Theory: teenage depression is a necessary stage of development
in the transformation from child to adult.
I was a kid, I promised myself I would remember what it was
like to be a kid, and how I was going to be the coolest adult
ever. However, I recently realised that, despite my efforts,
I have become an adult, complete with worries about money,
getting the oil changed, making sure there's food in the house,
clean clothes and all that boring stuff.
was watching a couple of one-year olds at a party a while
back, and they definitely had an us/them outlook on life.
I clearly fell into the category of "them".
consider the process that most teenagers go through. During
puberty your body is going through thousands of chemical changes,
and part of the result is a general malaise, moodiness, and
perhaps symptoms that in an adult would be diagnosed as mild
been there, I've been there… after all, we're grown-ups
Whether simply instigated by chemical changes during puberty,
or precipitated by the experiences of puberty — self-discovery,
first love, cliques, social pressures to conform in the present
while figuring out a future — it seems adolescence is
a minefield of triggers for depression.
I recently learned that one of the side-effects of depression
is its effects on memory. Depression can cause gaps in your
memory that you can track-back.
if the tumultuous era of teenage-hood is designed to help
your mind wipe the strong feelings of what it is like to be
can distinctly remember that there is some feeling that comes
with being a child.
example: As a child, you feel free to approach another child
within your general age range when in a large group. At malls,
airports, playgrounds, wherever two kids meet, they instantly
seem to want to form a friendship.
an adult, there seems to be greater social barriers to talk
to strangers. There's just so damn many of them.
try to childhood approach of walking up to a complete stranger
your own age and saying "Hi! Whatcha doin?"
make things manageable, we create sub-groups: adults with
kids, single adults, gay adults, yoga-practicing adults, adults
with tattoos and harleys. We'll latch on to some item we may
share with a person in order to categorize them in a group.
As a kid it seems more possible to have the us kids/them adults
mentality, with the age range rather broad on the underside
know I'm digressing on my point, but allow me to ramble...
as a teenager, you're part of an even smaller sub-group. Consider
you spend 12 to 13 years as a "kid", seven years
as a teenager, and around 40 to 65 years as an adult. Percentage-wise,
you wind up in a smaller, more segmented and isolated group
as a teenager... another factor that can possibly add to the
tendency toward depression.
younger than you are boring and tedious. Those older than
you can't be trusted.
seven or so years you spend as a teenager acclimatizes you
to the smaller sub-groups you'll encounter as an adult. Yes,
when you enter your early 20's often you're in a post-teenage
environment due to university or college. However, it is not
unusual for 20 year olds to move straight into the work world
and mix with the sub-groups of adults.
possibility of remaining within the teenage years can be self-directed
to a certain extent. However, the damage is done by the time
you're graduating from high-school... you don't know what
it's like to be a kid anymore: the trials of the teenage years
have wiped the feeling from your memory. You may remember
logically what it's like. You may empathize. But you don't
"feel" it anymore.
for teenage-stage depression, perhaps it is designed explicitly
to re-program the brain. From an evolutionary point of view,
it would make sense that you retain some small part of knowing
what it is like to be a child, but to no longer strongly identify
with the role.
understanding allows you to relate to your children. But were
you to still have the true understanding of what it is to
be a child... to feel it and know it in your heart, to be
a child to the soul, you would be unable to discipline the
child, to direct their life so that they reach teenage-hood
and go through the same shit you did.
importantly, you'd be unable to direct the child within yourself
to achieve great things.
depression partially wipes that sense of "childhood"
from our memory, so we will make the "right choices"
socially for both ourselves and our progeny.
we'd be a society of adults eating fast food every day, calling
in sick to play hooky, and using all the money we make to
buy ourselves toys.