Mental Health Rushes Through the Teenage Brain


Halie Nicholson, Staff Writer

The teenage years can break down a person’s mental state. There’s so much to focus on during this time of your life that your mind may be pushed over the edge. It puts all of these questions into your head… How will I get through the school year? Will I be able to get into college? How am I going to bring up my grades? What do I want to do with the rest of my life? Where am I going to get a job? Why does it feel like the years are going so fast? Why is life so exhausting?

Dealing with so many classes, figuring out the future of your life, handling relationships, while finding yourself can swamp your brain.

You’re not alone . . .

Everyone goes through awful times in their life, but it can be very difficult to let others into that vulnerable place. An 18-year-old shared those tangled-up feelings. “I didn’t understand why I could literally be in a room full of people who all love and appreciate me and I’d still feel so alone,” she said. The feeling that nobody will understand what you’re going through lingers, you might not even realize what’s going on yourself.

Teenagers struggling with depression, anxiety, and other behavioral issues are a lot more common in today’s society. According to the World Health Organization, one in seven teenagers struggle with a mental disorder. If you are one of those people, know that you’re not alone and there doesn’t need to be a dead end.

Facing the root of the problem . . .

It can be very easy to hide your own emotions- from even yourself. Recognizing and accepting when you are struggling may be the hardest part of it all.

Some things to ask yourself while thinking about how you’ve been feeling lately…
Have you been sleeping unusual hours and not been getting enough sleep, making it difficult to get out of bed in the morning?
Have you noticed yourself not eating as much as you should on a daily basis?
Do you feel unmotivated to do normal day to day things?
Is it difficult to keep up with school and assignments?
Do you often feel disconnected to the reality of life?
Do you find yourself feeling nervous, anxious, or overly sensitive a lot of the time?

These may be some signs of dealing with mental health issues, so avoiding them can lead to a deeper, darker problem. Do some research and look deeper into what you’re experiencing or find a trusted professional to help. If you’re experiencing more serious issues such as suicidal thoughts or intentions, it’s okay to talk to someone to help get rid of the lingering pain.

Helping yourself escape . . .

Trying to talk to parents can trap your mind even more. Some adults tend to put behind the pain that comes with growing up, ignoring signs that their child may be experiencing issues. Some adults don’t have an understanding of how serious mental health can be, which makes it even more difficult to express what’s truly going on. It takes a very brave soul to talk to a parent/guardian. It’s easy to feel like you may disappoint them if you don’t hide what’s going on, but that shouldn’t be the case. You should feel loved no matter what you are going through.

Then again, not everybody has a good home life or relationship with who they live with, which takes away that option of talking about their feelings. It may be easier to talk with a teacher you’re close with, a counselor, or a close friend that can comfort you.

“Trying to teach your parents can be really hard because they might not be familiar with it if they’ve never had mental health issues before,” explained by the teenager who understands the generational barriers.

If you do feel comfortable with your parents, easing your way into the topic of mental-health can give them more time to process. Our generation is expanding the boundaries of what is publicly talked about, so it may be foreign to some adults who were not able to talk about their own mental health at our age.


Stop the stress from taking over . . .

The stressors of the world absorb us as a whole. Studies show that teenagers are most stressed about getting into college, having too many assignments in school, friendships, and their future financially. Having that pressure of needing to understand the point of your life makes every moment add to the stress.

Try to replace the things that stress you out with what motivates and helps you. This student figured out how to destress appropriately. She said, “I’m taking classes that gear towards what I love, which does help me get through a lot.” School is at the top of the stress factor for many students, so finding those classes that excite and interest you can be a proactive way to relieve what’s making you feel overwhelmed.
Too much stress can lead to far more serious issues. Unfortunately, many young people experience episodes of panic or mania. In the midst of having either can put you in shock of not understanding what’s happening or knowing how to act.

Panic attacks are very common with people who suffer from severe anxiety. It pushes so much anxiety through a person’s body at once that it leaves them breathless and scared.

A teenager described personal feelings while going through a panic attack. “At first, when I started getting them, I thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t breathe, my heart was palpitating, and I was in such a deep state of panic,” she said.

Much less talked about, manic episodes act through intense bipolar feelings, racing impulsive thoughts, insomnia, and an overwhelming amount of terror.

One highschool senior said, “I went through years and years of struggling on my own, even after reaching out to my parents, until I got to the point where I was having manic episodes before they could intervene.”
The person going through these episodes can often have that terrible feeling of being out of control, unsure of how to calm down.

It may be very difficult to stop one of these attacks but trying to release all of the discomfort can be helpful. Having people around you in either situation can make everything ten times worse and even more overwhelming. Go somewhere to sit with yourself and let go of everything rushing through your head. Listening to music and watching a show can be a great way to relax, but sometimes it’s best to just scream and cry all of the stress out.

As humans, we worry ourselves too much. Give yourself space from all of the things overwhelming you and do what’s best for you.

Finding your own coping mechanism . . .

Most teenagers have a lot on their plate other than school. With extracurriculars, sports, and having a job, that takes a lot from personal time. This teenager knows what it feels like to not have enough time to herself. She said, “When it comes to depression and feeling down, you don’t really get time to cope with that in a healthy way. You need that unstructured time to be yourself, to be a kid, and sleep in bed all day.”

Don’t overwork yourself. If there’s too much going on in your life with not enough time, take a step back to find what you love to do and do it.

Giving yourself the time and freedom of coping with what you’re going through is what will really help. “Once I got my license, I realized going on drives was really therapeutic. I would get really upset to the point of unfortunately having suicidal thoughts and I found that it really calmed my nerves,” said one of the many teenagers who experience mental health issues. Anything that brings you comfort should be incorporated into your daily life.

Another way to get through whatever it is you are going through is to always give yourself something to look forward to. Maybe that means splurging on something you’ve been wanting for a while, making plans with your friends, or even just leaving a day during the weekend all to yourself. It’s really all about finding peace in yourself.

It’s okay to not feel okay. How your emotions control you is not your fault. Open up your mind to what others may be going through. Everyone has their own struggles, but don’t be afraid to face them.