video podcast called Things I Found Online, and teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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