3 Reminders for Graduating High School Seniors With Depression

You still have a curfew, but you’re expected to make major life decisions.

You send away application after application so a panel of peopleyou’ve never met can judge you based on what people think is important.

You’re about to say goodbye to the people who you spent the last four, maybe even more, years of your life with.

Emotions are always high during senior year of high school and there’s no roadmap to help navigate any of this. 

I can’t change the system, but I can try to help you navigate through some of the stress and anxiety you’re bound to feel. I felt it, I get it.

1. Mental Health vs. Education

One thing I want everyone to know is that your mental health is more important than your education. Don’t get me wrong, school is important and it’s great to have career goals. But there is no one route to a destination in life. Your happiness and mental health are more important than the grades you got in your ninth grade Chemistry class that you probably won’t remember in a few years. Learning to navigate your mental health earlier on in life will set you up for a life time of success.

2. College Applications

When I was a senior, I was going to apply to schools up and down the east coast. I didn’t care where I went as long as I went away from home. But then I realized that my application really didn’t have much to offer. Sure, I could say I played varsity basketball and had a few volunteer opportunities under my belt. However, due to my mental health issues early on in high school, I had an overall ugly GPA, horrible attendance and my extracurriculars involved pulling myself out of bed, trying to remember to feed myself, going to weekly therapy and forcing myself out of bed. Now, of course my applications didn’t literally say that, but the people reading them would probably just think I didn’t care about school.

If you’ve experienced depression, we can all agree that those are accomplishments in and of itself. Being my anxious self, I started having panic attacks while applying for schools because I knew I was being judged on only what they wanted to know and not who I was as a person. I had changed a lot over my high school experience and that wasn’t going to count.

So I decided to apply to one local college and even then I went to community college because I wasn’t ready to be away from home. I needed the stability that only my family could provide for me. My anxiety was cut in half and I could focus on the classes I was currently taking in high school. And two years later, I know now more than ever, that it was the best choice for me.

 3. Is it really time to leave home?

There are options for you. I wanted to have new experiences, party, go to college football games and have fun without my parents telling me what to do. It all seems great, but when you live with a mental illness, it’s not always that simple. You aren’t always in control of your emotions and being in environments you may not be ready for makes self-care really hard. Forget about what your friends are doing and how far away you could be away from your family, and think about what the right option for you in the long run.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Thinkstock photo via stockce

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