Freshman year was a complete mess for me. In 8th grade, I was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and OCD, and during freshman year, my doctors worked together to find the right combination of medicines for me. It took a very long time to find something that worked for me, and for months and months I suffered through bad side effects, constant med switches, and my mental health problems. With each new medicine, I began to lose hope that I would ever find something that would work for me.
I often had to stay home from school or leave during the day because my mental health problems kept me from functioning properly. School became completely overwhelming, and missing important lessons didn’t help to improve my mood. Even when I was at school, I had a difficult time paying attention, and I often left class and had panic attacks in the bathroom.
I didn’t want to get any help from the school because I didn’t want my teachers to think of me any different or alienate me. Eventually though, things became too much and I ended up talking to my school guidance counselor about what was going on. To my surprise, my guidance counselor was helpful, and we came up with a plan to help me manage all my classes. She ended up emailing all my teachers, which wasn’t as awful as I thought. They were all extremely supportive and gave me extensions for the school work that I missed.
By the end of the school year, I ended up finding medicine that worked for me, and I was finally feeling happy and calm. I still struggle with my mental health now, but it’s become so much more manageable, and I now talk to my guidance counselor all the time and we worked out a way for me to enjoy school.
-Sarah, Teen Line Volunteer, Age 15