Staffer speaks on mental health

Approximately one in four teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 have anxiety. I am one of them.

I have been dealing with my anxiety for the past two to three years, experiencing it on some level nearly every day. It ranges in intensity from an underlying uneasiness to overwhelming panic that makes my heart race.

It can often be triggered by seemingly insignificant things, such as a text message or nail polish, and spiral downwards from there. Sometimes there is not even an identifiable cause for my anxiety, which is incredibly frustrating.

Earlier this school year, I could feel my anxiety worsening. I was having major anxiety attacks way more often than usual and dealing with it had become more difficult.

Soon it got to the point where I was having suicidal thoughts on a near daily basis. I just wanted the pain to stop and I was afraid of how much worse it would get.

Eventually, I could not take it anymore and I knew that I needed help, so I told my mother what I was experiencing and asked if I could see a therapist. We did some research to find a therapist in the area and within a month I had my first appointment.

It was a little nerve-racking and awkward at first, because it is difficult to talk to a complete stranger about your deepest struggles. As time went on, though, it became easier and I started to acknowledge and work through what I had been battling for so long.

With my therapist, I learned some coping skills for my anxiety and I was able to identify and talk through some of my issues.

Additionally, I was able to see a psychiatrist, who prescribed me medication to help reduce my anxiety. While there were a few unpleasant side effects at first, once they wore off I noticed that it had made a positive impact on my anxiety.

As a result of my therapy sessions and medication, I am much happier, more confident and more extraverted than I have been in a very long time and possibly ever.

If I had never taken that leap and reached out, I might still be stuck in that downward spiral.

Of course, my anxiety has not completely gone away, and it never truly will. However, getting help was the best decision I could have made because it has led to so much improvement in my mental health.

If someone is currently struggling and feels like there is no hope for improvement, I would encourage them to reach out and get the help that they need. Just taking that one step can make all the difference.

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