'I Am Los Angeles': 17-Year-Old Describes Life With Severe Depression

Terrance
After losing three family members who were also his caretakers, Terrance found himself severely depressed. Luckily, he's made it out. Screenshot/Vimeo

It’s hard to believe a kid can have both post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and deep depression. After all, both are severe mental disorders normally seen in soldiers, nurses, or adults, in general, who have experienced a traumatic event. They’re already hard enough to deal with as adults, so how could kids possibly deal with them? Yet, about five percent of children and teens are living with the disorder, with many barely coping.

Terrance, a 17-year-old high school student in Los Angeles, is one of these teens. From a young age, he was introduced to trauma and hardships; when his mother passed away, he went to live with his grandmother — his dad only came around at the request of his mom. But at 12, his grandmother passed away, too. And after moving to his aunt’s home, and living there for five years, she died as well. Although he’s been lucky enough to stay out of foster care (he currently lives with his aunt’s oldest daughter), the grief from losing three of his caretakers has taken its toll.

“I didn’t even know what I was going through at the moment. I already knew I was sad, and what sad was, but… I didn’t know I was going through deep depression,” he says in a video from the online documentary project, “I Am Los Angeles.” For a long time, his condition left him unable to think of his future. Instead, thoughts of his mother, grandmother, aunt, and the time he started getting depressed consumed him. “It keeps me from doing the stuff that I want to do in life.”

Three out of four children with mental health disorders don’t get the help they need, the video says. Luckily, Terrance was that fourth child, and is currently doing a lot better with the help of mentors and group services provided by his school. Because of this, his attendance and performance in school have improved. But most importantly, he’s learned how to handle, and overcome, the hardships that characterize these mental disorders. To hear more about what it’s like to deal with teen depression firsthand, watch Terrance’s video below:

Terrance from I Am Los Angeles on Vimeo.

 

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