28 Sep “Your Feelings Are Valid and You are Not Alone”
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults and for every youth suicide it is estimated that 100 to 200 others attempt suicide.” – (JED Foundation, 2021)
During their teenage years and young adulthood, many people experience significant stress from life transitions and changes, such as gaining more independence and responsibility, navigating middle school, high school, and college, forming different friend groups, taking in current events, and discovering who they are and who they want to be. With social media, the news, and friends being accessible from their phones at any time of the day, young people are consuming more than they can sometimes handle, and this can be taxing on their mental health. This can lead to feeling a multitude of different emotions, including stress, fear, anger, sadness, shame, and sometimes, thoughts of suicide. All of these things combined can be “just too much.”
This is just one Kentucky teen’s struggle with their mental health, but it resonates with so many others:
“Sometimes my friends and I talk about how we wish we could stop the constant stream of social media and news, but it just feels like if we do shut our phones off, then we will miss something important. This kinda makes it like you always want to stay connected because we’re used to it, it’s hard. School is the hardest for me because with the weight of everything else going on at home, on social media, and in the world, school just doesn’t seem as important. That leads me to getting behind in my work, feeling bored, and then overwhelmed and stressed with not being able to complete tasks on time.
Most days, when I’m home from school, I just sleep because everything feels heavy and it’s easier to dream than to deal with the pressure to always be “perfect” or to try and “be yourself”. It’s a constant battle. And honestly, I just got to a point that I felt like I just couldn’t be here anymore. I didn’t want to be here anymore. I was tired and it was like my brain wouldn’t let me have any happiness or any good days. I wanted peace.
That’s when one of my friends encouraged me to tell my psychiatrist everything I had been fearful of telling her. I texted her and we hopped on a teletherapy call within an hour. A few hours later, I was admitted to an inpatient psychiatric facility where I received the help I needed. I was there for 7 days and it changed my life.
I met other people who were struggling just like me and started to learn more about the importance of mental health, as well as what was happening in my brain. During that time, I began to learn better coping skills and have now been set up with a therapist who I see often so that I can work through how I’m feeling and begin the path to healing and happiness. I’m not saying everyone needs to or should go inpatient, but for me and my situation, that’s what I needed. Everyone is different and each situation is unique, but there is hope and there are people who want to and can help you.
Also, parents, please listen to us kids when we tell you we are struggling. We know you love us, but sometimes, professional help is critical. I’m glad I have supportive family and friends, and I know I have a long way to go, but I’m feeling better. I want other people my age to know that your feelings are valid and you are not alone. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. Please know that you matter and that there is space for you in this world, even though you may not feel like it sometimes.”
A comprehensive list of suicide prevention resources can be found here, including resources specifically for youth and their parents. We also recommend checking out the You Are Not Alone series produced by KET In honor of September as Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, the Lifeline is sharing a series of graphics listing the 5 steps you can take to help someone in suicidal crisis. Learn more about #BeThe1To by visiting bethe1to.com and learn how you can help yourself or someone you know.
If in distress call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘1-800-273-TALK (8255)’ anytime, 24/7
By Clarissa Mobley
Image by Pexels