December 5, 2016

My name is N. I’m 16 years old but have been struggling with my symptoms for as long as I can remember. I want people to understand the ups and downs of depression and anxiety. Most people don’t understand how hard it can really get like how you lose interest and happiness in everything you used to love.  You honestly have no control over the emotions that drown every aspect of your life for that moment. It turns every little thing into the most difficult task. Sleeping is nearly impossible and the nightmare of tossing and turning all through the night as the rest of the house is sound asleep is worse than what your sleeping imagination could create. Then dealing with the morning when the sun beats in your window telling you it’s time to get up and get ready for another nightmare day when you barely have an hour or two of sleep in can be unbearable.

In reality, people just pretend that it is not real or that it’s just the troubled kids using yet another excuse to explain their behavior.  There is always an accusation that we are manipulating the situation just to get ourselves out of trouble.  I have learned a lot about my disorder over the past year and in all honesty, I use my new found coping skills to not only relieve some of my own symptoms but I also use my skills to make the adults feel better but the sad part is that there are thousands of kids just like me! We get pushed to the side because we are too difficult to deal with.  We get punished with detention and court and discrimination instead of empathy to help us with our real issues.  As kids, we are defenseless unless an adult is there to believe.  Those adults who chose to believe have the ability to make a positive impact in our lives.

There are kids everywhere just like me who can really make a difference if they are given the opportunity to be honest about what is really happening because they understand. They respect each other.  If put on the right path, they could use their voices to educate their peers and their superiors. I am not saying that “all bad kids are not bad”!  Of course there are people everywhere who make the wrong choices for their own gain.  This happens in adults just like it happens in children.  You have to be willing to look deep into the reasons behind situations to determine if someone is damaged and in need of help.

It is an unfortunate truth that kids like me turn to drugs because it is an immediate relief and yes, enjoyable but to a degree, required to get through the moments when hope is lost and life is just too hard. This is when the situation gets worse because parents can’t understand these behaviors. We are immediately looked at as troubled juvenile delinquents who need to be hidden from the good kids.  We are feared because we become the bad influence of our generation.  Most adults can’t see or just refuse to look at who our culture is as a whole.  Of course, there are close to perfect kids in all classrooms but if you only knew how many more were not.  We just stand out.  WE make it impossible for you to see us any different because WE are different but we are not evil. My belief is that most adults find it easier to give unrealistic punishments and force us into more bad behavior just because we have to survive.  I do understand that it’s easier to punish with the belief that it will solve your problems – which are us, but it doesn’t solve our problems.  We continue to hurt.  We continue to struggle because you don’t know how to help us work through our problems.

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