lexie jayne asks: I am a teenager who lost my parents 2 years back. I always feel that I am so left out, and I get depressed easily. Can you please help me?
Oh Lexie Jayne, I am so very very sorry! People are programmed to believe that their parents will be around forever, at least until they grow into adulthood. And to lose even one parent is just devastating for any teenager, but to lose both… I’m just so sorry. If I could, I’d lay my head in your lap and look straight up into your eyes and let you know that I understand. After all, I haven’t seen either of my parents since I was a very very young puppy, just weeks old. But I know that your pain is far worse than mine.
Now let me say one thing here, about your question. All teenagers often feel left out, and get depressed. Even if it doesn’t look that way when you see them at school or around town. I mean it, all of them do. It’s just that you have a far better reason for it than most of them.
So I wish I could give you lots of advice, but I can really only tell you two things. First of all, just know that you’re not alone. Everyone loses people they love, everyone grieves, and everyone who knows your situation will know that you’re going through a terribly painful and difficult time.
And second, I’m so glad you wrote me, and I’ll be honored to do anything I can to help you anytime. But I’m not enough. You deserve more. If there’s any way you can get to a therapist, or a counselor at school, or someone at your place of worship, someone who you really trust, who can help you, that’s what you need most. And I don’t just mean today, or this week. You’re going to have a tougher road than most other kids, for at least the rest of your teenage years. You need someone you can talk with and count on, who’ll be able to see and hear you, and really understand you, in ways I just can’t do over the Internet.
And so… well, I guess I could add one third thought. If you’re up to it and you can, where you’re living now… I’d suggest you get a dog! I’ve just seen your letter and want to be there for you, but a real dog would be the best friend you could ever have. It would feel what you’re going through, and be so supportive and unconditionally loving, you could never feel quite as left out as you do now. Because even if the whole human race disappoints you, that dog will be there. And when you’re depressed, that dog will be there.
In fact, I can’t promise this, but lots of people who get dogs after someone close to them dies end up feeling that the dog is in touch with the departed. Maybe the dog would be something like a messenger or even a proxy for your parents.
So again, please know I’m feeling for you, and almost all people will too. But the best things to do for yourself are to get an adult who can help you through all you’re going through, and, if possible, a knuckleheaded pooch who can remind you how wonderful life is.
Please do stay in touch,