We need to have the talk.

Don’t worry, it’s not what you think. This talk isn’t about sexual health, it’s about mental health. Although, we might as well just put them in the same category; they seem to be equally as taboo of a subject. Why is this though? Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean we should completely disregard it. We need to talk about how you can stay home from school or work if you are physically sick, but not mentally. Let’s talk about how physical education in the school system is mandatory, up to at least grade 9. Yet, we only give about a week out of that curriculum to discuss mental health. Depression and anxiety aren’t ‘fads’, they are extremely prevalent mental disorders in today’s youth (around 20%).

As if being a teenager isn’t confusing enough. All those raging hormones, your brain is still developing, and on top of it all: suffering from mental health issues. I want you to know that it is okay to have bad days. In fact, it’s completely okay to have 20 bad days in a row. It’s okay to have panic attacks when being put in stressful situations, or not wanting to get out of bed some days. But you need to understand that you cannot let your diagnosis define the way that you live your life. I know it’s hard, but there are so many ways to minimize those bad days. What makes you happy? Is it music? Video games? Being outdoors? Whatever it may be, do it more. Try and do it at least once a day. If a prescription medication is something you think you would benefit from, go for it. Do what you need to do to take care of you. Don’t ever let anyone delegitimize your mental health. You are not alone.

Having seasonal depression, I find it easy to lose sight of the things that make me happy as the days get shorter, and the nights get colder. It’s almost like my mood is a reflection of the forecast for that day or season. I absolutely dread the winter, as I completely lack any motivation at all. I begin to get more negative, and less excited about the days that pass by. But that is no way to live life. I have learned to live with this disorder, and not let it define the person that I want to be. I found those things I am passionate about, and made the choice to continue them; even on the days I don’t feel like getting up. No matter who you are, no matter what the circumstances; there is always going to be people who are willing to listen. I promise it gets easier. Even though it may seem impossible some days, happiness is attainable.