What’s Going On in My Head?

Chloe Stearns, Health/Lifestyle Editor

Mental illness is something that many teens struggle with, but rarely get any help. Many struggle daily with mental issues like depression and anxiety as well as other diseases and unfortunately the suicide rates for teens have increased in the past ten years.

Teens are forced to hold their mental illnesses in because of its unacceptability in schools and in life in general.

Cassie Lewis told Woodside World, “My dad doesn’t believe in depression and would constantly tell me that I should stop being lazy and staying up too late because I never had the motivation to do anything that I later learned was because I had depression.”

These preconceived notions about mental illness cause teens to internally struggle and essentially lead to suicide in some cases.

Paige Case, a junior at Saint Francis, struggles daily with social anxiety and depression. These are the most common mental illnesses in teenagers. Paige has had years of hardships with fitting in and meeting new people.

“When I get really anxious, usually when meeting new people, I get really quiet and my whole body shakes and that leads to me having a panic attack,” she described.

Joy Lin, a teen therapist in Los Gatos, witnesses teenagers struggling with mental illness everyday.

“Lots of teenagers have panic attacks when the stress of school and life become too much. When someone has depression and anxiety, they balance each other out, so when one decreases, the other increases making it harder to recover and feel better,” explained Joy.

The ups and downs of mental illnesses occur more frequently during the school year because of the hectic schedules and the high stress environment.

Paige said, “I also have depression and began to self harm in middle school. This was a way for me to distract myself from the internal pain and focus on the pain on my body.”

Although this is not a healthy coping mechanism, it is how a lot of teens deal with the emotional pain they have to hold in because mental illness is often not accepted in society. Unfortunately when  self harm is not enough, suicide takes its place.

Cassie Lewis, a freshman in college, struggled with depression and anxiety throughout high school. It got so bad that she had to move schools during her senior year and finish it online.

She explained, “School was really hard. That hurt like that made everything a lot worse and it was a main source of my anxiety. And the people I had surrounded myself in school fed my depression a lot and kind of like helped me be the kind of person that didn’t care about her well being.”

She was bullied and spent her lunches crying in the bathrooms at school. Fortunately for her, she had a really strong support system that helped her cope with her mental illness.

“I had a really strong support system like I was really honest with my mom about everything that was going on. So that helped a lot so I knew I didn’t have to hide stuff from her and I knew that even though I was telling her all this I knew she wasn’t going to leave and she still loved me,” she said about the people in her life that helped.

Like Cassie, many other teens struggle daily under the pressure of school which makes their mental illness worsen .

Paige said, “My grades went down immensely during my worst time. I could barely get out of bed let alone take the time to do my homework.”

There is no help for people with mental illness because it’s not something that most people can physically see. This makes it harder to get certain help. Schoolwork becomes harder because the mind is filled with negative and anxious thoughts which makes it almost impossible to focus.

Joy Lin said, “Lots of factors are contributed to making mental illness day to day, but most frequently, school is the main reason for chronic depression and anxiety.”