Q: I can't focus on any of my work because of some past events, like not making a sports team, losing friends, family dying, grades dropping, and just plain feeling alone even though there are people around me who I would hope to consider friends. I felt like I put in a lot of time to make a certain team or get the highest grades, but something always seems to happen to bring me back down again. My parents are also pushing me to see if I want to change schools and if "it would please me" to see a therapist, as if I was some kind of madman.
I know these just sound like regular teen problems that "everyone deals with, so you're not so different!," which I'm told a lot. I feel lost.
A: You sound depressed, and that is indeed a "regular teen problem," as well as an adult one — however, it's one best treated instead of ignored. Accept your parents' offer and welcome the freedom to unburden yourself to a professional.
As for the hard work that didn't (in your opinion) pay off — I think you're being tough on yourself. Life and achievement and fulfillment are not linear. Yes, it feels good to collect a blue ribbon for your trouble, but the true value of hard work is inherent. It teaches you about yourself, including your gifts and your weaknesses; it teaches you to develop the former and strengthen or work around the latter. So there is no such thing as being "back down again" after time spent applying yourself. Please ask your parents for a depression screening, at least, as a start to reconnecting your gifts to your sense of purpose.