I first saw a psychiatrist for my anxiety and depression as a junior in high school.
During her evaluation, she asked about my coursework. I told her that I had a 4.0 GPA and had filled my schedule with pre-AP and AP classes. A puzzled look crossed her face. She asked about my involvement in extracurricular activities. As I rattled off the long list of groups and organizations I was a part of, her frown creased further.
Finally, she set down her pen and looked at me, saying something along the lines of “You seem to be pretty high-functioning, but your anxiety and depression seem pretty severe. Actually, its teens like you who scare me a lot.”
When we see depression and anxiety in adolescents, we see teens struggling to get by in their day-to-day lives. We see grades dropping, and we see involvement replaced by isolation. But it doesnt always look like this.
And when we limit our idea of mental illness, at-risk people slip through the cracks.
We dont see the student with the 4.0 GPA or the student whos active in choir and theater or a member of the National Honor Society or the ambitious teen who takes on leadership roles in a religious youth group.