“I felt like the world was out to get me”
Victoria Metal is a music teacher from North Carolina. At 25, she’s one of the youngest guests on Teenage Kicks, and much closer in age to my teenagers than she is to me. She talks about something I think is common to lots of teenagers, and adults, Depression.
Teenage depression and anxiety facts
Depression and anxiety among teens is common, with nearly a third presenting with symptoms of an anxiety disorder by the age of 18. Anxiety in teenage girls more than twice as common as it is in boys. Teenage years are some of the most stressful times of our lives, with the burden of needing to succeed academically, and social pressures adding to the intense experience of physical development and puberty.
What causes anxiety in teens?
Victoria describes what kickstarted her anxiety – school pressures, friendship issues and overwhelm. Just normal stuff, that so many families will relate to. As a young girl she spent hours on the floor of her bedroom listening to music, just to escape from her emotions. In the podcast she also tells me about how she tried to ask for help, but didn’t manage to get the support she needed in time to prevent what happened later.
Why teenage mental health needs to be taken seriously
I was struck by how well Victoria coped as a teenager. Talking to her reminded me that being 18 doesn’t make you an adult, and that young people still need emotional support as they begin adult life.
Panic attacks and anxiety
Victoria did eventually get the support she needed, but not before suffering panic attacks at work, and eventually going back to the beginning, and working out the roots of her anxiety with her mother.
Whilst panic attacks in teens aren’t usual, Victoria’s story serves as a warning that teen mental health is as important to take care of as physical health to ensure symptoms don’t worsen further down the line.
Once you’ve finished listening, I’d urge you to go and download this episode of Victoria’s own podcast, The Intention Seekers. In it she reads through her graduation speech, which gave me goosebumps. “You are going to be missed” she told her class, and this is the sentiment she’d offer to those going through the anxiety and self-doubt that many teenagers experience:
You are loved.
What can parents do?
For parents, this conversation with Victoria made me realise how difficult it is to identify and express your feelings at this age, and that actually, asking for help might cost them a LOT! Have a listen to how she first expressed her panic at the state of her emotional health at the age of 12 – it’s a little bit heartbreaking.
Find Victoria here
Further reading and support
- Why depression is on the rise in teenagers
- A parent’s guide to teenage depression
- NHS signposts for depression in children
Where to listen to the podcast:
You can find the episode in your usual podcast app, on the podcast link, or if you prefer, you can listen online below.
Thank you so much for listening! Subscribe now to the Teenage Kicks podcast to hear about the new series when it begins. I’ll be talking to some fabulous guests about difficult things that happened to them as teenagers – including losing a parent, being hospitalised with mental health problems, and battling an eating disorder – and how they overcame things to move on with their lives.
I’d love it if you’d rate and review the podcast on iTunes too – it would really help other people to find it. You can also find more from me on parenting teenagers on my blog Actually Mummy, and on Instagram and Twitter @iamhelenwills.
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Please note that I am not a medical expert, and nothing in the podcast should be taken as medical advice.
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If you’re a parent of teens it can be difficult to know where to go for advice, to vent, or just to talk. So I’ve made the Teenage Kicks Facebook group, for all parents of teenagers to chat in a safe space. You can request to join by clicking the button below. It’s a private group and everyone in there will be a parent of teenagers.
And if you’re stuck for how to engage with your teenager, this list of things for teens to do might be helpful.