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Peak Adolescent Years: Because teens need to know they aren’t alone

Publishing Date : 13 January, 2020

Author : TLHABO KGOSIEMANG

Unipolar depressive disorder in adolescence is common worldwide but often unrecognised. The incidence, notably in girls, rises sharply after puberty and, by the end of adolescence, the 1 year prevalence rate exceeds 4%. Depression is associated with substantial present and future morbidity and heightens suicide risk.

The strongest risk factors for depression in adolescents are a family history of depression and exposure to psychological stress.Inherited risks, developmental factors, sex hormones and psychological adversity interact to increase risk through hormonal factors and associated perturbed neutral pathways.

Although many similarities between depression in adolescence and depression in adulthood exist, in adolescents the use of antidepressants is of concern and opinions about clinical management are divided. Effective treatments are available, but choices are dependent on depression severity and available resources. Prevention strategies targeted at high-risk groups are promising.

Depression is defined as a cluster of specific symptoms with associated impairment. In adolescents, depression is more often missed than it is in adults possibly because of the prominence of irritability, mood reactivity, and fluctuating symptoms in adolescents. Depression can also be missed if the primary presenting problems are unexplained physical symptoms, eating disorders, anxiety, and refusal to attend school, decline in academic performance or behavioural problems.

In some respects depression in adolescents can be viewed as an early-onset sub form of the equivalent adult disorder because of its strong links with recurrence later in life. The illness has similar clinical features and patterns of neutral activity to that in adults, and its occurrence is also associated with a family history of the disorder. However, there are young writers who experienced this illness at a shockingly young age.

Some are still dealing with this disorder, while some found it imperative to put everything on paper, including their experiences. They see this as a remedy that is working very well for their mental health. Some write poems, some pen songs while others carve stories.  In Botswana, we do have young people suffering from depression, but they are not alone. They have their peers committed to help them through…

In an exclusive interview with Weekend Life, author and founder of Peak Adolescent Year handbook Tshepang Matshane noted that this is a collection of poems that endeavour to shed some light upon the darkness one finds herself or himself in and to help realized that they are not alone and there are people out there who can relate to the pain and suffering they’re going through.

‘’Growing up I lived to witness my parents’ divorce and stayed with my father the entire life I have lived. My mother sadly abandoned me and this didn’t sit well with me. I felt she deprived me the right to be loved and raised by a mother, I don’t know how it feels being given motherly love. It’s such a sad experience that makes me feel the pain even to this date. My peers would always speak about how they are treasured by their mothers, how their fathers abandoned them and I will be there with something different, a different story they wouldn’t buy’’

This gloomy experience did not only dampen Matlhare, he saw this as an opportunity to send a message to other youngsters who are going through the same experience. ‘’If I was someone else, I could have long died. I started being miserable, gloomy, and I saw killing myself as the only solution to this problem. I did not only become melancholy, my academic performance started flagging and I was only left with vanishing, literally. At one point, I found courage and started putting all of these burdens on paper. One teacher realised my potential in writing and buoyed this chivalrous idea. That was my growth…and I must say I am exultant for I took the right decision when I was at the edge of my life, which was blue, despairing and repulsive’’ he said

His book was made to create an insight to loved ones who do not have a good grasp of the turmoil of emotions most adolescents who are going through and probably help those suffering these deep oblivious emotions to a peace of mind. ‘’We just wanted to shed light amongst people who normally become lost in their emotions and have no one to talk to. We just want to tell you that you’re not alone, we feel your sorrow and although your life may be filled with darkness, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, just keep on persevering and stay strong’’

This fledgling author who writes candidly and humorously about his struggles with depression has published only one book, and strives to put out more. ‘’I am relatively new in this industry, and because I am still at school, lot of attention is diverted into books. I endeavour to learn more about writing and that can be made probable by work in partnership with other well established authors who I must say are equally substantial in this industry. I am taking one step at a time, and I believe in future I will have more books in stores across the country, or even internationally’’ he said

Matlhare further alluded that depression is considered abnormal, and people who suffer from it are picked apart and told they need to ‘’pluck it up’’, something he feels needs to be addressed and facts should be laid down. ‘’one of the best ways to normalize depression is by integrating it into our culture. That’s where this novel comes in. teens and adults and I included need to read about people like them. We need to read about the coping, the triumphs, and the failures. We need to know about these things, so that we no longer feel alone.

The hardest part about depression, in my opinion, is feeling like I’m alone. However, I’m not, and neither are you. I have this novel that center on depression, redemption and love. I hope that you find some solace or perhaps a little understanding in this book. Either way, I hope you feel a little less alone’’

 

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