Pressures of Teen Life Can Worsen Anxiety and Depression

Teen Blog

Two days. Just 48 hours until school starts again.

In two days I’ll be right back there in that freshly-polished hallway, standing there with a frozen smile on my face, pretending everything is perfect.

I’ll listen as Madison tells me all about her latest boyfriend, and I’ll laugh when Taylor goes on about her epic Snapchat fail.

As far as they’ll be able to tell, I’ll be the same girl they’ve always known – fun, happy, over-achieving, me.

Even if I feel like dying inside, that’s the me they’ll see.

Why would they suspect otherwise? Why wouldn’t I be happy? I don’t even know why I feel this way.

This year should be my year.

I’ll be captain of the volleyball team, editor of the school yearbook, and co-captain of the cheerleading squad. I’ve been waiting for this since I was a freshman.

I have to carry my usual 4.0 GPA, only this year I also have to ace the ACTs. I’m taking AP Spanish and Calculus, and last week I found out I got into a special college prep writing class.

I know colleges look at extracurriculars, so I signed up for the debate team last spring. What’s one more thing? Practices start in three weeks, and Show Choir rehearsals start the week before that.

I’m president of the community service group so I’ll be leading the charge this year on all the volunteer projects for the entire school. Maybe a holiday food drive or a spring recycling effort?

Maybe, if I’m really careful with my scheduling, I can find time to do both. That would look fantastic on my college application.

It’s going to be a busy year, for sure, but I live for this stuff. Stress? I thrive on stress!

At least, that’s what I’ve heard my parents say about me to their friends.

Junior year is going to be my year, right? Right.

Then why, is it getting harder and harder to get out of bed the closer it gets to the first day of school. What is wrong with me?

When I think about school, my friends and the year ahead, I just want to crawl under the covers and hide. And I don’t understand why.

I should be happy. I shouldn’t have to pretend or fake a smile when I’m with my friends. But more and more lately, I do.

I’ll get it together. I have to. No one would understand if I just didn’t show up. No one would understand if I backed out of something – out of everything.

That would be quitting – or worse – failing. And I’d rather die than fail.

I can do this. I have to do this. . .

But what if I can’t?

It’s a misconception that the only teens who struggle with anxiety or  depression are the loners hiding in the shadows of the school cafeteria.

In truth, mental health issues can impact any child, from any family, in any community.

There are many stressors that impact the daily life of the average teen, from college prep and peer pressure, to after-school jobs and social media.

When those stressors pile on an individual already battling anxiety or depression, the result can range from changes in mood and behavior to thoughts of suicide.

Fortunately, with counseling and support, teens can learn ways to cope with depression and anxiety, and find ways to balance stressors.

Human Support Services offers counseling and services to youth and adults struggling with anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. We can help.

If you have a teen in your life whom could benefit from counseling or mental health services, call us today at 618-939-4444.

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