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Depressing depression statistic!

  • Posted by Jemma Brown
  • 31 Jan 08, 6:44 PM

Having just read disability Bitch’s latest article, it has to be said I agree with her on her hatred for health related statistics.
Her article and I suggest you read it, focuses on the fact that there is now an average age for you to suffer with depression, it is 44. And that people usually start to feel better around the age of 51

Now for me this is incredibly shocking, I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 18 I’m now 19 the issue is obvious.

Are the statistics boffins out there telling me that I’m going to feel this S@%T for the next 32 years!

I seriously hope they are wrong.

Depression is depressing enough on its own without horrific statistics like this to kill of any hope of recovery that was dwindling inside.

I’m still at the stage with my own depression were I’m not sure I will ever feel the way I did a few years ago again, I’m not sure if I’m going to recover and if I do what will I become having experienced the dark that is depression.

I don’t know what is going to flick that switch inside my head and make it all better or indeed worse.

Today it has struck me for the first time that I am indeed a teenager a with a mental health problem, don’t get me wrong I am fully in touch with the fact that I have depression, I am not in denial and I am actively trying to ‘get better’ but it is today that I have connected the two things, the condition and my age.

I did this because recently for my communication study’s key skills I have been looking in to a number of articles focusing on disability and comparing them. While I was doing this I got thinking about mental health issues in the work place, and the ways in which employers are required to accommodate employees with mental health issues. Then I got thinking about my own situation, quite frankly my college are appalling when it comes to accommodating students with mental health problems, they have no policy or procedure in place to support such students and there is pretty much no help available with the exception of the odd study skills workshop, there is no flexibility over things like deadlines of assignments and students are left to cope pretty much alone.

The main point of this entire post is that young people with mental health conditions have it hard enough without statistics like this. Its hard enough to get a medical professional to take a teenager seriously and not fob them off with the ‘your just a teenager’ kind of response, some thing I experienced the first time I sought help for my depression, I was told to try and keep a regular sleeping pattern and to exercise but over all I was told that I was a teenager and that there was indeed nothing wrong with me, I am 100% positive that this diagnosis was made purely on my age at that point I was not quite 18 so was ignored.

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  • 1.
  • At 12:28 PM on 03 Feb 2008, Alice wrote:

I was diagnosed at 17 with depression and anxiety disorder, and I have evry sympathy - it is incredibly difficult to get some medical professionals (though no all) to take you seriously as a teenager, and accept there is something wrong beyond hormones. However, it does imrpove a bit as you get older - so hang in there! At 23 I also find the prospect of another 30 years before improving rather daunting, but everyone is different, and it really does depend how they derived the statistics - your twenties with depression needn't be that bad!

  • 2.
  • At 12:15 PM on 04 Feb 2008, Mijlet wrote:

I have to say I agree. I was diagnosed with depression in November, and they've literally done nothing since, apart from supposedly refer me to counselling, which isn't counselling, it's going to see a triage nurse twice a month. No-one seems to take it seriously, especially because I didn't make my first appointment because I was s**t scared. If I was 18, they'd have offered me anti-depressants first. Gah. I'm 18 in June. And if I've got to spend my twenties and thirties like this, I think I'll go crazy! I also agree with the school thing, there aren't ANY provisions here. I'm working on that, though. xxx :D

  • 3.
  • At 01:08 PM on 04 Feb 2008, Jay wrote:

I'm not happy to see that you are not getting any support at college. I work in an FE college and my role is specifically to support students with mental health difficulties. Not counselling (see have 2 counsellors on site), but practical stuff like liaising with tutors, negotiating deadlines, liaising with external agencies, exam concessions, etc. I've got to say that while statistics are often over simplistic and misleading, I tend to use them as ammunition when raising awareness and asking for resources. The fact that my post exists at all is a positive sign of things moving in the right direction and I think stats such as' 1 in 4' helped in determining the need for dedicated support. NIACE have got a very good national programme specifically set up to advise learning providers on mental health and learning. Maybe you could to speak to your Principal to see if they are a member?

  • 4.
  • At 12:51 PM on 06 Feb 2008, Kate wrote:

I was diagnosed with depression when I was 17, and I had more problems with the people around me than with the medical professionals. So many teenagers "get depressed" about things, that they don't see the distinction between that and actually suffering from medical depression. I lost a lot of friends at that point, because they just didn't understand. (Needless to say, this hardly helped things!) Be encouraged though, because everyone's depression is individual to them. There is no reason at all to assume you have another 30 years of depression before you. This kind of thing cannot be defined in any way by statistics, and that they try to do so is utterly ridiculous! I recovered for the main part when I was 19, but that's not to say everything has been plain sailing since. I'm 21 now and I still find myself with a few issues kicking around, but they are getting better little by little. Hang in there.

Frankly, the sweeping generalisations that constitute 'truths' about mental heatlh may be useful for professionals justifying their jobs but statistics on these only reflect whatever is the chosen 'buzz' theme of the time. I was hospitalised with depression when I was 17 and have battled on and off with it ever since. I'm now 41 - does that mean in 3 years I will hit my depth of depression and slowly recover over the following 7 years? Obviously, it is a lot of nonsense. The most important thing is to make sure you get help with your depression now and acquire some coping skills which will help you, not just with depression, but with all the c"*p life throws at you. Make sure you are taken seriously and for goodness sake ignore 'average ages' and any article which starts with'According to statistics' etc. This will help your mental health issues from going further downhill.

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