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Why Is My Teenager Feeling Like This?: A Guide for Helping Teens through Anxiety and Depression

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Unlock the Chains of Anxiety or Depression

Have you ever looked at your anxious or depressed teenage son or daughter and wondered, Why is my teenager feeling like this?

In this companion guide to his book for teens Why Am I Feeling Like This?, pastor and counselor David Murray offers spiritual encouragement and practical direction for parents and other adults who want to help but don't know where to start. Structured around eighteen real-life examples, Murray provides tips for having open conversations with teens about anxiety and depression, as well as discussion questions, Bible verses for memorization, and prayers. With these tools in hand, parents and teenagers alike will be equipped to experience freedom from the chains of anxiety and depression.

Read Chapter 1


Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Is My Teenager Feeling Like This?

Part 1
Who Gets Anxiety and Depression?
What Causes Anxiety and Depression?
What Can We Do about Anxiety and Depression?

Part 2
1. Circular Sarah
2. Tense Tom
3. Doomed Dave
4. Imaginative Imogen
5. Panicky Paul
6. Faithless Flavia
7. Controlling Colin
8. Depressed Dan
9. Negative Nicole
10. Workaholic Will
11. Beautiful Brianna
12. Media Max
13. Friendly Fiona
14. Bullied Benton
15. Rebellious Rob
16. Perfect Peyton
17. Paralyzed Pam
18. Lonely Luke

Conclusion: Growing Freedom



David Murray (PhD, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) is professor of Old Testament and practical theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He is also a counselor, a regular speaker at conferences, and the author of Exploring the Bible. David and his wife, Shona, attend Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church.



“In a day and age when many parents, even Christian ones, feel as though they are ill-equipped to parent their children facing all sorts of issues, along comes David Murray to give us a powerful parental tool in shepherding our children who battle anxiety and depression. With this book (and the accompanying student version), parents no longer have to be or feel ill-prepared to navigate such overwhelming issues. I just wish I had this book years ago.” - Ed Stetzer, Executive Director, Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, Wheaton College

“Parenting is good for our prayer lives, we find, especially when sons and daughters are navigating the many anxieties that seem to coincide with the teenage years. David Murray has the practical experience and spiritual wisdom to help. Based in biblical truth and at the same time sensitive to the psychological and physiological complexities of human emotions, Murray’s companion guides tell real-life stories that empower teens and their parents to understand their feelings, care well for one another, and take concrete steps toward healing together.” - Phil and Lisa Ryken, President, Wheaton College, and his wife, Lisa Ryken

“In this book, David Murray comes alongside parents who may be willfully naive about or find themselves completely overwhelmed by how to help their child deal with depression, offering understandable explanations of the issues and equipping them for important conversations.” - Nancy Guthrie, Bible teacher; author, Even Better than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything about Your Story

“Parents are the most influential and important individuals in their teenager’s life. But often parents struggle because they just don't understand what their teen is feeling. This can be especially true of parents of teens dealing with anxiety and depression. In Why Is My Teenager Feeling Like This?, Murray provides a remarkable resource for those parents. Thoroughly researched and filled with practical, biblical strategies, this is an absolute must-read for parents who want to help their struggling teen more effectively.” - Jaquelle Crowe Ferris, Founder and COO, The Young Writer; author, This Changes Everything

“Parenting a teen who is riddled with anxiety or depression can be a daunting and overwhelming journey. Parents are often plagued by questions: How did this happen? Did I cause this? Has God abandoned us? In his compelling resource for parents, Why Is My Teenager Feeling Like This?, David Murray restores hope by providing both practical insight and meaningful strategies that promote healthy change. This is a must-read for parents navigating the darkness of depression or anxiety!” - Emilie DeYoung, Supervisor for Child and Adolescent Counseling, Family Wellness Center, Zeeland, Michigan

“With anxiety and depression at an all-time high in today’s teens, this book could not come at a more crucial time. As someone who battled anxiety and depression as a teen and now navigates it with her own child, I found Why Is My Teenager Feeling Like This? to be an extremely practical, helpful, biblical, and hopeful book. Rather than giving spiritually cliché answers to a complex and multilayered issue, David Murray compassionately walks alongside hurting and overwhelmed parents, offering clarity, understanding, and wise counsel in how to better understand their teens’ unique battles with anxiety and depression, as well as providing the practical and spiritual tools to support them through it. Whether you have a teen or want to prepare for the teen years, this book is a must-read. And you never know, you might even see yourself in these pages and find a path toward your own healing along the way.” - Sarah Walton, coauthor, Hope When It Hurts and Together through the Storms

“This book has opened our eyes to the real nature of our son’s struggle with anxiety and depression. It has helped us to communicate with him more effectively, empathize more lovingly, and turn our hearts from criticism to encouragement and understanding. It has made a difference in our relationship with our son, our family, and, most importantly, with Christ! The practical exercises not only helped our son but are also making an impact in our own lives as well. If you have a child who is fighting for hope, meaning, and relief from the death grip of anxiety and depression, we highly recommend this book!” - Layne and Tanya, parents of a teenager

“I wish I had this book when I first entered youth ministry. David Murray’s discussion of who gets anxiety and depression, what causes these feelings, and what we can do to help teens we care about is compassionate, insightful, and tremendously helpful. His extensive list of tools to help teens toward healing is excellent, but his advice on how to partner with teens and how to walk alongside them in the process is what makes this book so valuable. Why Is My Teenager Feeling Like This? offered insights into my own moments of anxiety while also giving me practical wisdom for caring for teens.” - Christopher Walker, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

“Whether you are unfamiliar or well-acquainted with anxiety and depression, David Murray’s Why Is My Teenager Feeling Like This? will equip you with practical tools and theological truth as you shepherd your teen. I know I will return to this book when I’m anxious or when I need to support a loved one who is. Highly recommend it!” - Kristen Wetherell, author, Fight Your Fears; coauthor, Hope When It Hurts