What would you say to your younger self?
At age 14 every emotion is…SO…INTENSE!
According to a study involving over 19,000 children at age 14 in the UK: 24% of the girls and 9% of the boys experience depression.
As part of the study the children were asked if they felt statements were true, sometimes true or not true regarding how they felt in the previous two weeks:
I felt miserable or unhappy.
I didn’t enjoy anything at all.
I felt so tired I just sat around and did nothing.
I was very restless.
I felt I was no good anymore.
I cried a lot.
I found it hard to think properly or concentrate.
I hated myself.
I was a bad person.
I felt lonely.
I thought nobody really loved me.
I thought I could never be as good as other kids.
I did everything wrong.
How would you answer for yourself?
Cyber bullying, stress over school, home life, peer pressure, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and negative thinking are driving forces for these feelings during adolescence.
What transpires during a girl’s teenage years shapes the direction of her life.
The onset of puberty marks a time of heightened vulnerability. Some girls may have to discontinue their education due to lack of finances or early pregnancy, sexual exploitation, coercion or violence. Each of these traumas can lead to depression.
This past week I have sensed a spirit of despair in the young people who’ve reached out to me. As I pray for them scripture floods my mind.
Every sigh of the soul finds a home in Psalms.
Psalm 69:20 says, “Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. If only one person would show some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me.”
In the office I hear how often girls have to face the sting of harsh words, side eyed glances, and unrealistic expectations that all serve to break not only the heart but the spirit.
Every girl needs a safe person to confide in, lean on, and be comforted by.
Those who seek help in counseling are like the psalmist in Psalm 130:1 “From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call for your help.”
And in Psalm 40:2 we read, “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”
For those girls who know the Lord, I can direct them to find healing in His love and care. For those who don’t I can pray for them.
I pray that the girls of Belize overcome despair.
I pray that the girls of Belize find comfort from the Comforter.
I pray that the girls of Belize find hope and healing.
I pray that the girls of Belize find deep abiding joy and will pass it on to others.