LETTER: Teen mental illness is real

Dear Editor,

I’ve changed my entire life over mental disorders. This is not a cry for help nor attention, but rather awareness. I’m 17, I rarely go to school from fear and stress, as well as never wanting to get out of bed.

I only take four classes in school, I had to change my whole schedule around because I was falling behind from never showing up. I dropped math, chemistry, PE 10 and practically film now. I take English and socials outside of school and I don’t know if I’ll even get through that. I’m known as a skipper or lazy for not showing up, I make jokes about it too and lead it on, but rather I find every reason in the world not to go to class and scare myself out of it.

I thought about going into business or becoming a lawyer. But that’s four more years of school, costing money I don’t have. That’s time I can’t promise, and stress that could break me. That’s high school courses I dropped, and grades I could never reach. I had to change my future plans because of a mental illness that some people refer to as being an attention whore or just plain lazy.

It is not my choice to disappoint those around me. It is not my choice to upset myself. It is not my choice to have the thoughts that I do and the worries that I think. I cannot work right now because I get extreme anxiety in workplaces and they do not understand. No one can understand. It took me a year to even take my L test out of fear. I’ve been experimenting different medications and coping techniques for over a year. These are medications that practically come with a notebook of possible side effects. Medications that can make you way worse then you already are. Different doses, and kinds, ones that make you so sick you can’t move. Medications that if you stop taking for even a day can put you into withdrawals.

It’s a common pattern here, you see, I’ve changed my life for mental illnesses. Am I proud? No. I can’t say I am. But I cannot change what I do or think and so all I can do is move forward. Am I guaranteed to graduate with my friends? No, but I can try with all my abilities to get through.

Really, what I’m trying to say here is that mental illness is no joke. It’s not being lazy, or asking for attention. It’s changing your entire life to fix the way you feel every second.

It’s putting yourself and the people around you through hell as you experience so many ups and downs of emotions, agitation, frustration, sadness and panic.

It’s not being able to complete simple tasks and being looked at as if you’re crazy because of it.

It’s knowing that you’ll live with this for the rest of your life whether it improves or not.

I know you can’t understand. I know you try. But when someone says they have mental disorders, just remember, they aren’t always in control. They will snap, and cry, yell and scream, ignore and annoy, but they are trying. Treat mental illness with as much seriousness as you can. They’re real disorders. Chances are you or your friend has one.

Do yourself and others a favour; educate yourself about them and what you can do to help, as well as trying to educate others.

Kiera Muelaner, Brookswood

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