TEENS MENTAL HEALTH JOURNEY'S

If you want to share your experience with mental health as a teen and how you cope and battle feel free to write an excerpt and send it in on Instagram or to the website email, and it will be posted below. This is meant to be a place where teens can see that they are not alone and that there are plenty of us struggling. Can be anonymous.

*Disclaimer: Some stories may be triggering to individuals, and I caution you to read at your own risk. Trigger warnings for different high acuity topics are displayed below. 

D.P- 17

"I don't normally do this since it's a pretty deep-rooted topic for me, but I just wanted to share how far I've come. 2 years ago, I didn't come out to anyone, barely anyone about my mental health. It was s**t to put it simply and looking back I realized that I was struggling and when I finally got some sort of help... It didn't work out either. My school therapist and counselor were nice of course, but... they never gave me advice which is what I needed. So, after more tortuous events, over quarantine, I had more time to think over myself. Slowly, I healed, and I healed faster than I thought. When I went to hybrid, I was so happy and confident in myself. Now, that I'm in junior year, I'm even better. I've discovered so many new and supportive people, I've kept in touch with old friends, I've been exercising and keeping up with school work to the best of my degree. I even got through December, which for me was really hard, since my mind was programmed to try and repeat the traumatic events that happened earlier in freshman year. So yeah, I'm pretty happy with myself and I wanted to share."

L.B- 17

"Oh boy, really where do I even start. Mental health has been something that has followed me around since a very young age. Growing up I had extremely high levels of anxiety, to the point where I could not talk. I was sent to numerous counselors, therapists, and overtime learned to cope and handle my anxiety. I believe that one of the most powerful things I ever learned was using the power of your own voice. I wont lie being in high school is difficult and at times can feel like the end of the world. So much pressure, expectations, relationship issues, that eventually you learn only your peers truly understand what you are going through. My advice to anyone struggling as a teen is to reach out to your counselors, parents, trusted adults, and really utilize your resources. It will feel like you are alone up against the world, but the harder you look the more you will realize the amount of people who truly want to be always there for you. It will get better, and one day you will be able to look back and smile at how far you have come."

L.K- 16

"I've always had really good mental health and never thought I'd struggled. Over the past year though I started to feel super sad, unmotivated, and empty. It got really difficult. I kept up with healthy coping mechanisms by journaling, reading, going to the gym, and working out. I recently started therapy to help me even further. I'm still struggling and trying to figure out why I feel so lost. I know I'm not alone but thank you to programs like teen.self.health. I'm able to feel supported and not as lost."

B.B- 19

"Mental health is a tricky subject to pin down, especially when one is facing new horizons everyday – such as the journey throughout higher academia. When I graduated high school, if I had to rank my mental health on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being perfect and 1 being horrible, I would’ve put it at about an 8. I was confident in myself and while nervous for the future, I knew that I could take on any challenge that the world threw at me. Throughout high school, my primary coping method for dealing with stress had always been gaming and sports, allowing myself to exercise things other than my conscious, and thus granting myself an avenue to vent my emotions. College however, flipped that all on its head. Being away from home, in a land without friends, meant that now the best way to relax was to find people to talk to about random subjects – a fact I quickly found out. Whether it was after a class, in the gym, or even just during dinner, having people to chat to and an avenue to take my mind off academic worries was, and is to this day, a super helpful destress tool that allows me to clear my thoughts and take a moment to enjoy life. So, while my primary mental challenges (academic pressure and work beyond education) have remained mostly the same across the years, the methods of coping with those challenges have changed drastically."

N.P- 17

"Throughout my middle school years, I have struggled a lot with self-acceptance. I always felt that I was never good enough because I didn’t have many friends or good grades. I am now in 11 grade and throughout the years I have been able to accept who I am and I know that if someone doesn’t like me for me then they are not worth my time. I have also learned that academic validation is not worth the stress it tolls on my mental health. In the everyone will graduate and have a job. It is so important to be healthy and happy. I hope this helps :)"

Z.G- 16

"I’ve struggled with my mental health for the last couple of years, especially last year, and it helped me to surround myself with people that uplifted my mood and distracted me even if it was just for a little bit. I also found that reading helped me cope a lot because I was able to focus my mind on something else for a long period of time without being mentally draining. Also, When i was struggling with my mental health i found myself to be really tired all the time and not having the motivation to do anything, so by finding small things to look forward to everyday it was easier for me to get up everyday in the morning and get things done."

P.L- 17

"I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at the ripe age of 12. I’m 17 now and ever since then it’s been a battle. The first thing I can tell you is that whatever you are feeling or are experiencing is valid. There is nothing worse than feeling horrible and not letting yourself accept that. With recovery, therapy is important- and it works. It’s crucial to find the right therapist who will be an ally and advocate for you. Medication is something to consider, everyone who has tried antidepressants or anxiety medication will tell you something different, but it’s worth a shot. Make sure to really self assess to make sure the medication doesn’t make you feel worse. Prioritize yourself, it’s ok to be selfish or “lazy” if it means helping you feel less miserable, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Lastly, make goals! This helped me look to the future and look forward to the small things. It can be as small as promising yourself Dairy Queen at the end of the week or having a movie night with friends. Always remember that you are loved."

E.T- 16

TW: Eating Disorder   "Over the course of the past 4 years, I have spent a endless amount of time in and out of hospitals, counselors' offices, and doctor's offices all trying to fix what was going on inside my mind. So weird if you think about it because there is not anything wrong physically with you, but something inside your head messes with you and it becomes a constant battle against yourself. I have struggled with anorexia, and it has been something that I never thought would be so hard to truly recover. Many people are embarrassed or afraid to talk about this disease, but it really has me wanting to spread the word on my experience and let other teens know that there will be hope, and you can recover. The only thing that helped me in the end was myself, because you have to want to help yourself before anyone else can even make an impact on your decisions. I hope that anyone reading this knows that even if you are going through a rough patch in life right now there are so many outlets and different ways to get help. You will get better, and one day it will all be a distant memory."

ANONYMOUS- 18

"I have always been in “that group” in high school and middle school. I grew up with the kids who became popular so naturally I just went with them. They move like a unit. If I have learned anything from “being in that group” it’s that they create drama and hide their real issues. I have always felt like my mental health issues were not valid because I didn’t think they were a big deal and that anyone would care about them. However, over COVID when school was online, I was alone. I began to realize who my real friends were when I didn’t have the urge to stay in contact with a lot of people who I really thought were my friends. The people who would check in with me regularly and make sure I was doing alright are the ones that are close to me today in the present. If there is something you need to know its that when you surround yourself with people you have to decide whether these people, make you feel good or whether they reflect a bad image onto yourself. Believe it or not others can affect your mental health and its not just you. We all wish we could just tell people how they are supposed to feel, but really the mind works in mysterious ways. Learn from your mistakes, reach out to people, and don’t lose hope."

K.C- 16

"Mental Health has been a constant battle especially in the times we’re in now. With everything going on with the spread of Covid-19, it leaves many unanswered questions like if everything will be shut down again or if you’ll test positive for Covid. This heightens my level of anxiety just hoping things will go back to normal soon. Things that have helped me cope are distractions. I like to listen to music and this helps me focus on the song rather than on whatever it is I’m worried about. I also like to play games or watch movies. This helps me think about what is going on in the game or movie instead of on whatever I’m anxious about."

M.S- 15

"Negativity & Sadness These Past Year/Years has recently changed into Positivity & Self Love Which Created Goals & Future Plans. Through school, making friends, and being surrounded with loved ones again I have regained a sense of happiness and strength."

C.S- 15

"Over the years I have never been one to really focus on mental health. It has always been something that has come and go, but over Covid it really struck me with how bad my mental health really is. It scared me because I did not know what to do or how to fix it since it has never been something I was challenged to deal with in the past. I am not close with my family and did not want to be perceived weak, so it did not feel like an option to reach out and ask for help. I channeled my stress and depression through journaling, reading, and pushing myself to find new hobbies that I have never been interested in before. I guess now looking back at where I was at the time it would of been a lot easier to tell a trusted adult, but at the time I really did not feel that I had that option in my life. Now I am here in the moment working hard to better myself and those around me. I wish there were more places like this website where I could come to understand that I was not alone, and there are plenty of resources to help you- you just have to find them."

ANONYMOUS- 13

"3 words is all I ever tell myself: keep on fighting"

B.R- 18

"I sat here for 15 minutes after being asked to write about my mental health story. Like what on earth. I don’t really want to expose myself and how messed up my brain is, but at the same time I want teens to know that they are not alone and I to struggled and had my rough patches. I started vaping when I was a sophomore in high school. Mainly to fit in, but overtime I realized that I was no longer using this thing to “fit in”, I was addicted. It seems stupid because everyone says nicotine isn’t addictive, but the truth is it really is. I realized that when I started wasting over $60 a month of literal air, I had a problem. But for starters I wasn’t about to tell my parents, I mean are you kidding me. Instead of saying wow that sucks they would take away all my stuff and ground me the truth was while I wanted to quit, I also wanted to keep going. It got me so relaxed and transported me into a world where I felt calm and safe. What really made me change was thinking about what younger me would have thought. I mean what would little Brian say if he saw that the only thing that brought the teeniest bit of joy anymore was harming his body. After lots of fighting I realized there were resources, and coping skills to help stop this addiction and I worked really hard to put it to an end. Sure, there were times where I relapsed and they were never pretty, but the fact is that there is always hope and being able to find the smallest wire to cling to during the storm might just save you room to see the rainbow at the end."

ANONYMOUS- 19

TW: suicide ideation. "In my junior year of high school, I hit the lowest point in my mental health that I have ever experienced. I wanted to kill myself. Now not to use this word lightly because suicide and killing yourself are not a joke. The amount of people who make fun of it at my school don’t take in the truth that there are so many people you don’t even know suffering from suicide ideation. For months I would cry myself to sleep, have no one to talk to, and felt like I was on my own isolated island. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I did not want them to pity me, but at the same time I just wanted one person to be able to understand how I felt. I had a plan, I had means, and all I had left was the small part of my brain telling me not to do it. Some days were worse than others, but eventually I decided to confide in one person: my school counselor. I have never had much experience reaching out to others and doing that was very uncomfortable and intimidating for me. Overtime my counselor provided me with endless resources, introduced me to my therapist, and became one of the most trusted adults I have in my life. I came to understand that my life was to precious to take and I would soon blossom into a new part of my life that I didn’t know existed."

ANONYMOUS- 18

"I have never shared this with anyone, and don’t plan on it because to be honest, I am not sure if this is even something that is real. I discovered a while ago that I really do feel depressed. I am constantly in a dull mood, rarely get excited about anything, and typically feel as if nothing matters. So why do I feel that this is not a valid concern? I still function, I go to school, go to practice, hang with my family. I live your typical teenage life. Yet, I can’t bring any emotions into how I am feeling. I have looked it up before and they classify this depression as high functioning. I just feel embarrassed that I am this well put together individual, but then I have lingering depression. I guess I am not sure how to go about it, or whom I should tell, but for the mean time I am working on figuring out more about this type of depression, and how people combat it."

J.K- 17

"Yesterday I counted how many words I said at school. Twice I spoke a sentence to two of my teachers and exchanged a couple words with one of my partners in class. I am a shy person, and barely speak at school. At lunch I eat alone in my car. Sometimes I am embarrassed by the fact that I eat alone, and am so quiet, but at the same time I am not sure if I would want it any different. Overtime I think that I have learned its important to do what you feel comfortable with, and not change for other people or because you are embarrassed."

E. P- 18

"This is not the standard layout of the rest of these stories about mental health, but I wanted to share something that drastically changed my own life: music. I am sure you have all listened to music, but this is more about how it helps me get through my life on the daily. Last year I saved up and bought myself a pair of air pods. Overtime I gradually started wearing them everything. Its bad, but sometimes I even keep them on in class. I am not the most social person and would classify myself as shy. Having these air pods and listening to music transports me into this different world. Music helps me to connect with my feelings, build my confidence, and calms me down. If it was not for these air pods, I don’t know how I would have been able to make it through my sophomore year of high school. I encourage anyone who is in high school to create a playlist of their favorite songs so whenever they are feeling stressed, worried, angry, etc. they can pop in their headphones and relax to some of their favorite beats."