As a white, British, straight, non-religious, female living in England I am statistically one of the safest and happiest people in the World. I think people forget sometimes that all teenagers have struggles, no matter what their background is. So here are the struggles I face on a daily basis…
I struggle to go to sleep at night because I’m terrified I’ll go back to that time where I didn’t want to wake up. Those days when I used to stay in bed until 10 minutes before my parents got home from work, then I’d quickly get dressed and spray on tons of deodorant and dry shampoo so they wouldn’t realise I hadn’t showered in a week. Then when they got home I’d make excuses that I’ve had a busy day, or I didn’t feel very well so I could go back to bed and stare at the ceiling. But I am not alone. It is thought 1 in 8 teenagers will suffer from depression, and many of these then go on to have further mental health problems.
I struggle to shave my legs without thinking of all those times I abused my razor. It scares me how easily I could destroy myself with a bit of metal I can buy in my local supermarket. Each time I shave my legs I can feel the bumps of the scars and I hate it. Those scars remind me of a time where I hated myself, but I’m not ashamed of them anymore because they show me how far I’ve come. But I am not alone. It is suspected that 1 in 12 teenagers will self harm, but of course the actual figure is much higher than this.
I struggle to meet new people without feeling like I’m going to be sick or have a panic attack. For those of you who don’t have anxiety, imagine the feeling you get when you’ve got a really important exam but you haven’t been taught any of the topics. We feel as though we’re completely unprepared and overwhelmed with life. But I am not alone. It is thought that 25% of teenagers have some form of anxiety disorder. In a time when we’re expected to be outgoing and to have an extensive social life this can make life extremely difficult and exhausting.
I struggle to talk to people whose name is Josh without getting upset. My friend Joshua committed suicide when we were very young. He was bullied at school because he was gay and one day he came home and hung himself. Every time I speak to someone who is called Josh I get nervous and awkward around them because they remind me of the friend I should have grown up with. But I am not alone. On average, each day 12 teenagers commit suicide. Every single day 12 young people lose their future, 12 families lose a loved ones, and 12 groups of friends lose their partner in crime.
I struggle every single day. And according to these statistics, most of you reading this will be struggling too. If any of you feel overwhelmed please go have a chat to someone. Teachers, friends, a doctor, family, or me. Never feel like I’m off limits because I’m a stranger who doesn’t want to hear your crap, because that’s not true! It’s okay to struggle, but you should never have to do it alone.
This was in response to the Teens Tell Their Story Project, and thank you for reading.