If you’re reading this, you’re either a teenager or have already gone through your teen years. For adults, it’s easy to underestimate the struggles of the youth. After all, it’s not like they have bills to pay, right?
All our struggles are valid even if other people have it worse. Reportedly, 1 in every 20 adolescents in the United States experiences from depression or anxiety disorders. However, they’re more than mere statistics. Here are some accounts of strong-willed teens who battle these problems daily.
Fear Of Failure
“No one likes to fail, but some people take it harder than others,” says counselor Monte Drenner. For one teen, she reports a great fear of failure. Whenever she believes that she isn’t doing well at school, panic starts to set in. Even something as small as getting a B or A- in a class requirement triggers her anxiety.
She shares that she didn’t want to disappoint her family, friends, and teachers. While all evidence shows that she’s an intelligent student, she feels immense pressure. She believes that everything has to be perfect.
It appears that this teen seems to be setting such a high standard. Her parents and friends all try to show her support even during her failures. However, she seems to be the one not giving herself enough credit for her accomplishments. When it comes to anxiety, it’s hard to look past our mistakes.
Pain As Distraction
For some individuals, they turn to self-harm as a way of dealing with their problems. It may seem questionable to some, but it serves as a coping mechanism for others. “Not all people who have thoughts of suicide end up acting on those thoughts. But for those who do, generally there is deep emotional pain combined with a belief that things will never improve.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC explains.
One teen shares that cutting himself distracts him from all his thoughts. Instead of having to deal with his racing thoughts, focusing on the physical pain is much easier.
For one, it serves as a distraction. Besides that, it also has an easy and obvious solution. With physical pain, the teen says, you know that you only have to wait it out. It’ll go away after some time. In the meantime, you must clean and patch up the wound. It is much simpler than dealing with problems such as grades, relationships, and an uncertain future.
As if one wasn’t enough, some adolescents are diagnosed with several anxiety disorders. One teenager shares that it can be a struggle to get through some days.
She says that there are times wherein she goes through her day as usual. She feels positive, and everything seems to be going well. Then she’ll suddenly feel overwhelmed. “The sensation of pressure doesn’t have to be negative—it can be a positive challenge and motivating.” Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D. said.
Unfortunately, panic attacks don’t always have a trigger. She recalls one situation where she was in the school cafeteria. She was talking with a small group of friends when she felt a sudden onset of anxiety. She could see her friends’ mouths moving, but she couldn’t focus on a word they were saying.
The entire room felt like a blur. Her stomach started to lurch, and cold sweat collected on her forehead. It was as if her senses overloaded and shut down.
What These Show Us
Listening to these three accounts, we can see that anxiety is a real issue even for today’s youth. They may not have the same struggles as adults, but we shouldn’t invalidate their experiences. We learn that teens struggle too. We should be there to be understanding and to help them with these problems.