The first time Jaymin-Lee Mareikura contemplated suicide, he was a freshman in high school. This was a manifestation of his depression. Studies have proven that depression in adolescents has increased drastically since 2012 after several years of stability.
According to “Family Health Magazine”, it’s not unusual for adolescents to experience “the blues”, or “feel down” every now and then. The stage of life they’re in tends to be an unsettling time as they experience a wide range of many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes.
Experts from “Harvard Health Publications” say that unrealistic academic, social, or family expectations can create a strong sense of reaction and can often lead to deep disappointment.
In continuation with the “Harvard Health Publications”, experts have noticed that when things go wrong at school or at home, teens tend to overreact. Many young people feel that life is not fair and that things “never go their way”.
Depression is a real and serious issue. If left untreated, depression can worsen and get to the point of becoming life-threatening, according to the National Institute of Health.
A study of national trends published in the academic journal “Pediatrics” in November 2016 found that the prevalence of teens who reported a major depressive episode (MDE) in the previous 12 months shot up from 8.7% in 2005 to 11.5% in 2014.
The National Institute of Health defines an MDE or major depressive episode as a period of at least two weeks of low mood, present in most situations. They say that typical symptoms include low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, and problems with sleep, energy and concentration.
The American School Counselor Association says that this information won’t come as a surprise to school counselors and clinicians who’ve seen a rise in depression, anxiety, and related incidents of self-harm first hand. The association claims that counselors are often responsible for more than 500 students.
Angie Davis, guidance counselor from the Middleton Idaho School District, has dedicated her life to being a counselor for adolescents. Davis has said that even she’s recognized an increase of depression among these kids.
“Middle and high school school have a particularly difficult developmental stage both physically, hormonally, emotionally, and socially. That alone can form the foundation for depression and then you add on an increase of unstable families and/or home environments, and increase of unstable socioeconomic situations and an increase of negative social media influences all as contributors in my opinion to an increase of both minor, major and chronic depression.”
Davis has reported that students in her district are at increased risk of depression when faced with adverse conditions such as single parent homes, community violence, sexual violence, economic hardship or cyber bullying.
Experts say that it isn’t common for depression to go unnoticed.
“Depression is sometimes hard to recognize because of the developmental stage…as well as depression frequently co-occurs with other disorders such as anxiety, problem behavior, ADHD, eating disorders, etc. The symptoms of sad, anxious, worthless, helpless, irritable can describe many teens on different days,” says Davis.
As a counselor, she said she meets regularly with students and help figure out several things, such as the extent of their sadness, the length, the projected outcome, and level of hope moving forward. She also takes special measures for kids with self-harming thoughts or suicidal thoughts.
While Davis serves as a great asset for the school district and community, experts from an article in “Family Health Magazine” say that depression is a mental illness that a school counselor cannot necessarily treat alone.
The sun hid behind dark, grey clouds. Small drops of water cascaded from the sky. A young man sat alone, staring blankly out his bedroom window.
The raindrops outside his window mirrored the tears falling down the sides of his face. He sat there, contemplating what he was going to do; contemplating his “options”.
He clenched his jaw, closed his heavy eyes and let out a desperate sigh of relief. He couldn’t end it all now—he couldn’t end his life, at least not today. There’s no way he could leave his family.
The pain that his death would bring upon them just made his heart ache even more.
He continued to stare blankly out the window. He thought to himself that maybe, just maybe, he could try and make it through another day.
The hallways were filled with kids of all different colors, shapes, and sizes. Students came in and out of the same doors, walked down the same hallways, five days a week.
It was 2012. Mareikura was a junior in high school.
As a Polynesian with a bigger build, Mareikura was an easy target for bullies, or at least that’s how he saw it. Every day he left the school feeling the same way—worthless, broken, and sad.
Shutting himself in his room every day after school led to Mareikura isolating himself from the world regularly. He started looking for a way out. All he wanted was for the pain to stop.
Mareikura recalls never have crying so much in his life than during this time.
In the back of his head there was something that pushed him to find a way to make it all stop. He thought suicide was an option and that it would rid him of those negative feelings and all the hurt. This is what his undiagnosed depression was leading to.
Mareikura described it finally hit rock bottom.
Everything happened at once— his beloved grandma passed away, his dad was in the hospital and had had a near-death experience. He still walked down those hallways feeling like a target.
His parents started picking up that something wasn’t right with their son. A dulling light took over his countenance.
After some parentally love and persuasion, Mareikura came clean with what was going on. He even told them about his attempted suicide.
Later, with their help, Mareikura built up the courage to meet with a counselor for about six weeks, twice a week. Meeting with a counselor helped him learn to trust, and helped him let out all of those hurt and angry feelings that had taken control of him for so long.
He was finally able to let go of all those negative feelings and hurt.
After the six weeks were over, Mareikura noticed a complete difference in his mental health. In fact, it seemed that he was getting happier, little by little. It’s as if all the hurt and angry feelings were no longer holding him down like an anchor out at sea.
He recalls that the support and love from his family was probably the biggest source of his newly found happiness.
Mareikura learned how to cope with his depression. Things still weren’t perfect, and they were probably never going to be that way. But he felt lighter, and he had a better idea on how to cope with those negative feelings.
As a victim of depression, Mareikura said that he’s seen the world through difference lens. What affected him the most about his depression was trying to force a smile in front of people and act like everything was okay, even though it wasn’t. That’s why he resorted to shutting himself out from the world.
He said, “Sometimes at our age we think it’s okay to hide our feelings when actually it can hurt us even more and I think it’s an issue we need to address.”
At one point, he contemplated ending his life. But now, he’s happy. Jaymin-Lee Mareikura is here to tell his story, all because he got help.
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