Holding ourselves together

August 17, 2021 1:09 PM

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A person struggling with anxiety. Photo courtesy of Uday Mittal on Unsplash.

A person struggling with anxiety. Photo courtesy of Uday Mittal on Unsplash.

Adults seem to always disregard young kids' inner feelings and don’t seem to think there's more to us than what's visible to them. What they don’t seem to understand is how much more there is to those “feelings” they see. People our age are supposed to be fine because the only thing we have to get through is school, maybe a job, responsibilities that come with school and chores. We don’t have kids; we don't have to pay rent; we don’t have to work hard to make a living. We have “everything.” When we as young people feel sad, mad, stressed, lonely, fearful, annoyed and anxious, it’s only because we’re going through a “phase” or it’s because of our hormones.  

However, mental health is real. Adults should not disregard young kids' feelings whenever we’re feeling down only because we're young and have “nothing” to feel down about. When us young kids show signs of any wrong emotions, parents' first instincts are to punish us or get mad because we are “ acting up.” Mental health is so important, and it impacts how we function in our daily lives. So many kids wake up and their only emotion is anger. Angry at the fact that they made it another day. Why? For the reason that they are so discounted towards their mental health because of the simplicity of age. 

Young teens go through so much daily. There's so much that goes on with young teens, which can be anxiety, depression, bipolar news, PTSD, etc. As young people, we experience so much stress, worry and unease for so many reasons having to do with everything that comes with school, friends, relationships and responsibilities, etc. This stress can lead to anxiety, built-up sadness, anger and much more. When you add the stress and the sadness and the angriness and so much more together, it becomes so hard to get through life. If adults understood this they’d get young kids the help they need, support them and talk to them, or even just give them the space needed. Instead, they’ll hover over their frustration with the way we’re acting when they just have no idea how we truly feel inside. 

There are many ways in which adults can approach us. They can start by thoroughly talking with us and giving us a sense of support, not just getting upset but trying to understand us. Many times all we need is to know we have someone supporting us.   Sometimes, there will be people who need medical support so they can help by taking them to get the medical support needed. Other times, we really just need space. We need time to process whatever we’re going through and many people cope by being alone and having time to think by themselves. 

I remember mentally just not being okay a few months back, and I had so much pressure on me because of school and other things. My parents always kind of just expected me to get perfect grades all the time. Although they always support me through everything and push me to be my best, the pressure of having to do great all the time gets hard. I always put school as a top priority and I always do well and get good grades. The problem with this is that I tend to ignore the importance of my mental health and cause more damage to myself. I decided to talk to my mom without being so forward. I started by giving her an update of my grades, and they were perfect, but what was not so perfect was a recent chemistry test grade. She didn’t get upset; she told me to study and do better next time. I began to tell her that school was hard, and then I told her that sometimes I'll perform badly because I won’t be doing so great mentally but that I always try my best. She started by telling me “What do you mean mentally? What else could there possibly be in your mind? The only thing you have to worry about is school.” I smiled and changed the conversation and walked away in frustration. I just wanted to cry. I was so stressed and felt so overwhelmed by so many emotions. I guess mental health isn’t a thing to most adults?

It’s not just parents. It happens in school communities too. It’s quite ironic that principals/teachers will preach about mental health awareness, but when it comes to school work, it's just brushed off. During the past school year, considering the circumstances we were put into, many young kids' mental health got super bad, for many reasons. Throughout the whole year, there was so much pressure on us, and teachers just continuously piled up a lot of work. It wasn’t until some kids spoke up that they became more aware of how we felt. Still, then, some teachers just listened and continued to add pressure on us without even taking into consideration our mental health. Maybe if school communities tried to understand their students by being more lenient towards due dates, the amount of homework assigned and amount of tests, we wouldn’t overall feel too overwhelmed.  

The fact is adults will always use the same excuses to neglect our mental health. Yes, we don’t pay bills, we don’t have to work hard to make a living, we don’t have our own children to watch over, and yes we ARE young. Who cares? What does our age have to do with anything? Who says there's a specific age when we’re allowed to not be okay, to be overwhelmed with emotions? There’s no handbook ... it’s life. We won’t always mentally be okay and that’s alright, but what’s not alright is the way adults will approach us. 

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