SOS: Students Offering Support
Updated: Feb 7
By Sarah Vincent, Eagle Staff Writer
SOS, which stands for Students Offering Support, is a new genre of recurring articles where members of our staff will provide students with a space to recognize mental health issues, understand that these struggles aren’t uncommon, and learn about coping mechanisms and resources. By no means are we medical professionals, but the hope is that our student solidarity can inspire our peers to reach out and ask for help.
If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this article, it’s that you’re not alone. Whatever you’re going through right now - fear of failure, the rush to do what everyone else is demanding of you, the rainy days that feel more like a flood - it’s all horrible, but you are not going through this by yourself. We are, above all, a community. We are here for you. You are here for us. There may not be a solution in front of us, but there is one on the horizon, and we’ll get there faster together than alone.
Everyone’s mental health looks different. The floods can come in waves of sadness, panic, mood swings, or numbness. While I’ve had my fair share of struggles, I’ve always fought the hardest against my anxiety.
I was diagnosed with anxiety in my junior year. I’d had symptoms all my life, even chronic symptoms when I was young, but it peaked by the end of 2021. I was in the hardest classes of my life and away from the friends I had known for years. My anxiety became so bad that I began getting sick from worry during class. I knew I needed help and yet I still waited before I reached out. I took over 50 tests that year, and yet the hardest thing I did during my junior year was admit I needed help.
It started off with a sit-down conversation with my parents. By no means was this the hardest part of the process for me, but I know talking to parents can be the hardest part for some people. Having a serious conversation about mental health with parents can be terrifying, but it’s the first step in becoming okay.
If you feel unsafe talking to your parents about your mental health, your guidance counselor is another great resource for assistance and information. All throughout my junior year, I met with my guidance counselor and told her about what I was struggling with. Being transparent with her was super important in getting the resources I needed down the line.
Eventually, my guidance counselor referred me to Piedmont Community Services. There, I was screened for mental health issues, which looked a lot like any other type of medical questionnaire you’d get at a doctor’s office, but asked about how I felt on a regular basis and how it was affecting my life. The doctor who screened me diagnosed me with anxiety and connected me with a therapist as well as a psychiatrist who I’d meet with a few times each year.
I was really nervous before meeting my therapist. I had no clue what therapy looked like and I was increasingly worried that therapy wouldn’t work for me. Everything I had done for my future was riding on whether or not I could take care of my mental health and I wasn’t sure what other options might exist other than therapy.
After having just celebrated a year of being in therapy, I’m happy to say that I’ve found a lot of success in it. My therapist helped me identify what was causing my anxiety, whether it be issues from my past that I had unknowingly been holding on to, or factors in my daily life that were adding to my stress.
I’m nowhere near the end of my mental health journey. I plan to continue therapy in college and continue using the coping skills I’ve been taught. I was so scared to take the first step in seeking professional help, but it’s made all the difference in my life. I can say for certain that it was the right choice for my well being.
To anyone struggling with anxiety, I’m telling you, it does get better. There are people that want to offer a helping hand and resources for you to use. You have no need to be ashamed of asking for help. School is a place for students to learn and grow, but part of that process is learning how to take care of ourselves as best as possible. Simply sitting down and being honest with your guidance counselor can introduce you to so many paths to better mental health and a healthier lifestyle. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to take the first step in getting help. It only gets better from there.