Growing Up | Teen Ink

Growing Up

April 8, 2021
By STELLA_ BRONZE, Ridgefield, Connecticut
STELLA_ BRONZE, Ridgefield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Middle school is supposed to be a place for learning, making new friends, and having fun. This is what you are told by teachers, principals, parents… What they don´t tell you is you learn a lot about yourself during these three crucial years. Let's start with 6th grade. I made some new friends, hopped from group to group, started to hit puberty, and in most ways, it was an average 6th-grade life. 

Then came 7th grade, which hit me with even more growth, more friendships to navigate, and a discovery of this feeling. It’s this feeling I get when my teacher tells me there is a test tomorrow, or I have to stay at dance rehearsal longer. This feeling starts in my stomach, where it feels like I have 10,000 ants crawling around. It slowly creeps up, into my heart, where it feels like someone is tickling my heart with a feather. After confiding in my sister, I learned this feeling has a name: anxiety, a.k.a. “the devil's touch.” 

By the time 8th grade rolled around, not only was I experiencing anxiety, but other factors both complicated my experience and taught me a lot about myself. I started talking to boys, stopped wearing sweatshirts to school all the time, and also developed emotions, some deep, deep emotions. These are the kind of emotions that encompass the gut, the heart, and the mind. Most of these emotions involve some variation of self-doubt and negative self-talk. Ew, why do I look like that? Why don't people like me? Why am I like this? I started to think, maybe I should just go back to wearing sweatshirts all the time.

As 8th grade went by, things only got worse. The tiniest argument, a long lunch line, someone calling me a “bitch” down the hallway, would change my mood in a split second. Every day after school, I would lock myself in my room, head pressed against my pillow, wondering why? I knew this wasn't right, and I knew I needed help, but I was alone and afraid. I was afraid of asking for an extra hand, and I was afraid of myself. Towards the end of the year, I realized that this battle between me and what I would come to recognize as my depression needed to come to the end. I needed to stop waking up every morning, wishing I could fall back asleep. The question was, “How?” I started to research ways to cope with stress, exercises to better one’s mind, foods to boost energy, but the idea of attempting to fix my problems by myself only stressed me more, and unfortunately, the process of fluctuating between good days and bad days followed me into my freshman year of high school. 

Defeat tugged at me until one day during my freshman year, I was scrolling through Instagram, after one of my nightly routines of crying, when I found an advertisement for therapy in Connecticut. I thought this is ridiculous, how does talking to someone else about my feelings benefit me? I decided to continue researching the benefits of talk therapy. My eyes were now open to the possibility of a light at the end of this dark tunnel. Hope turned my tears of sadness into tears of joy. I woke up on a Saturday morning, eyes puffy, mascara still on my face, feeling both crappy and rejuvenated. I got up and looked in the mirror, with the sunlight gleaming through the blinds, the birds chirping, I walked out of my room to a good morning “Hello” and a hug from my mother. On a normal day, I would tell her to “Get off of me!” but not that morning. This hug felt like a liquid blanket of love, and it put the biggest smile on my face. My mother and I were eating breakfast together, while I thought to myself, Do I tell her? I kept contemplating whether or not she would care, or understand. However, later on, that morning, I overcame my biggest fear and confessed: “Hey mom, I want to talk to a therapist. Is that okay?” To my relief, she responded: “Of course it is okay, ma chéri, you know I am always here for you.” Those words lifted 1000 pounds from my shoulders, and the light at the end of the tunnel started peaking through. 

Today, looking back on my journey makes me realize how much I have grown in just a couple of years. Fighting my battle against depression and anxiety has helped shape me into the person I am today. Every Wednesday, I talk to my wonderful therapist. I now know that in order to truly be well, I need to take a holistic approach. Therefore, in addition to working with my therapist, I also see a tutor to improve my grades and have started to work out more often. And, these changes in my daily life have helped me to feel better and to better myself as a person. Although I still have bad days, I’ve come to terms with the fact that they are a part of life; it is okay to feel down at times. The most important thing to understand is how you cope with it and move forward and to know that you shouldn’t have to do it alone. In this day in age, the number of resources available to teenagers in crisis is endless. Whether it is a suicide hotline, an eating disorder service, or a mental health text line, there will always be people accessible to guide and help you through moments in which you may feel helpless. Reading my story is one step towards nourishing your own. As American inventor, Charles Kettering, once said, “A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.” So, what are you waiting for?

The author's comments:

This piece is meant to bring comfort to readers who may be experiencing the same thing. My message is to inform people that these problems are normal and common for a teenager. You are not alone, and hopefully, this piece will teach and remind you of that.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.