My personal journey about mental health has been a long one. I’ve been in and out of therapy since a very young age and I’m pretty heavily medicated for depression/anxiety. I live with the guilt of what I did to myself, what I put my parents through. I was only 11/12. I had thoughts I didn’t know how to process, you urge to do things I really shouldn’t have done. I hated everyone, and especially myself. I missed out on my childhood due to extreme anxiety, and I’ll never get it back. I feel like something is missing, even now. I’m nearly three years clean now, and I’m doing a lot better. I’m on meds, in stable therapy, and I have a really good support system. But recovery is not linear. Days, weeks, months, years of progress aren’t erased when you have an episode or relapse. I am so happy I am alive today, but I do have episodes where I am not. That does not erase my progress. To everyone in these comments, I’m proud of you. <3
Almost all of my peers have some form of mental health disorder, they just aren’t being treated for it. Saying this to someone from older generations may cause snarky comments like “your generation is just too sensitive,” but that only strengthens my idea that older generations struggled just as much with mental health, but weren’t given any help. Even now mental health can be considered a taboo, but compared to the 19th century it’s not nearly as severe. I assume the reason it seems like mental health is only a recent problem is because people in the past feared being locked up in asylums for seeking help. I believe that the solution to our current “crisis” is to continue to be loud about mental health advocacy to destigmatize it.
“I Think Social Media Does Play a Big Role…”
If I’m being honest, I didn’t think I would live to turn sixteen. Since I was little I was always anxious, slept in my parent’s bed while it was thundering, cried because I was too scared to go to school, and missed out on birthday parties and such due to my anxious nature. As I started to grow older depression came along too. The last two years were the worst of my life. I became [part of] the eighty-eight percent [rise in] teens in the hospital due to self-harm, I allowed myself to go on so long feeling the way I did like life isn’t for me for too long. I hid it from my family members along with my raging eating disorder, which was a major contribution to my negative mental health…Looking back on it I wish I would’ve done something, said something, but the truth is I found comfort in how horrible I felt. Social media was also a contributing factor to how bad my mental health was, and how many others feel, there’s no doubt about it. The social media platform, Tiktok is a nasty place sometimes. I personally used it as therapy instead of going through the “struggles” of telling someone real. It would show me videos about pro-anorexia, depression, and suicidal ideation. It made me feel as if I was less alone when in reality it was more damaging than I would know…
Applications like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all are platforms that will create an online environment that is best fitted to the user. Sometimes when we are in a sad mood, maybe we want to scroll through TikTok or Instagram but what users aren’t aware of is that they will custom create an algorithm for their desires. If they decide to listen to sad music, more sad music will be advertised to them and then it becomes an endless cycle. Social media has also been infamous for highlighting people with the ideal body types and this can be very hard for youth that are going through body changes in their teen years. For me personally, I only scroll on social media when I feel in a sad mood and, spoiler alert, it never helps me feel better. Social media has served our society a lot of good but we need to be aware of some of the hidden consequences of having access to the whole world at the click of a button.
We’ve been in a pandemic for 2 years now, and I feel that social media is the most important factor revolving around teens’ mental health. Endless scrolling through videos, not leaving the house, and comparing themselves to fake images decreases their mental health and self-esteem. It could also lead to exhaustion, since many, like myself, tend to scroll through posts and watch videos from the evening into the early hours of the morning.
“The Pandemic Has Made a Great Change in Mental Health.”
I’ve seen many different teens in my school, in stores or just in public who seem to be struggling with mental illness. Signs that I’ve seen are, sitting alone, never smiling, always looking depressed by their body language and facial language and their actions. Personally, I think that the pandemic has made a great change in teens mental health. There isn’t much to do anymore and it’s a lot harder to socialize. Teens and kids need socialization in their lives or they’ll become more sad and they won’t know how to talk to people. I think teens now a days are more scared to reach out and get help, therefore they live with this struggle on a daily basis and nobody may ever know.
Many of my friends went into deep depression during the pandemic, a few of which nearly attempted suicide. I wish I could say I’m surprised by the drastic jump in self harm and suicide rates but I’m not. Kids are always told that they are the future, but little is being done to insure that they are actually there in the future. Mass education on mental health needs to be achieved or I fear the problem will just get worse.