On the outside, it looked like I had it all together. I was captain of the varsity soccer team, had a girlfriend and lots of friends, and was on the student council. No one knew what I was going through on the inside. I felt so much pressure to be perfect. I stopped enjoying everything—sports, friends, family time.
Every time I didn’t do well, I felt like I didn’t deserve to be alive. I felt hopeless and overwhelmed. One day after school, I called my best friend and finally told him how I was feeling. He encouraged me to talk to my mom. I’m so happy I did talk to my mom. My parents and I found a therapist who helped me with my depression and anxiety using cognitive behavioral therapy.
At first, I was skeptical that it could help but it really did! My therapist gave me tools and skills that helped me manage my stress and thoughts.
After I got in a big fight with my best friend and we stopped being friends, I started feeling more and more alone. Everything was overwhelming. A guy at school offered me some of his weed. First, I started smoking a few times before bed and within a few months, I started smoking every day before school.
I thought I was really good at hiding it from my teachers and parents. But, I got caught smoking during lunch and was suspended from school. My parents went through my stuff and basically took away all my privileges. I was totally screwed. I felt like I had no other tool to feel better without weed. The school guidance counselor referred me to a therapist and to a group.
I really did not want to go and talk about losing my friend and feeling so alone to people I didn’t know. It was much different than I expected and it really helped me a lot.
Hating my Body
I was never the skinniest girl in the grade and always felt self-conscious about my body. During the pandemic, I started googling ways to lose weight and spent hours on TikTok watching weight loss videos. I was so embarrassed by my body and ashamed by these thoughts. I became a vegan. I told everyone that it was because I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint, but really, it made it easier to eat less at family meals since my family still ate meat.
I spent hours looking at my stomach in front of the mirror. I realized this was becoming a bigger issue when I stopped getting my period. I went to the doctor to make sure everything was okay and she noticed I was underweight. She recommended I find a CBT therapist who specializes in disordered eating. I was so scared of gaining weight and did not want to therapy.
Thankfully, my parents did not give me a choice. I started working with a CBT therapist and am on the road to recovery. Some days are more difficult than others but I feel like I’m gaining control of my life back.
Sleepless & Depressed
I’ve always had trouble falling asleep. My thoughts would race before bed. It was awful, I’d be so tired the next day in school. I also just felt so cranky. Everything my parents said was annoying and we kept fighting.
I quit the softball team because I was just so exhausted and irritable all the time. I would just lay in bed crying for hours. I even stopped talking to my best friends. I really didn’t know what to do. It felt like this never-ending cycle. It got to a point where I did not even want to go to school anymore.
The guidance counselor recommended I start meeting with a weekly therapist. This therapist explained that what I was going through were symptoms of depression. It all started to make more sense. We worked together for about 6 months and it helped me feel like myself again.
Not Wanting to Live
I was in a really bad place. I felt like it would be better for everyone if I were gone. I took some of my mom’s pills and went to bed hoping not to wake up. I woke up the next morning and immediately regretted what I did the night before. I told my older brother about my attempt and he convinced me we needed to tell my dad.
I was so worried that I was going to get in trouble. My dad does not understand mental health issues- he is more of the “suck it up” type. My dad took me to see the pediatrician who handed us a flyer for a DBT skills group. I went to this group each week with my dad.
At first, it was so weird to talk about these issues in front of him but I am also so happy that he learned more about mental illness in teens. It was a really good step for our family and I learned so many new ways to cope.
I’m Not a Girl
Ever since I can remember, I’ve known that I was a boy. Because I was born with female parts, my parents, my twin sister, and my friends and family all thought I was a girl. It was so painful to not know how to explain to everyone that they were wrong. My parents would want me to wear girl clothes or do other stuff girls liked to do and it would make me so angry. It felt like no one understood me and that I was totally alone. I became super depressed and had a lot of trouble doing any of my schoolwork.
My parents got really worried, but I didn’t know what to tell them and I thought they would be angry if they knew the truth. One day I finally went to the counselor at my school and they told my parents it would be a good idea for me to see a therapist.
At first I was really scared. I didn’t think the therapist would understand me or help at all. Luckily, when I told my therapist that I was trans, they were super accepting. Slowly, they helped me become comfortable with telling my parents who I was. My parents were really surprised at first, but they were also really happy I finally told them what was going on. Now, everyone knows I’m a trans guy. I’m finally comfortable with my body and get to just be myself and live my life.
External resources to help you in your quest for mental health.
Mental Health Professions
Learn more about the mental health professions.
CBT explains that our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings are all connected and impact each other.
The way we interpret (or think about) a situation impacts how we feel and behave.
There are reasons that humans (and animals) have emotions – we need them to survive!