Friday, 10 June 2011
Yesterday I spoke to an audience of mostly underclassmen at Woburn Memorial High School, and was greeted by group of summer-bound teenagers, most of whom entered the gym listening to ipods or chatting with friends. I could tell it was the end of the school year, but I hoped to hold their attention for twenty minutes or so, just to share with them a few basic points about my struggles with depression. (photo, l-r: Loren Baccari, School Adjustment Counselor; Olivia, volunteer; Emma, volunteer)
I touched on problems I’d had with restrictive eating in an utterly unsuccessful attempt to numb the intense emotional pain I was feeling early in high school, and on an anger-management issue that I developed and conquered more recently. I also explained two things that have helped me a lot in dealing with and overcoming major depression: connecting socially with others, and running. This was my first opportunity to speak to other kids about my experiences, and, though most of them were reluctant to ask questions, it was evident that many were really listening.
I hope (and believe) that my short yet personal presentation will help at least one person in the audience - either by driving them to seek help for themselves or someone else, by making them rethink any potentially harmful decisions, or by simply making them realize the severity and depth of mental illnesses. I am very grateful to Families for Depression Awareness for giving me the opportunity to speak to other young people, and I admire all of the great work they do.
--Emma, Families for Depression Awareness Teen Speaker