A Teenager’s Personal Story – for those who think they are alone
Life, a crazy phenomenon. No one knows what’s going to happen when you are first born; all people know is that they care about you, a tiny-toed human.
How do you grasp life? Because at 15 you are asked, what do you want to do for the rest of your life; then you realise you still have 75 years give or take, and you need to make a decision on who you want to be — and before your brain and body are fully formed you are told to pick a career for the rest of your life.
Two years before that you have a magic box, that allows you to communicate with friends and family, and then you can see what all your favourite celebrities and influencers are up to. And then you get so consumed with likes and followers, that you turn your account to public. Men and women you don’t know start to follow you. You quickly hit 500 followers. 750 followers. 1,000 followers. Your phone will make an addict out of you. It will trap your mind. The same mind that berates you all day long — because now you have so many friends, I mean followers, and you need to look presentable.
That’s when you fall into the beauty standard, every night before you go to bed you do 10 sit ups, check to see your body in the mirror, look displeased, then you fall asleep. You start to skip meals, but don’t worry if you still eat lunch or dinner, it’s not harmful, right? Then because of all the food you haven’t been eating, you get hungry, so you overcompensate by eating too much food. You start to feel sick and vomit, then you think that wasn’t so bad. It can’t be dangerous, because your still eating food, and you can just throw it up; not because you have an eating disorder, you can’t admit you have an eating disorder. If you do, you will know that you aren’t okay, and you refuse to believe that this makes you miserable. You’re so unhappy, but that’s not the only change. You start to have crying fits in shopping centres because there are so many people who can see you and what your body looks like. They can see if you have eaten, yet there is also this constant thought of death in your head. You decide to Google these symptoms and the first thing you see is — anxiety and depression.
You can’t leave your bed. You can’t clean your room. You isolate yourself from everyone. Your head no longer belongs to you. Your thoughts are cruel and death starts to seem euphoric. You wake up every night around one in the morning crying and unable to move, afraid. You Google this to – sleep paralysis; everything builds up and up and up, you need to tell someone – so you open up to one person, your brother. He can’t even look at you, he says to tell your parents, and when you relent, he says if you don’t, I will. He doesn’t talk to you for the rest of the day.
Your mother comes home. You walk up to her and you are crying. You tell her, she hugs you and talks with you for a while. Then your dad comes home, and he gives you a bit of motivation, it doesn’t do much, but you are thankful for his kind words.
Then you go to therapy. The first therapist isn’t a great fit, and that’s okay. Therapy isn’t a short-term treatment, it’s a long-term commitment, and you will recover. You will recover because you want to recover. You start to take medication for the depression and anxiety, you start to feel good, you start to feel happy again, you eat all three meals and snacks each day, you give your body its nutrients, you decide to be healthy in a better way, and maybe you had a relapse and that’s okay, because it is just a blip on the radar.
You are strong, and you will always find you feet, but sometimes you need a hand from your mother, or friends and your therapist. I understand my privilege to have parents who give me so much support and who love me, but I do understand that not everyone is as fortunate to have another person to support them; in that case, I recommend contacting one of the following phone numbers. Reaching out for help is hard but it does not make you weak, only brave.
Kids help line – 1800 55 1800
Beyond blue – 1300 224 636
Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
Emergency line – 000
And if you are a supporter, please be judgment free, as the person you love needs you, not your criticism.
By Hollie Isobel