“What were you thinking: Inside Riley’s head”

What were you thinking podcast homepage. Photo credit: Adamaris Reyes

Adamaris Reyes ’19

Have you ever questioned, whether you’re an adult or a teenager, what exactly goes through our teenage brain when making decisions? The recently new podcast, “What Were you Thinking” gives you a glimpse of what exactly happens to teenagers when making certain choices. It’s “a show about kid’s decisions, their developing brains, and what might we be able to do to help them make better choices.”  Specifically, episode three tilted “After Riley” speaks the truth about depression, why it occurs, and how certain events impact a teen’s way of thinking, more specifically how these three things impacted our main victim: Riley.

This episode focuses on Riley Winter, a fifteen year old  teenage girl who commited suicide on May 2016 in Colorado Springs. The whole episode tries to solve a mystery on why Riley, although a normal teen with a good life and loving family, decided to take her own life. Her family still mourns her death and her mother states the following, “She…she was beautiful, she was loving, she was smart, she was a typical teenager.” As you listen to the podcast you’ll discover that Riley wasn’t the only one that had committed suicide, but “dozens of kids”  who she knew through social media, that had also committed suicide, along with another close friend of Riley. The amount of suicides that Colorado Springs has “is so many that it’s hard to remember who died when.” Which brings us to my first point, according to the podcast most people would say that depression is the cause of many to take their lives, however, as mentioned in the podcast, the “vast majority of people that are depressed don’t die by suicide, they don’t even attempt suicide.” Riley’s choice to take her own life wasn’t due to depression, but her emotions and surroundings.

The narrator further takes us along with her to discover how emotions and surroundings take place. It seems that teens or adolescents enter a phase in their life where they begin to question themselves. As teenagers what really matters to us now is what other people think about us, “Adolescents on the other hand are, ‘what the world thinks of them they are.” It’s important to recognize that when we enter this stage it can be difficult for us to manage a positive view about things in general that occur in our life. Especially when the teenage brain goes through emotional distress.   This could be one cause for the numerous deaths that these teens from Colorado Springs faced. And yet there is another possibility, it could be that because these deaths were so close in time many felt impacted by the grief and chose to kill themselves.

Overall I completely recommend checking this podcast out! If you’re into science and psychology this is definitely something to look into to. The amount of research and interviews that are heard in this podcast are so many that it is hard to explain every single one of them in this article. That is why I leave it up to you to give it a listen and discover what goes on in our brain.

  • View on Itunes
  • Category: Science and Culture
  • Cost: Free