Authored by: Audrey Weber
Teen To Teen is a series of blogs written by teen authors for teens on topics that matter most to them. Please Note: “Teen to Teen” should be considered peer to peer advice and support. It is not given in place of professional consult or care.
Being a teenager can be one of the best and worst times of your life. This season of life can bring so much joy as you find yourself and figure out who you want to be. However, this time of figuring out life for yourself can also bring anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, and so many more difficulties.
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Anxiety has been something I’ve always struggled with. I didn’t realize at the time, but in eighth grade, I had some really nasty anxiety. Not understanding what I was going through or why I was always so nervous all the time brought on depression, and both of these conditions carried on into my high school years. The only reason I pushed through it was because of my support system.
Even though I was struggling, I didn’t want to get on any medication or go to a counselor because I was too anxious that it would change me or make everything worse. When I would tell people that I wouldn’t go to a counselor, they would often respond with, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!” or, “Counselors are literally there to help you, just go talk to them.”
Looking back at everything, I believe I would have benefited from going to a counselor. However, at the time, the thought of talking to someone about my depression was the most anxiety-inducing feeling I have ever experienced. I only felt comfortable talking to my best friend, who was also going through a struggle.
Conditions such as anxiety and depression can make you believe you’re alone, but– you’re not. The National Education Association reports that 70% of teens say anxiety is a “major problem” among their peers. Psychology Today calls anxiety in high school and college students an “epidemic.” You are not alone in wanting and needing to figure this out.
Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Sweating & trembling
- Trouble concentrating or thinking
- Having trouble sleeping
- Avoiding anxiety triggers
It’s okay to feel anxious and not feel like talking to anyone. However, don’t be afraid to ask for help or show how you feel. In the middle of a bad time, it’s hard to believe that there’s anyone there for you, but the truth is, you are genuinely cared for. I had so many people that wanted to help me— my mom, my dad, my teammates, my teachers, and my best friends—but I still felt so alone.
I didn’t let anyone in when I had so many chances to get the help that I needed and deserved. Going through all this pain, feeling alone is now one of my biggest regrets because I know now that I didn’t have to—and neither do you! My advice to you is to reach out to someone, even if it feels like you can’t.
A parent, a therapist, a trusted friend— they are all there to help, especially in the times you feel most alone. “The first step is to tell someone this is a concern. If you struggle with anxiety or depression, know that hope, healing, and support can be in your future.