Human Interest

Teenage Depression

This is a personal story. I publish it anonymously because it’s still too personal. But, in fact, it’s a very public story repeatedly told through the lives of families with a depressed child.

Today, our son is a healthy, extremely bright, hard-working adult in his mid-thirties. Eighteen years ago he was unconscious, living on a respirator with a lethal blood alcohol content of point 5. Mental “darkness” had made suicide his only relief.

Shortly afterward, he wrote a poem in an effort to understand his own feelings. The words, I’m told, flowed easily at the time, but their meaning took years for him to appreciate. I saved those words for myself, until now.


I've swung on my heart
     Since that one cold day,
When I hanged a tired heart
     On a misty summer day.

The sway - I feel it so
     My dreams, to it I swing,
          And from it away.

Sometimes I have it;
     My life in my hands.
A moment it is,
     Dreams, Goals, Plans.

Though nothing is real,
     "It will be", I know it!

Then the motion, the queasy feeling,
     Torn away, twisting, reeling.
Hinged on the Now
     With nothing to grasp.

A dream is nothing anyway, right?
     "Look at it!"  You're stupid you know,
"This rope has carried you
     Not to, but fro!"

The fantasy, so far away,
     "Your life's a farce", I say.
I'd hate to fall off.
     But feel dizzy forever?

I'd rather jump from this heart on a rope
     than watch others cope.
An eternity of this?
     Just a snatching at hope?

"Ha!  Let go of the rope!
     Let go of the rope."

It feels better to fall,
     To fling off the edge,
Than to cling to the line
     Swinging in dread.

Yet by then, round I've come,
     And into my dreams
          I swing ... full bore.

My hands on my life ... on my line,
     The vision envisioned.
I grasp for something deficient,
     But mine.

To survive I know
     That holding the rope isn't the key.
The dreams at line's end
     I can take back with me.

"Lift yourself into the Now.
     Pull your heart there too.
Stand with the Day and your heart
     And your Dreams coming true."

Submitted by Anonymous – Lodi, CA

About LODI360 Editor

Keith Colgan is the Editor of and owner of Keith Colgan Photography


2 thoughts on “Teenage Depression

  1. My daughter is 16….she’s where this poem is…I’m trying desperately to help…and to find help for her. She doesnt feel she’s worth it. I’m praying she will realize she IS!…thank you for sharing.

    Posted by PK | May 25, 2011, 1:18 pm
    • I am a parent who has traveled the same road. Make sure your daughter sees a doctor immediately. Make sure she gets the right chemicals in her system. The wrong diagnosis or pharma intervention could be lethal.

      Also, “they” are now finding that some teenagers who are diagnosed with ADD really have the on-set of bi-polar. Anyone reading this needs to take this seriously. One sure sign that they are depressed or are presenting a bi-polar diagnosis is if they are cutting themselves. No, not deep cuts, yet, cuts with sharp objects never the less.

      Depression for teens is a cold, dark and empty place. Sometimes [it appears to them] suicide is the only way out. I have read accounts from medical health professionals that claim there are no words in the English language to describe the black and empty void they feel they are in…and can’t make it back from. Total helplessness. Please, get help for your son or daughter immediately…this is serious stuff. I know, I am a parent who saw his son nearly commit suicide three times before one of the doctors got it right. Yes, like everyone else doctors make mistakes.

      Posted by Parson | May 26, 2011, 7:05 pm

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