by Andrea Moore
Most people have fond memories of their high school days. The prom, their friends and/or boyfriends, and just the general feel of being a young adolescent developing and growing into their own. Often times I still hear my husband comment about his Senior trip or his time in the high school band, recounting that those were some of the “best times of his life”. On the contrary, when looking back at high school for me those “fond” memories may be present, but during my time I can remember a lot of bad times as well.
In high school I was what you may have referred to as a nerd. I didn’t hang with the popular kids. My clothes and hairstyles were not featured in the latest edition of teen vogue, and my body type was less of a blooming 10th grade young lady, and more of an adolescent 8th grade boy…which the guys reminded me of constantly. Furthermore, although I had a small group of close friends, often times I would still feel left out. Sometimes kids would get together and make jokes about my style, and if you did not have a snappy come back you were toast! You could also be ostracized by others that wanted to be popular and made fun of just for being yourself. This led to severe depression during high school that often led me to ask “why am I here”.
However, what I did not realize in all of this was that my problem may have been unique to me, but depression in general was not. While I was teased for being too dark, my friend recounted how she was teased for being “half-white”. As I cried because people thought I was “too skinny”, my friend felt humiliated by folks making fun of her weight. Furthermore, while I was mocked for being a nerd, the star football player was lamenting about how people thought he was a dummy. Subsequently, my views changed a bit. In all I found out that 1) DEPRESSION is real! 2) Teens and adolescents deal with hard times and mental health issues just as much as adults 3) Hardships will be a constant my entire life, even if I am doing everything right.
Nevertheless, there are degrees of depression, coping mechanisms that can be used to handle those times, and hope beyond your present depressed state. I once thought my high school experience was not the same for most students. I thought that other people’s lives were so much better than mine, and I thought that if only I could be like that person or this person everything would be great for me. However, no one escapes bad days during adolescence or into adulthood. Life is full or ups and downs despite our best efforts to live right and respect others. Nevertheless, there is a power in all of us to overcome no matter what.
Depression may always be a constant in life, but that doesn’t have to stop you from having the best life possible. The answer may be speaking with a licensed therapist, writing in a journal, meditating, praying, chatting with a mentor, or you may have to find several different ways to deal with those feelings. However, never give up no matter how old, young, dumb, or intelligent you think you may be. Sometimes we aren’t aware of what others see in us. Your sense of personal failure may be someone else’s motivation!