Information compiled by: Analicia Cass/Staff Writer
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Green ribbons symbolize support and awareness for others.
Despite what many people think, mental health disorders are common in teens. One out of five adolescents has a diagnosable mental health disorder; this includes depression disorders, anxiety disorders and severe behavior problems. (https://www.teentreatmentcenter.com/teen-mental-health-statistics) 112 of the 170 responses to a survey answered by students at GCHS recently said that a student, or someone they know, deals with depression. From the same survey, 120 out of those 170 responses answered that they, or someone they knew, dealt with anxiety.
Spreading the word about how people manage daily with a mental health issue is important in the the steps to making that rate go down. It can be beneficial to hear others’ stories and to get help to change yourself because of them. The following anonymous stories are real stories of students here at Greenfield- Central. They are stories of the students who were strong enough and brave enough to come forward and share what happened. (Please see mental health resources and phone numbers to call to get help at the end of this article.)
Without further ado, the anonymous stories of your peers:
Some days I wake up and I don’t want to get out of bed. It’s not like the typical “I’m too tired. I don’t want to go to school.” It’s like I physically can’t find the will to get out of bed. It’s the constant search to find a reason to live. Most days, I come home from school and stare at my ceiling for hours because I feel hopeless and I can’t find the motivation to do anything with my life because I’m in constant fear of failing more. I wish that my teachers knew that when I don’t get my work done; it’s not because I don’t want to do it. It’s because I can’t find the motivation to even eat some days, let alone do my school work.
I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for more than half of my life. In junior high, I started self-harming. That led to two suicide attempts and hospital visits. While I was in the hospital, I learned to channel my feelings into music. When I started high school band, the feeling of constant emptiness and numbness went away for a little while. Even though I’ve found coping skills that have kept me clean for two years, I still struggle everyday. I’m not the typical person that seems like they would struggle with this. Most people don’t know the constant fight that I’m having with myself because all they see is someone who tries hard in school, seems pretty friendly, and never gets in trouble. I wish that people didn’t form a stereotype for what those with mental health issues have to look like and act like. – Anonymous
Sixth grade was the time when I got diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Both of my parents have both of those issues, so I am clearly very likely to be stricken with it. I wrote a note to one of my friends at school saying how she “shouldn’t be friends with someone who’s going to end up dying anyway”, indicating myself. She told the teacher about the note, and long story short, I ended up going home early from school. My mom was so distraught, we had a looooooong talk when I got home. She was scared for me. I eventually was taken to the doctor and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, with corresponding anti-depressants. Now, several years later, I don’t so much struggle with my depression anymore (I usually more so in the winter months), but still my anxiety will act up easily, even with taking the anti-depressants. My mind will wonder with so many “what ifs” and far-fetched possibilities that will probably not even happen. I’ve let that mindset pull me back from doing things I could’ve had the time of my life doing. What I’ve learned with having these mental issues is that the fact of HAVING them does not make you a stronger person. It’s how you still DEAL with everyday problems like a normal person would, not letting your mental issues be a crutch to fall back on or an excuse. – Anonymous
Growing up I felt pretty worthless. Like maybe I just annoyed everyone. I felt guilty for feeling certain ways. Several years ago, I started to self harm after a bullying incident. I kept to myself shutting family and friends out. I thought it would be best that way. Keep others away from me. I thought I was protecting them. I hated myself and who I was. I was able to go to a really good retreat in 2016 and tell my parents about my problem. I was never clinically diagnosed with depression until recently. I went to counseling for a couple of months and that helped a lot. I thought I was done with all of that. But life hit me again. I started feeling lonely. My eating and sleeping patterns changed drastically, and still I kept to myself. The feeling of guilt kept coming back to me. I thought maybe I was just feeling a little sad and it will pass. This went on for a few months. Finally I got to the point where I almost committed suicide. I was so close, but I talked myself out of it. Like maybe if I waited a little longer I will be ok. Those extra few minutes saved my life. Couple days later I felt so wore down by keeping this secret that I told my parents. It wasn’t easy and I don’t think it is for anyone. Because you still have this feeling of guilt, but you know that getting help is the best option for everyone. So recently I was diagnosed with depression and social anxiety. It hit me hard and I was scared of what was going to happen. I was scared of what others would think of me. I was already self conscious of who I was and this just added on to it. I started taking the medication and my diet and sleep improved a ton. I’m still battling the war inside my head everyday. It’s exhausting because every day I have to fight with the monsters inside me. Because of my mental illness I’ve learned to be more compassionate, kind, and open minded. Yes it’s sucked, but in a way I wouldn’t change myself for the world. Kindness is so important in this world today, especially with the rise of teen depression. So smile at others in the hall and compliment each other best you can because what you say can make someone’s day. – Anonymous
I was abused as a child and I struggle with many mental issues including but not limited to the ones aforementioned. Some days are harder than others and with mental issues comes bad thoughts which makes it hard to even get through the day. I am currently on medication for my depression. I’m getting help, and I have a family who supports me. The only person who can fix/adapt mental issues is you. There is no miracle cure, just work within oneself to overcome struggles both inside and out. – Anonymous
I have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and severe anxiety since I was a pre-teen. It has progressively gotten worse as the years go by and I have been on a few different medications. I cry very often and feel hopeless most days. I really just wish that I could handle my emotions like a normal human being. I feel so isolated from everyone and I feel that no one truly understands me and that I’ll never have true friends. I feel judged and disliked by nearly everyone at school and finding the motivation to get out of bed is a struggle. I feel that I push people that care about me away because I am so afraid of being hurt. I recently told my ex-best friend about my eating disorder and she basically just told me to eat and that it would go away. She didn’t even want to hear it. I am struggling through each and everyday and I feel so empty. I hope that someone can read this and maybe relate and not feel so alone. – Anonymous
I am 16 and have already gone through so much in my life. The problem is that no one wants to listen for that reason. Because I am young my problems aren’t taken seriously. They are shrugged off as being “just that age” or that it is “something everyone has.” I have Bipolar disorder and can’t help when I lash out. I can be incredibly happy one moment, frustrated for no reason the nest, or wanting to not leave my bed all day. It doesn’t help my family at all and I try to apologize. They just don’t get it. They can’t see that when I can’t leave the bed it isn’t because I am lazy, but rather not able to shut my head off about negative thoughts. I weigh 130 pounds and I am 5’6. I get called fat on a constant basis by my peers because I have this very little amount of bloating in my stomach every morning. It goes down after a while, but the comments said by others don’t. I have to make sure now that when I look in the mirror that my stomach isn’t “clinging” onto the fabric because it isn’t toned. I can’t wear shorts because then my stretch marks from growing will show and I am immediately labeled as fat. I have scars all down my back and can’t let them show because they are ugly. This is why kids today are having problems. People aren’t making a effort to try and understand what’s happening. People only want to hear what they want and give you their unneeded comments along with it. – Anonymous
My childhood was kinda rough. My parents were divorced when I was three and when I was five my dad’s girlfriend at the time had abused me.Then everything calmed down after a few years. Until everything had caught up with me in junior high. My father hasn’t really been there for me that much and I had found out why my parents had gotten a divorce. Once I got to high school I got a boyfriend and we were fine for awhile until he pressured me into sex and then he would mentally and physically abuse me. We were off and on until i was fed up with him hurting me. I don’t know where a lot of my depression came from. All I remember is it just slowly coming on and my anxiety happened at the end freshman year and the beginning of sophomore year – Anonymous
I wasn’t diagnosed with both anxiety and ADHD until the third grade. I was bullied and felt like I didn’t fit in until I got treated for both things which is medication. I have to take medication everyday for my ADHD and if I forget to take it I become very agitated with myself and others which causes the anxiety. I have learned to cope with both things by take a minute if needed to calm down and to collect my thoughts. ADHD causes what I call swimming thoughts, which in the mind is like having 3,000 tabs open at once which slows the brain down just like it would with a computer. Then that causes agitation because you are trying to focus on to many things at once which then causes the anxiety but I have learned to cope by taking medication and then taking a minute to collect my thoughts. – Anonymous
These are the stories of your peers, your students, your friends, etc. There are nearly 100 more stories of people who have dealt with certain mental health issues, some since they were pre-teens. It is a real issue and many are afraid to speak up. Thank you to those who responded. Thank you to those who help someone with a mental health issue. Thank you for being strong enough to share your story. Even though you can’t necessarily see the internal struggle in someone, people can be dealing with many issues in their lives.
Please, if you need help: on the school home page click Safe Schools to anonymously report an issue:
Suicide/Crisis Hotline – 1-800-273-TALK
Crisis Texting Hotline – 74141
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
DCS hotline: 1-800-800-5556
Here are some local resources for you to use as well. All of these places accept numerous insurance plans:
- The Landing (Healing Hearts program, Rise Above it events, SMART recovery program, etc.)
- Mental Health Partners (teen support group)
- Healthy 365 (http://www.behealthy365.org/)
- Community Behavioral Health (offers weekly support group meetings for mental health)
- Oases Counseling (offers mental health and addiction treatment)
- Families First (offers mental health therapy in groups or individual sessions)