Clipped From Tyrone Daily Herald
Tackling A Teen's Demons, And 'Surviving Depression By SHEILA CARMODY York Daily Record Kurt Cobain had it all. The 27-year-old singer headed up the successful grunge band Nirvana. He lived with his wife and daughter in a beautiful home in Seattle. He had everything to live for, it seemed. So, why did he kill himself? A lot of people have asked that question, which might explain why conspiracy theories arose almost almost immediately following his death in 1994. Fans found it hard to believe Cobain would take his own life, probably because it's impossible impossible to imagine someone so successful suffering so intensely. Fact is, Cobain suffered from depression, not unlike many of his teen-age fans, said Bev Cobain, Kurt's cousin and author of "When Nothing Matters Anymore: Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed Depressed Teens." His was a severe • form of the illness, called manic depression or bipolar disorder. Clinical depression, often found to be genetic, runs in theCo- bain family. Bev is a psychiatric nurse who controls her own depression depression with medication. Two uncles committed suicide when Kurt and Bev were children. After Kurt's death, Bev Cobain found herself talking more and more about depression with teen- Letter To The Editor The Daily Herald Faith For Dark Days Editor's note: This letter was inadvertently omitted from Friday's Friday's edition of The Daily Herald. This is Good Friday. Followers of Christ everywhere are thinking agers. She wrote "When Nothing Matters Anymore," hoping to help teen-agers cope with depression depression or, at least, open the topic to discussion. "I've talked to many, many kids who would rather die than talk about about what's wrong," Bev Cobain said. They don't want to be different. different. They also no longer believe anyone cares. They don't even think they have the right to breathe the same air as anyone else. Every teen-ager experiences feelings of depression from time to time. Physical and hormonal changes in teen-agers affect brain chemistry chemistry and induce mood swings. Insecurities Insecurities arise and fester without the benefit of a fully developed identity. The result is teen-agers who are moody and cranky. That's normal, said Kean Quinton, Quinton, a York Health System Behavioral Behavioral Health Services therapist who works within York City schools. Growth spurts alone make kids sensi live abou t the way they look. The normal, natural mood swings associated with being a teen-ager might be one reason why for so long no one looked for clinical depression in teen-agers, said Dr. Earl W. Bernstine, of York Health System's Behavioral Health Services. Fact is, teen depression may be more pervasive than previously thought. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is in the midst of a nationwide study to determine determine with greater accuracy the prevalence of mental disorders among children and adolescents. They suspect depression affects one in eight teen-agers, maybe more. Depression can include clinical depression, bipolar disorder disorder and dysthymia, a low-grade form of depression. Each year, almost 5,(X)() young people, ages 15 to 24, kill themselves. Cleo, 14, of York tried twice to kill herself by swallowing a bottle of pills. The ninth-grader, who asked that her last name not be used, has always been ridiculed for her weight. "I couldn't take the pressure anymore," she said. Clco sought help from a school counselor and is being treated with medication and therapy. Crisis Intervention is a good phone number for teen-agers to know, Bernstine said. Teen-agers don't like to ask for help, but "there are a lot of people out there to help them." Most teen-agers, and many adults, experience some of the symptoms of major depression. Major depression is diagnosed when symptoms persist beyond two weeks, Bernstine said. Symptoms Symptoms include: — Persistent sadness. — An inability to enjoy favorite activities. — Increased activity or irritability. — Frequent complaints of physical illness. — Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school. — Persistent boredom. — Low energy. — Poor concentration. — A major change in eating or sleeping patterns. Usually, loss pushes kids over the edge. And teen-agers experience plenty of loss. They lose parents, or family, through divorce. They lose pets. Friends move away. They move away from friends. "The one thing that will cause overdoses and bring them into the hospital is a relationship has broken broken up," Bev Cobain said. 'That is the biggest reason."