As part of Morro Bay High School’s celebration of Suicide Prevention Week last week, the Spyglass worked to discover the deeper story of how Morro Bay High School students are affected by mental health and how they have risen above these challenges. Mental illness is a an issue across the nation. Every day, millions of teens battle depression, anxiety, and stress, according to the CDC (Center of Disease Control). Last year, the Spyglass conducted a poll that determined that 50.2% of Morro Bay High School students reported to have struggled with some sort of mental health issue while in high school.
As Morro Bay High School students deal with these challenges, they can be driven to dark places and discouraged to share their feelings and stories. Mental illness is hard to battle alone. Stories such as the ones below can help to open the door to new solutions together and to show that those who are silently suffering through similar situations are not the only ones.
The Spyglass spoke to three individuals who were willing to anonymously share their stories in order to show others they are not alone and give insight to their own experiences. They shared the following:
“It all really began in seventh grade, when my depression, PTSD, and anxiety began to develop. A lot of family, personal, and social struggles made it a lot worse, and I resorted to stealing and self harm. It got worse and being around people didn’t help, so I surrounded myself with the wrong crowd. Admittedly, I was trying to find myself at the time, but I was doing it in the only ways I knew how. Social media at the time really romanticized mental illness and the horrible effects, and I resorted to it all in a very unhealthy way. Near the end of seventh grade, I was sadly very near, and very sure about, taking my life. I don’t remember much of how it all panned out, it’s all a blur now! But I ended up with an amazing therapist, and am proud to say, four years later, that I’m alive and well!! I’m doing BEYOND better than I ever thought could be possible. I have the most amazing friends, and my mom and I are getting along amazingly. I have an amazing boyfriend and my art has improved drastically!! I’m so glad I got the help and support I needed in such a horrible time, and I’m grateful every day that I’m able to wake up and breathe.”
“Back in 7th grade, I started feeling insecure about everything and I slowly stopped eating. I dropped so much weight and it didn’t make me feel better so I guess I found comfort in self harm. It continued to 8th grade, my math teacher saw and told the counselor, she told my mom, I got grounded and monitored for months. When 9th grade came around, I started having voices in my head and I would self harm to keep them away and my boyfriend was strongly affected by it. [It] caused problems. […] When 10th grade came along i guess i just slowly stopped doing it without knowing. My junior year, my current year, I still have an eating disorder, I don’t get hungry, I have relapsed a few times and I’m still struggling with my self consciousness. I’m still fighting my depression and emotions but I’m getting better.”
“I was in a really, really dark place from 6th to halfway through 9th grade. To put it simply, the family I was living with at the time was very unaccepting of my identity, and wouldn’t let me transition (hi, I’m a trans person) so naturally I fell into a really dark mindset. I attempted suicide multiple times, and at one point had over 300 fresh cuts on my left arm alone. It was bad, to say the least. Fast forward to now and I’m happy. I have amazing friends, and it got so much better.
If anybody’s reading this for a sign, this is it. It gets better, no matter how long it takes, it always gets better. Please don’t give up”
As evident in just these three stories, students can struggle for a long time with anxiety, insecurity, and depression, among other things. Anyone can be suffering from these challenges, and it may not be evident. Support is available and it does get better. The Spyglass hopes these stories help students in a time of need to see they are not alone and that things get better, and to raise awareness of peers to look out for each other.