Beating Depression as a Teenager

Hello! My name is Valentina Bostick and I’ve struggled in the past with depression and anxiety. I still struggle now, but significantly less. I’m going to share my story and how I got out of that dark hole.

Some facts about me:

- My name is Valentina Bostick

- I’m 17 years old (Senior in highschool)

- I enjoy chess, reading, writing, and hanging out with friends

I have my own website -

I blog about depression, anxiety, mental illnesses and mental health. In addition, I have a section called ‘Getting Your Life Together’, where I talk about life tips, mindset, habits, and so much more in order to help you improve your life

What was the catalyst for my mental illnesses?

My father died from a heart attack when I was in the 5th grade (I was 10). No one expected it and everyone was very surprised when they heard about his passing. And everyone who knew him took it hard, especially me.

My parents had been divorced for years and my mum had an apartment across the city while my father kept the big house where my sister and I grew up. My mother didn’t have the money nor the willpower to take care of such a house, so my sister and I permanently started living with her in her apartment (we alternated weekends before).

Now, my father played a significant role in my life - he took care of us while my mum was at her 9 to 5 job, he picked us up every day after school, and he was the reason I became interested in chess in the first place.

When he died, it absolutely destroyed me. Since I was so young at the time, I’ve never had the misfortune of experiencing the death of someone I loved. Additionally, my mother never made the effort to talk to my sister and I about it. I felt very, very alone.

How did his death affect my life in the years ahead?

I didn’t know it then, but I became depressed. The girl who was friends and outgoing with everyone in elementary school slowly started to lose contact with everyone in middle school.

I still had (and made) other friends, but I found it difficult to talk to anyone. Even a simple hello took sapped all of my energy. I didn’t see the point in talking to anyone.

To make things worse, because of how I performed on my standardized tests in elementary school, I was put in honors classes and I even skipped a year of math. Everyone knew I was smart. I knew it too - but I gradually stopped caring about school. All it did was make me socialize with people I didn’t like and sit in classrooms where I was bored.

Because of the report cards that were sent out a couple times a semester, my mum found out that my grades were ‘terrible’ (in reality, they weren’t that bad). I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t find the place in my heart where I cared. Everything tired me out. Getting up in the morning was a struggle all in itself.

My mum started grounding me as a punishment. I didn’t have a phone, so she started taking away my tablet, which was my only escape from everything. When she saw I still didn’t do my school work, she started to ground me for longer and longer periods of time. I eventually gave up on trying to get back my tablet.

Instead of being on my tablet all of the time, I started to read. In second grade, I was able to read at a High School level and by the time I graduated elementary school, I could read at a college level.

I found that reading for school and reading for pleasure are two very different things, and I enjoyed the latter immensely. I started reading anything I could get my hands on. Young adult novels (most of the jokes went over my head, but I enjoyed them nevertheless), Harry Potter, Hunger Games, anything - you name it, I’ve read it.