Teddy

Age at interview: 18
Age at diagnosis: 16
Gender: Male
Outline:

Teddy, age 18, began experiencing depression in middle school. He was diagnosed by a psychiatrist. He tried medication but did not continue with it. His central sources of support include friends, his siblings, and a loving dog who makes him happy and who he takes care of every day. He plans to work with animals or making music.

Background:

Teddy is a high school graduate who lives at home with his parents, siblings, and dog. His goal is either to focus on music or to become a vet technician and work with animals. He is African American and Latino.

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Teddy’s depression began in middle school. When things went wrong between him and a girl he had been seeing, it haunted him. The same thing happened with other relationships, and each time it got worse until he slipped unto a “deep, dark depression”, started skipping school, and had trouble getting out of bed. When his depression “kind of leaked out” on a school assignment, his teacher took him to the school psychologist to get help and then that same day he also told his mother and she took him to a therapist.

Advice from his therapists has been helpful to Teddy – particularly about how to stick up for himself and deal with difficult relationships. He tried medication at one point, but did not feel it worked so stopped taking it. A couple of teachers who have recognized Teddy’s musical talent and encouraged him have had a positive impact.

Support from his friends and family has made the biggest difference of all, because depression is “an emotional thing… [so] other people is what can help the most.” One of Teddy’s brothers has been a particularly strong source of support. Teddy is also devoted to taking care of his dog, who has some health problems. Concern expressed by a friend and awareness of how much his dog needs him once combined to save Teddy when he was feeling suicidal.

Music, animals, and happy TV shows all help Teddy feel better. He graduated from high school, and aspires to make music for a living, or be a vet technician. He wants other young adults to know they should “try a lot of things” if they are depressed: “Try talking to your friends that you can trust with your life… and they’ll try to help you to the best of their abilities. If that doesn’t work out, try a therapist. He also urges people to “go back and fix it or make amends” if they have problems with relationships that contribute to depression and can be remedied.

 

Teddy says don't wait too long to get help.

Teddy says don't wait too long to get help.

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The main thing I want to add is, if you first get depressed and you realize it, go seek help because if you let it continue on and on it’s going to get worse and it’s going to be harder to fix it. Because [Coughed] I let mine go, I kept having it, it kept getting worse and worse and it was really bad. And then I decided to get help like, if I had help at the ready, like in the beginning, it probably wouldn’t have been here. So just try to get help as soon as possible. Don’t let it sit there for a while because it’s just going to be harder and harder and a lot longer for you to get rid of your depression

 

For Teddy, part of healing was letting people who had hurt him know how sensitive he is.

For Teddy, part of healing was letting people who had hurt him know how sensitive he is.

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First of all, I wanted to do something that would make me happy. So I feel like, being in school was contributing to the stress and like, the low point. So I wanted to get off campus, because I feel like being in an environment where you’re unhappy and that causes you to be unhappy. One of, you know, escape the bubble for a while. So I decided to go off campus and also just like, say, eat a good meal. I think that helped. So that was when I finally decided to go out. It wasn’t to hang out with my friends, or like, to go to the spots I usually like to go. It was actually to go off campus and have some alone time, away from like, the bubble that was very much, very suffocating.

 

Teddy wants to keep helping his dog, who has arthritis. Honoring that commitment is one of the things that keeps him going.

Teddy wants to keep helping his dog, who has arthritis. Honoring that commitment is one of the things that keeps him going.

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I knew that I was either destined to not be alive or be alone for, for the rest of my life and that’s when my little dog came up to me into my room, because I left my door open and he jumped onto my bed and fell asleep. And I guess you could say that was the second push to try and get more help, because I didn’t want to leave him all alone because none of the rest of my family, except for my sister, acknowledges him. So I kind of made a vow to help my dog, because he’s not going through the best of times either, with his arthritis and everything. So I was like I’m going to keep living to, until he’s lived a full life and I’m going to remain living to honor him and how he stopped me because if it wasn’t for my dog walking in, I probably would have been gone already.

I’ve had him ever since I was 9. And I’ve always tried to protect him and kept him away from a lot of things and did my best to make sure he was loved and cared for. So even to this day sometimes I’ll take him upstairs and he’ll sleep with me for the night and I will give him a treat in the morning and just seeing him really happy kind of makes me forget about all the stuff that has happened to me and what’s going on in life right now and kind of just, mainly focuses on him.

 

Teddy says he could've avoided a lot of bad times if he had gotten help sooner.

Teddy says he could've avoided a lot of bad times if he had gotten help sooner.

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The main thing I want to add is, if you first get depressed and you realize it, go seek help because if you let it continue on and on it’s going to get worse and it’s going to be harder to fix it. Because [Coughed] I let mine go, I kept having it, it kept getting worse and worse and it was really bad. And then I decided to get help like, if I had help at the ready, like in the beginning, it probably wouldn’t have been here.