Everyone expects teen angst. But what do you do when that crosses over into something more serious? A national survey by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that 11.4% of twelve to seventeen year olds were depressed in 2014.
I was one of them. My family couldn’t get through to me. When I was fifteen, I stopped going to school altogether, tired of trying. I didn’t know what to do; I couldn’t imagine a future for myself. I just assumed I’d be dead before adulthood.
A year later, I considered myself mildly neurotic but otherwise mentally healthy. I was a full-time student at Austin Community College, I only cried a few times a month, and I was almost ready to run my first 5k.
My book answers the question everyone’s been asking me since:
Advice I Ignored is a catalogue of everything I had to learn about myself so I could finally feel okay. It’s an illustrated book of embarrassing stories, honest advice, and fierce hope. I believe that even people at rock bottom can force their lives to change.
I think it’s important that teenagers have a voice in teenage mental health. When I was depressed, I just wanted someone to understand what I was going through. Everyone who wrote about teenage depression seemed to think I was still playing on a Game Cube and only cared about prom. They were all about seventy years old, with big gray beards and no idea how I actually viewed the world.
Whereas books that weren’t specifically about depression were frankly just too hard. It’s like someone recommending you designer shoes when there is a rusty nail sticking right through your foot. This might be fine advice, but you are assuming a lot of things about how okay I am right now.
So I decided to cut through the BS and write the book I wanted to read.
Each chapter of Advice I Ignored is broken into three parts, as I think the process of taking advice is:
- Hearing good advice. (An essay.)
- Convincing yourself it’s important. (A personal story.)
- Figuring out how to actually take it. (Step-by-step instructions.)
It’s been a roller coaster of insecurity, doubt, and reminding myself to take my own damn advice, but Advice I Ignored is available as a paperback and a Kindle ebook RIGHT NOW!