Hi, I am 17 years old and I'm worried that I might be depressed. It just seems like I have lost interest in every activity I used to love, it's hard for me to feel any kind of emotion anymore... it doesn't really matter what I do, listen to music, look at art, read a book, whatever. I just can't make an emotional connection with the things I used to respond strongly to. It's the same with people, I can get along alright and everything, I just don't feel any particular way about them. Last year I was really driven and motivated about life, I had all these wonderful aspirations about what I wanted to do with my future, and now it all looks like something that might never happen. I have no friends or social life outside of my family and this really bothers me. Sometimes I feel really alone, and I start crying for no reason, or I cry about something no one else would; One day I just looked at my dog sleeping and that's all it took. I've thought about seeing a doctor or counselor about this but I don't even know how to find one, I'm not in public school so I can't see a school counselor or anything. I'm at a point where my whole life is ahead of me and I should be excited about life, but all I feel is doubt and anxiety, any advice about what to do would really be appreciated, thanks.
17 is an extremely hard age as there is alot of pressure in making the transition from child to adult and trying to figure out where you fit into this world. Don't write off your future these wonderful aspirations and motivation will return it's just something is blocking them at the moment. When I was in the pit of depression I also lost motivation and all hope for the future, it is almost like depression gets into your head pushes aside your dreams and personality and replaces it with misery. It is hard work but can be fought off, there is no quick or easy answer as to how to do this because it is very different for each person but when you fully understand it you can start fighting it.
I am not a doctor and can only speak from my own experience but from what you mention it sounds more than likely that you are suffering from a depressive and/or anxiety based illness and seeing a counsellor would be a very benficial step in figuring this out, I don't know how it works in the US but in England you 1st go and see your GP who will refer you to a counsellor.
I would also really recommend reading a book called 'feeling good' by David Burns. It talks a great deal about CBT which deals with changing the thought patterns which are dangerous to our well being, I find it extremely helpful. Regular exercise and healthy eating, even when you don't particularly feel like it will help. Making friends is not something that comes easily to some people (myself included) but there are techniques that can help you make that initial contact and believe me it gets easier. I was extremely shy at school and had few friends but since have learnt body language and confidence tricks which makes social situations easier, I feel such a brilliant sense of achievement and pride now everytime I make a new friend or have a great conversation with someone new as when I was your age I wouldn't have thought this possible. Don't put too much pressure on yourself internet friends could be a good first step followed by people who you have common interests with.
School is a v difficult time for lots of people, I would not go back to being 17 even if you paid me!!! hang in there things will get better.