Most of us don’t love change, but for our teens, times of transition can be especially stressful and lead to anxiety and depression. But don’t lose hope, parents! In this episode, I’m excited to share my conversation with author Jennifer Dukes Lee and her daughter, Anna about how their journey through Anna’s depression and chronic illness has actually made them closer and their faith stronger. We also discuss when to offer help, when to stick it out and when to move on, and Anna shares some practical things that have helped her process her emotions in a healthy way.
Key points from our conversation:
❓ Teens have the biggest struggles during times of transition because of the uncertainty it brings. It’s common to run through “what-if” worst-case scenarios. They can reframe that thinking by remembering that things could be good and even if not, they’re resilient enough to bounce back.
💭 It’s hard to ask for help, especially if you’re a teen. But as a parent, if you notice flat emotions, disinterest in things your child used to enjoy, or lethargy, offer them the option to seek counseling. They may not have the energy to get help then, but it can assist them in beginning to think about how they plan to manage difficulties in their life.
🤝 It’s important to have a support system in place. We’re not meant to go it alone. We need community.
🎢 Getting better is not a linear process. Emotions are rollercoasters; they come in waves. There is not just one area of treatment to address. We must address the whole – mind, body, spirit, and environment.
✨ It can be difficult to know when to stick out a hard situation to build resilience and when to withdraw from an environment. If something is consuming your teen’s identity, consider making a change. Our kids need to be in a place they feel safe. We must consider what is best for our child in this season of their life.
☀️ A few practical things Anna has done that have helped are exercise, getting sunlight, reading the Bible, journaling, taking her medication, and surrounding herself with a supportive community.
Name the emotion you feel, identify where you feel it in your body, and choose a movement to let it go. If we don’t process through emotions, they will loop and become more exaggerated.
💕 If your teen is struggling with depression, don’t lose hope. Jennifer and Anna are closer now than ever because they’ve experienced the struggle together and learned to trust God.
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