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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality

Tag: depression

Aug 31

Coping with the Transition from High School to College

Posted By iamincontrol | August 31, 2017

Life is hard. This realization hit me the hardest when I made the transition from high school to college. In high school, I did not struggle with school, making friends, or keeping my spirits high. I was involved in soccer, volleyball, along with many clubs during my high school years. I came home every night to my loving parents and siblings and life was good.

When my freshman year of college rolled around, my attitude began to change. I was no longer living with my support system and I was thrown into difficult classes that I had thought I was prepared for. I immediately spiraled into a stressed out, sad, and anxious state. I figured this was normal, considering how stressed out my friends were too. I felt amazing when I finally got a month at home with my mom and dad. I was ready to take on second semester head-on. I returned to school, but did not finish the year as I had expected. I found it hard to get out of bed for my classes, and had no ambition to finish any homework assignments. I finished the school year with a terrible GPA.

It was strange when I realized I found myself struggling with my mood when it was summer time and I had no reason to feel anxious. I kept it to myself, afraid to let anyone know this is what I was feeling. I hit my breaking point when sophomore year of college came around. I cried almost every day for the first month of school.

I knew I needed to talk to my mom and she quickly scheduled me an appointment at home, and she went with me for support. The doctor explained to me that I had what was called “anxious depression”. I was so relieved to hear that I had medication options and an opportunity to talk to a counselor about how I was feeling.

My advice to anyone who is feeling like how I felt is to talk to someone you know about what you have been experiencing! You will not regret it when you are happy as ever, finally feeling yourself again. Follow the link below to visit a self-help website with coping tips to overcome the struggles when you are feeling low.

Dec 30

New Year, Let the Resolutions begin: Top Ten News Years Resolutions for Teens

Posted By iamincontrol | December 30, 2014

The New Year is fast approaching and that means its time to think of your New Years Resolution. IAMinControl is coming at ya with a Top Ten New Years Resolutions to ease your way into the New Year.

Top Ten New Years Resolutions for Teens

Have a Good Relationship with My Body- Enjoy parts of your body and embrace what’s been given.

  1. Change my Attitude about Food-Treat food as something needed to nourish your body, so do those Cheetos® do the trick or that apple?
  2. Stay in touch- a 2010 study showed that if you don’t have a connection to social ties and they are broken you are more prone to mental health issues.
  3. Exercise More- We all know that exercise helps with our health but also makes us feel good about our selves.
  4. Volunteer- A 2010 study found that people with positive emotions (such as volunteering) were 20% less like to have a heart attack and were more resilient and resourceful
  5. Get more sleep-Lack of sleep causes your skin to age, forget things, gain weight, makes you dumber.
  6. Set goals for ourselves- It’s easy to accomplish things when we have goals. It’s also meta to set goals as your new years resolution. Right?
  7. Have more confidence-join a group at school, ask someone to hang out, make more friends
  8. Cut toxic people out of my life- Negative people can bring you down, identify if they are needed in your life. Parents do NOT count.
  9. Spend less time on Twitter, Instagram, and Kik-Studies show that increase time on social media can lead to depression and other things 


    Now its time for you to decide, but let us know what you do decide. Our poll next month will ask:


    Does your New Years Resolution involve?

  1.  Nutrition (Cut back on drinking energy drinks and/or soda,  Eat less Cheetos, etc)
  2. Body Image (be happy when I look in the mirror, embrace my love handles, etc.)
  3. Mental Health (smile more, look up Classic Joke Wednesday on Ellen and share them, etc.)
  4. Exercise (Dance around to “Shake it Off” by T. Swift for thirty minutes a day)
  5. Sexual Health (Find out about different contraceptives, figure out how to use a condom)
  6. Life Skills  (Start a savings, embrace my haters, etc )
Dec 11

Don’t Be S.A.D. this winter!

Posted By iamincontrol | December 11, 2014

Sad. Isn’t that how we all feel to some extent during the winter, as the days get shorter and shorter? As we keep adding layers of clothing to leave the house, and spend as little time outside in the frigid cold as possible?

But being ‘SAD’ is a different story than just being lower-case sad. SAD stands for ‘seasonal affective disorder,’ a type of temporary depression that occurs during specific times of the year—most commonly in the fall and winter. It is estimated that 10-20% of people in the United States experience SAD each year and that it is more common in females.

Although many people—especially in northern parts of the U.S. like Iowa, where the winters are long and cold– get the winter blues, seasonal affective disorder hits a little harder. Symptoms of SAD include drops in energy, weight gain, sleeping a lot more than usual, and not wanting to be social.

The following are tips adapted from the Huffington Post to help combat SAD. These suggestions can help anyone feeling a little blue in the winter—but if you are feeling depressed, don’t be afraid see a doctor or counselor about your symptoms.

  • Get outside. Yes, even though it’s cold, try to get outside at lunch, open period, or after school. Natural sunlight will improve your mood, and since the days are so short during the winter, it’s important to grab the sun while you can during the day!
  • Get moving! As Michelle Obama says, ‘Let’s move!’  Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins that will naturally increase your mood. It’s also a good way to burn stress, and if you’re exercising in a gym or as part of a sports team or club, it provides social time– which also helps with depression.
  • Get social. Especially during the Thanksgiving and winter breaks, when school is out and it’s tempting to sit around at home and watch Netflix, try to get out of the house. Go to a movie or dinner with friends. It will help to get you out of a funk.
  • Sleep well. Although it may be hard to wake up every morning in the darkness, or to stay awake after school when the sun is already setting, resist the temptation to sleep late or nap throughout the day. Sleeping more than you usually do will only make you feel more sluggish and tired overall.
  • Be patient. Winter in Iowa is long, and fighting SAD may take time– but embrace the activities and people who make you feel better. It will pay off in the long run. If your symptoms do not improve, don’t be afraid to seek professional help—SAD, like depression, is a real disorder and can be treated!


Oct 16

Dealing with Depression and Anxiety

Posted By iamincontrol | October 16, 2014

sad teenage girl
By Emily

Dealing with depression and anxiety can be a daunting task, especially as a teenager.  You already have so much going on with school, work, extra-curriculars and anything else you might be involved in.  And then you have this nagging feeling.  It could be sadness, anger, fear, tiredness or any other combination of feelings.  Mine started slowly. It just seemed like I was having an off day, which turned into an off week, then an off month until finally I realized something was wrong.  I didn’t want to say anything about it because it’s not like I was sick. I didn’t need to go to the doctor.  I just needed to get out of my funk.  Things I used to enjoy doing were now things I shied away from.  Hanging out with my friends now became a chore.  I wanted to stay home and not do anything.  I couldn’t figure out exactly what was bothering me or why I had started to feel this way, but it was affecting my entire life.

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Oct 2

Working through the Aftermath of Divorce

Posted By iamincontrol | October 2, 2014

teenage girl
By Anonymous

Divorce: the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body. Growing up with divorced parents wasn’t entirely bad. I’m grateful that it happened when I was younger so I don’t remember the fighting and pain my older sister went through.  Looking back on how my family essentially ended, I almost wish I could go through the pain my sister went through. That way I wouldn’t have to deal with it eight years later. After my parents split, my mom started dating and that is where it all started.

Depression: severe despondency and dejection typically felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. After my mom and her boyfriend got married is when the depression really began to take over. I found myself having these horrible thoughts that I could only share with my soon to be counselor. I stopped hanging out with friends; I was lying in my bed a lot doing nothing but having these thoughts run through my head. This darkness I called it. The darkness was always there. It was there to remind me that my family wasn’t a family anymore, and I couldn’t do anything to change it.

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Sep 11

Taking Control of My Depression

Posted By iamincontrol | September 11, 2014

taking control of my depression
By Jacob

Sometimes things are hard. For me, things were the hardest during my freshman year of college. I was in a city where I didn’t know anyone, starting a major that was very difficult and stressful, away from most everyone I loved and all my friends. I felt alone. It was at this time that I began struggling with real depression issues. Depression and social anxiety were things I had struggled with in high school, but the transition to college was very difficult for me. At times it left me wondering whether or not I was ever going to be able to get out of the loneliness and stress and be happy again.

I would stay in bed for days at a time, unable to physically or mentally get myself ready to go out into the world and interact with people who seemed to have not a care in the world or anything wrong in their lives. It was hard for me to watch everyone carry on with their lives and be involved and happy and busy and think about myself, feeling like I had nobody and nothing to care about.

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Aug 21

Living with a Chronically Injured Parent

Posted By iamincontrol | August 21, 2014

By Anonymous

I grew up in a pretty typical family: mom, dad, a brother, and a sister. We always had a dog and had a couple cats along the way. My mom worked at a high school, and my dad was a construction worker. Seems like a typical American middle class family, right? Well we were, but then at the end of my sophomore year of high school my dad got hurt at work. His machine had jerked and had hurt his back. He was in a lot of pain, and the doctors told him he needed surgery. Everything was fine, he’d have the surgery and the doctors said he’d need a couple days of recovery and then he should be able to walk out of the hospital. Well that’s not quite what happened. After about a week in the hospital, they wheeled him out in a wheelchair and he came home. He was still in a lot of pain, maybe even more than before the surgery.

This began a time in my life where my dad, tough, strong, and involved, became very distant. I had a lot of questions and no one to turn to. I’m the oldest, and I took on the role of doing as much as I could for myself. It was disappointing that he couldn’t come to my activities, but there wasn’t much I could do. People would ask how he was doing often and I would tell them, “Oh, he seems to be getting a little better,” or “He’s had a quite a few bad days recently.” In reality, he wasn’t getting better, and each day seemed just the same as the last. I’d go to school, sports, work, and then come home and nothing was different. He was still sitting there, maybe playing Xbox or sleeping. Distant. No one in my family talked about it much, and we definitely didn’t talk about how we were feeling. Depression. It seemed like a cycle in a bad story, and it was never going to get better. The way that I dealt with this was to try to do everything right and hold it all together, even though I was a wreck inside. Five years later, my dad is still in pain a lot of the time and still can’t be very active or go to many events, but he’s better than he was. He’s more present in our lives, but parents from the recliner.

My advice to anyone dealing with a parent who is chronically sick or injured or a parent who is just not all present: talk to someone, preferably someone older, like a school counselor, a teacher, a family member, or a family friend. Be honest about how you are feeling and how your situation is affecting you, because it does affect you or it will. I am still dealing with the effects of that time in my life five years later. It’s tough and it hurts, but I have to come to terms with the effects it’s had on me. I’m learning to accept that there are things that I might miss out on doing with him and that there has been time lost in this process. Time I can’t get back. I have friends and mentors now that I can talk to about that time in my life and sort out my grief for how things were “supposed to be.”

Aug 12

Having the “Chicken Pox” from Ages 7-15: A Journey to Loving Myself

Posted By iamincontrol | August 12, 2014

teenage girl
By Anonymous

Growing up, I had a lot of health problems. My biggest issue was a skin problem. I was itchy all the time, covered in sores from head to toe. People were always asking me, “Do you have the chicken pox?” Some people just stared, and others just blatantly asked what was wrong with me. Since I always got these questions and weird looks, I began to hide my body by wearing sweatshirts and jeans all year round, even if it was 100 degrees outside. I could not handle the looks and questions I received from people. It would cause me to break down crying.

No doctor could figure out what was wrong with me. One dermatologist said it was eczema, another said it was atopic dermatitis; others said it was allergies, and some believed I just scratched myself because of anxiety issues.

Since no doctor knew what was wrong, I just told people I had the chicken pox. It seemed easier to tell them I had the chicken pox than say, “No one knows what’s wrong with me.” Otherwise I would scare people away. I told everyone that from the ages of 7 to 15.

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Jul 31

Dealing with Depression

Posted By iamincontrol | July 31, 2014

By Samantha

What does the word disability mean to you? For me, it means having to use a wheelchair for mobility due to the fact that I have Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a medical condition that has various effects on people ranging from slight to severe physical and/or mental conditions. Luckily, it only affects my physical capacities, and I received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University.

Despite my accomplishments, I have suffered from depression and anxiety for the past 10 years.  When I was 16 years old, I had a major back surgery, which caused a significant amount of pain. The surgery, along with the general lack of mobility, deepened my depression and anxiety about the future. Since then I have been learning strategies to cope with these symptoms of mental illness. Coping strategies that have worked for me are:

  • Focusing on how I can help others
  • Being grateful for my friends and family
  • Looking forward to the opportunities in the future
  • My spirituality
  • Reaching out to others with similar struggles and joining support groups

If you are struggling with depression, here are a couple resources to check out:

Your Life Iowa
TeensHealth: Depression

Jul 10


Posted By iamincontrol | July 10, 2014

Teenage girl
By Natalie

During my high school experience, I went through a lot of emotional issues that made me the strong person I am today. I specifically had a very hard time with bullying and aggression from girls I had once called my friends. It got so bad that things were thrown at me in school. I had Facebook pages created about me, and no one wanted to be my friend. This all spewed from a simple argument between my close group of friends (girls I had been friends with since elementary school) that spiraled out of control. I finally had enough. I became very depressed and refused to return to my high school.

I spent a year in and out of hospitals and treatment centers for my depression and emotional issues. Although this experience was extremely traumatic and life changing, it also impacted my life in a very positive way in the end. From this, I learned to be extremely forgiving and realize that some people just don’t know how to treat others. You cannot blame yourself for that. I also learned that no matter how hard a situation may be for you, there is always someone who has it worse. You have to remember that.

I have slowly become a much more mature and strong person from the events that happened throughout my time as a high school student. I am now the happiest I have ever been, and in a sense I am thankful that I went through such a hard time in high school. It taught me what a true friend is and what it means to be a true friend to someone else.

Visit the resources below for help and more information on bullying and depression:

Your Life Iowa
Love Is Louder
It Gets Better

Also, check out these other IAMincontrol posts on bullying and depression:

Overcoming Bullying & Depression
Battling Depression
Unexpected Motivation