Category Archives: What Youth Are Saying

youth

Abuse Doesn’t Define You

youthPeople say that growing up with a hard life makes you a hard and difficult individual.  One, that is absolutely not true.  Two it’s all in how you make life the way you choose it.

I didn’t choose to be physically and sexually abused but I couldn’t control my birth parent’s ways, reactions and other addictions.  I guess being the oldest one of two, it just came that way. Also having to feed my baby brother as a toddler shouldn’t be the way stuff happens. Like I said, I couldn’t have all that control.

I wish that kids, youth, young adults shouldn’t have to go through some of the crap that goes on in our early life and sometimes struggling lives. But like I said, we can’t always control what goes on in this world. But there’s one thing that we can do and that’s control ourselves.

I control who I am, what I do, and how I make it too the next day and the next. And all you have to do is keep your head held high and walk away and you can do anything: change the world, be a doctor, lawyer or whatever you want. You just have to remember one thing and that is JUST DO IT.

Our young adult author would like to remain anonymous.

thumb

I Refuse to Sink

thumbMental illness has been something I’ve struggled with for the majority of my adulthood and more prominently during my childhood. However, I feel as though I’ve improved immensely regarding my self esteem, relationships with loved ones (and even not-so-loved ones), overall temperament and outlook on life. The way that I began to see myself as worthy and whole, and was able to conquer the majority of my depression and insecurities is when I stopped looking to others for validation and approval.

I realized slowly, and after years of intensive therapy, that only I am capable of making myself happy. The key to happiness and high self esteem (in my opinion) is introspection, self-reflection, and the ability to develop a sense of autonomy. It comes with patience and practice. It comes with listening to your conscience. Lastly, it comes with knowing and truly believing that eventually, everything will work out in your favor.

My initial diagnosis for several years was bipolar disorder with psychotic features. I was treated and medicated for said diagnosis aggressively, only to be disappointed by the continuous regression of my emotional stability. After being hospitalized several times for impulsive and self-injurious behaviors, I was connected to a new psychiatrist who presented the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, which seemed to fit my array of symptoms a lot more accurately than bipolar disorder. After being weaned off of a significant amount of medication I was taking for bipolar and being put on a low dose of an antidepressant, I began to feel relief from much of my symptoms and was finally in a place to be able to practice coping skills and self esteem exercises that my therapist had suggested.

I am now planning on attending college in the fall and have a part time job. I keep myself mentally healthy and stable by going to therapy every week and being an active participant during every session, writing and journaling, exercising several times a week, practicing distress tolerance and mindfulness, and most importantly, realizing I am human and no human being on this planet is perfect. There will be times where I need to reach out for help, and that is completely okay.

Nina is a working college student who hopes someday to work in the mental health field. She lives with her amazing, supportive mom and loves taking trips to the beach.

Lockers

Lockers: A Flashback to School

LockersWhen I see a set of lockers, all I can think about is my short, but traumatic stay at a public school. It was fifth grade, and I had just left a private school that I had attended for three years. I thought that bullying at the private school was awful, but once I started public school things got much worse. It was an absolute nightmare.

The students and teachers at this public school had no clue how much anxiety and depression I was withholding. During my time there, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The teachers, despite my diagnoses, seemed to think I was simply a “trouble child.” They obviously had no experience in dealing with a student with my level of mental health needs.

As bad as the teachers were, the youth seemed to be even less accepting. I would get multiple phone calls a day from my so called “friends” harassing me because of the behaviors I couldn’t control. I reported them to the school, but nothing came of it. The teachers brushed it off as “kids being kids.” With the anxiety I was feeling, the constant teasing and bullying was detrimental to my mental health. 

I barely left my house when this was occurring, let alone going to school. No one seemed to have any compassion towards me. They ignored my feeling, and left me alone on several occasions. When I was by myself my depression was almost unbearable. I didn’t know how to manage my anxiety, so I ended up keeping it inside until I would yell, scream and kick.

I ended up exiting that school in October 2007, and started at a therapeutic school in January of 2008. There I was able to stay until I graduated high school with highest honors. My journey can be seen as a reminder: even through struggles, you can make strides. Despite me cringing when I see lockers, I can also see the progress I’ve made in my life, even though I had many challenges.

Rachel is a young adult who has aspired to be a writer her whole life. She lives at home with her mother, father, and 6 wonderful animals.

vampire

We Wear This Stigma Like Vampires

vampireThey say we are vampires, sucking all that we can from the life around,

Darkening the corners of the room with our minds,

Hiding ourselves from the harsh light of day, because that is what we are made to do.

They say we are nothing good, keep your kids away from us, what we have is contagious,

What we have, it can kill you too.

They blame us for our tendencies, they blame us for our destruction,

Though it’s only us who’ve been destroyed.

 

These perceptions of danger, this fear of a life that we did not choose,

Burns like the sunlight on the skin of those of us who dare to venture out.

But even the prettiest diamonds have to go through the dark

To become beautiful.

 

And maybe this life that we would not have chosen, given the choice,

Will serve as a light for those who are still shrouded.

For we are only a product of our making, and

Even the darkest of beings can offer something of extraordinary beauty

To a world biased against them.

Dani is a 24 year old college student and mental health advocate living with bipolar disorder.  She enjoys writing poetry and singing, as well as being the proud parent of 2 adorable felines.

music

How Music Helps Me Cope

musicMusic can be used as a coping skill for some people. It can also be used to relax people or calm them down. I personally make and listen to music to get my mind off certain things. It’s a stress reliever. By focusing on the rhythm of the song, along with the words and the beat distracts me from my problems. Eventually I will have to deal with my problems, but for a short period of time or however long I listen to music for, I am less stressed out.

When I get a chance to write music, I will write. I write music because I love to do it. It is the only way for me to express how I feel. I first picked up the interest when I was in 5th grade. I was either eight or nine years old, I can’t remember. But I didn’t officially start writing until I was in the 6th grade. I made a lot of progress. There were a few occasions where I decided to give up on making music back in 7th grade. I didn’t go long without writing though, because I couldn’t stop. There are still times where I don’t write for a little bit because I’d be busy, but besides that I write a lot. I never really felt that counseling was a good way for to express my feelings so I express myself through my music.

I use my music to talk about some problems I have faced or am currently facing. One in particular that I talk about has to do with my father. My father left my life when I was really young. I was about 6 years old when he left, and I still have a lot of anger towards him almost 10 years later. Counseling doesn’t work for me, but making it a topic of a song is a lot easier for me to express my feelings.

The author would like to remain anonymous, but has recently connected with Youth MOVE Massachusetts and wants to let others know of alternative ways to cope.