It seems hard to imagine. Most parents can’t believe their son could possibly be depressed. What in the world does he have to be depressed about?
The “Dad Wound”
Of the more than 1,800 boys who have gone through my program, the majority were in some stage of depression. How can that be, you ask?
Because the majority of adolescent boys are carrying a wound. Typically a “dad wound.”
What is a “dad wound?” Adolescent boys are innately hungry for Dads approval and attention, if they don’t receive it, it can be one of the most damaging experiences in their young life. I’ve seen many times when dad said or did something abusive and the boy never got over it.
Maybe dad abandoned him emotionally or physically. That’s a wound. That wound can, and many times does result in depression for the boy. This wound, if not addressed and dealt with, will be carried into his adult life.
Another issue I often see is the boy is being bullied. He would most likely keep that to himself (boys internalize their emotions) and over time, the anger he has “bottled up” turns to depression.
Sometimes it’s the result of a break-up with a girlfriend, or maybe in general he feels rejected by his peers. Unfortunately the list is long but you get the idea.
Signs of Depression To Watch For
You’ve heard me say that depression is anger turned inward (squelched). If depression sets in it can be difficult to overcome, it does not get better on it’s own. Here are some of the signs to watch for:
- emotional changes
- sadness or hopelessness
- irritability, anger, or hostility
- withdrawal from friends and family
- loss of interest in activities
- feelings of worthlessness, guilt, fixation on past failures
- self-blame or self-criticism
- trouble thinking or concentrating
- ongoing sense that life and the future are grim and bleak
- frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
- changes in eating and sleeping habits
Don’t Wait – Seek Help
Depression in teenagers, teenage boys in particular can be tricky to deal with. It can be hard for a parent to distinguish between normal adolescent mood swings and something more severe.
If you think your child might be depressed, don’t wait. Make an appointment with his doctor. Talk to his school counselor or a local mental health resource center ASAP. Seek out a counselor who specializes in dealing with teenage depression. With proper attention he will have the ability to work through what is triggering his depression. In The Quest Project® I work with boys in age appropriate groups for 10 weeks and through these processes I am able to determine what is triggering their depression and as a result help them heal.
Are you concerned your son might be depressed and you don’t know what to do next? Share your concern, maybe I can help.