Ethan’s Depression Story

“The best part is — I feel happy most days.”

Read more about recognizing warning signs, getting treatment and feeling hopeful for the future in Ethan’s depression story.

Recognizing the signs

Two years ago, when I was a sophomore, my parents started worrying about me and asking if I was depressed. It felt weird at first and then it was annoying. I just wanted to be left alone.

I’d just broken up with my girlfriend and school was really stressful. I felt miserable, but I thought it would go away. I was totally wrong. My friends started to sound like my parents—checking in all the time and asking if I was alright.

Looking back, I can see why they were concerned. I didn’t want to hang out anymore and was doing terrible on the swim team. At first, I was really critical of myself. But then I just didn’t care. I stopped doing homework because I felt like things weren’t going to get any better for me. The worst part was that everyone was worried about me, but no one knew how I really felt. Some people even thought I was choosing to be this way and that I needed to “snap out of it.”

Getting treatment

One day after swim practice, my coach came over to me when no one else was around. He didn’t ask me a bunch of annoying questions just, “What can I do to help?” He told me about some experiences from his own life and seemed to really care.

A couple days later, I told my parents I wanted to see a therapist. I thought maybe I was depressed. They were actually cool about it. They called the insurance company and got a referral.

At first, I wasn’t sure it would work for me, but it turned out great. My therapist helped me to understand how my thoughts can influence my mood and behavior. We set goals and she helped find ways I could get more enjoyment out of life right away. 

We worked on relaxation skills and unhelpful thinking about pressures at school and in relationships. She showed me this really cool app that’s part of our health insurance; it made it a lot easier to practice the stuff I was learning in therapy.

Feeling hopeful for the future

It’s been about a year now, and I haven’t been depressed. Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days, but nothing that sticks around for a long time like before. School’s hard, but I feel in control. I’m still not sure I want to date, but I’ve been talking to some people I met at the pool where I was a lifeguard last summer. The best part is — I feel happy most days, and I look forward to doing stuff with friends and family.

Mental health resources for teens and children

Mental health resources for teens and children

Find helpful mental health resources for teens and children.

Find helpful mental health resources for teens and children.