Kylie’s dad went into the Marines when she was a kid. When he was away, it caused a lot of anxiety for her. “I was an absolutely terrible child to deal with,” she said. “If something wasn’t how I wanted to be, I would throw an epic tantrum.”
The tantrums helped: “Being in control of things is always how I dealt with anxiety.”
Now, Kylie Sullivan is a Junior at U-32. Like many other students, she has dealt with anxiety all of her life.
According to The Center of Discovery, twenty percent of adolescents will struggle with depression during their teenage years. Students with depression and anxiety often have attention issues and trouble keeping up in the classroom.
Kylie describes her depression as something that is always there, keeping her from doing things she enjoys. At her low points, she says she wants to do everything she can to destroy herself.
“I start thinking about drinking and about stuff that will make me feel better really really fast.” She describes it as feeling alone, “like I’m in a deep dark hole that I can’t get myself out of and there is no point trying to get out of it because I’ll keep getting deeper the more I try.”
Kylie’s anxiety and depression go hand in hand. Kylie’s anxiety keeps her from talking to people. It also can make a lot of things, no matter how small, feel like the end of the world. A couple of years ago, Kylie’s anxiety got so bad that she was having panic attacks in class. When a teacher was unsupportive, she would become more panicked. Kylie offers this advice to teachers when dealing with students with anxiety or depression: to ask if they need any help and then let them know what they can do to catch up.
Fortunately, Kylie has a supportive group of friends that help her through a rough school day. She has also become more self aware and recognizes her patterns so she is able to manage her classes and has strategies for when she falls behind.
The school has systems in place to help students like Kylie. A student’s counselor will help provide them support when navigating high school and their mental health at the same time. A counselor will work with the students to communicate with their teachers about the struggles they are having.
Another resource available at U-32 is the Zen Den. The Zen Den is located at the back of student services and people can come to it during the day when they need a break you can sit and color, do some breathing exercises, whatever you need to continue on with your day.
It is important to remember that there are resources available if you are struggling with your mental health as Ellen Cooke, a guidance counselor here at U-32 says she always here to help!