Depression affects 20 percent of all the teens in America before they reach adulthood. Suicide rates are higher than ever before, with a teen losing a life to suicide every 100 minutes. This is sad. And this is the result of our society.

We’re taught at a young age that you must have certain things, look a certain way and behave how certain people behave in order to be loved. As a teen who went through depression, I can tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. Those thoughts of doubt about yourself and your worth as a person are just lies. And those lies will keep you from reaching your full potential.

Michaela Reinertson

Michaela Reinertson

Here are some steps that led me to freedom, and I pray they do the same for you.

Steps to deal with your depression:

1. Find the root of the depression. If your depression comes from insecurity about how you look, don’t look at fashion magazines and models. If you experience loneliness or feel insecure about being single, don’t listen to Shawn Mendes love songs. What you put in will come out, and doing things that are the cancer of your hurt will only make things worse.

2. Tell someone. The healing process didn’t begin until I wrote a letter to my mom explaining everything, including the feelings I had and the thoughts that plagued me. But once she knew how I felt, I didn’t have to hide anymore. It made me vulnerable, but in a good way. She was able to tell me truths that threw my lies out the door.

3. Find God. I also know how my freedom came to me, and it came to me through Jesus Christ. He loves you with such intimate passion, more than anyone could ever love you. He will always value you. When you find God and surrender yourself – with all your depression, anxiety and baggage – to Him, the freedom you long for is yours. And it always will be. He doesn’t want perfection. He wants you.

4. Know who you are. You are special and unique. No one in the world was created exactly like you. You were placed here for a purpose. You were given your abilities and strengths to help others. So be you.

Michaela Reinertson, 16, is a junior at Williston High School, where she is involved in women’s choir. She is passionate about worship arts, creative writing and reading libraries full of books. Michaela is the daughter of Ted and Tracee Reinertson, who are members of Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative.