I'm "the wrong age to have depression" what do I do?

My depression started just over a year ago and had been getting steadily worse so at christmas last year my mum (who also suffers with depression) told me to see my gp about it. Before I went I tried some self tests on the nhs direct website and other medical advice sites. All said I had moderate to severe depression, with the only question with a low score being my risk of suicide. I got diagnosed with depression by my gp and was told that as I was 17 there wasn't much they could do! They said that putting me on antidepressants would be more dangerous as I'm under twenty and the side effects could be worse, and my risk of suicide/suicidal thoughts would be higher. She also told me that I wasn't entitled to talk to the mental health worker/therapist (not sure of the correct term) until I was eighteen! I was advised to improve my diet and do more exercise to help with the depression.

I had a follow up appointment two weeks later and I felt she didn't ask me enough about how I was doing. I find it really hard to tell her how I actually feel, and about what I'm finding difficult and I think she gets the impression that I'm okay! I had another appointment a month later and the same happened! I've tried changing my diet, doing more exercise but when something else goes wrong or I don't notice any results I find it hard to carry on! I also find school really stressful and I'm getting really bad at working because I have little energy or confidence in myself!

Basically, I don't know what to do and there seems to be no one to tell me! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

3 Replies

  • Hi

    I'm sorry you are depressed when you are still young - I was also depressed from en early age and once I began to look back I realised that I'd never been really fully happy it was just that in my teens I started to realise.

    It sounds from what you write as though you would benefit from talking to someone - you said you felt your GP didn't ask enough and doesn't really understand how you feel. You said you are still at school. If so then an organisation called Safe Space may be able to help, your school may know of them, alternately your school may have an in-house counsellor you could see. The GP could in theory refer you to the child mental health team but she probably isn't offering that because their waiting list is so long. Does the GP practice have a counsellor? You could phone the practice reception to ask that and if so ask the GP to refer you as I can't see any reason why you have to be over 18 to be entitled to talk with someone! I know it sounds silly but you could also phone Childline - they will listen and often talking begins to help, particularly if you think back to past experiences you have found difficult and can begin to see how they relate to how you are feeling. You could also try writing about your life on this website as sharing your experiences that way can be really helpful I find. Everyone the the website has had difficult experiences and people here are very understanding. If all else fails and you are desperate then do phone the Samaritans as they are very caring and will always listen no matter what time of day.

    I do hope you find some support soon, wiating until you are 18 is not an option if you are feling in need of help now!

    Keep in touch and let us all know how you are as we will be thinking of you.


  • Hi, people do not like to think, that people and younger than 17 can get depression, but that is thier hang up, I suffered sever depression , and my daughter who was 14 was showing signs,, of depression. hormones can bring it on, the changes your body goes through. im now a qualified counsellor, but thiers so much negativeity, even now adays, employment ect. But you know,,, it can be hereditory,, your mum suffers from it. sadly it can be just ignorance on their part. What do they say when a young person commits suicide???

    All I can say, is change doctors.!!! if your feeling suicidal, tell someone,, even the hospital. gps,,, are only general practitioners, general, they may not have updated information availible to them , because they are busy.. But yes you can be depressed, at 17 and younger, I saved my daughters life,, because i made my doctor listen,,, I tried to commit suicide at 11,, lined the tablets up, in a row, thought i was invisible, and no one cared,,,I was so disappoiinted I was alive that next morning,, they told me, that I must have started having depression as young as that,, and proves my daughter also., and then my other son, and then oh yes my other daughter!!!

    That is can,,, for some reason hormones, and something isnt being produced in the brain which is the happy chemical, that needs topping up or replacing. you need regular monitoring with each tablet they try,,,as yes you can feel a bit worse before you can feel better,, but family support and counselling and pampering yourself while your ill.

    Just say to yourself, Im ill, its the illness that is making me feel this way,,, but normally i dont feel this way, and if you take this approach,,, this is the healthy way of looking at things.. if you need to chat,,, your welcome


  • My doctor sent me to a clinic for mental depression and I saw a specialist -who prescribed anti-depressants. Some or possibly most of them do/or can cause the suicide thoughts. The person I saw changed my medication (because I asked) as I had severe nightmares from them. The one's I'm on at the moment are "ok" not brilliant but better than before. I wish there was a magic wand someone could wave and it would all go away. Ask your GP if you could be seen by a specialist who could prescribe you possibly a low dose anti-depressant?

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