Being a teenager is arguably one of the most difficult times in a person’s life.
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Each experience is unique, but everyone has felt at some point in their life the disorientation and emotional instability that comes with a rapidly changing body and circumstances at home and at school; as well as the frustration that occurs when the change you want seems to taking far too long or not coming at all. There are times when these feeling can seem overwhelming, but it is important to remember that there are resources that you can turn to for help.
Depression and thoughts of suicide
Depression is a common, treatable, medical condition. You would be amazed at how many people, including very happy and successful people, have gone through periods of depression.
Everyone occasionally feels sad or melancholy. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you.
The worst part about depression is that when you’re depressed it is common to imagine that your unhappiness is permanent and that things will never improve; but as countless survivors can tell you, with the right treatment and care, depression can be treated and put behind you. Life does get better. The most important thing is that you don’t give up.
The International Suicide Prevention Wiki is a compendium of resources with hotlines and people you can call to discuss your feelings and seek help.
It’s okay to feel unhappy or confused as you work to sort things out, but if it gets to a point where you’re thinking about hurting yourself, know that you don’t have to face it alone. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), open 24/7, to talk anonymously, and for free, about anything and everything weighing on your mind.
Being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered or Queer and a Humanist
The GLBTQ and Humanist communities have a long and treasured history of partnering together. Humanists feel passionately that love between consenting adults is inherently equal without regard to the genders and gender identification of its participants.
To us it seems obvious that, regardless of sexual orientation or preference, we’re all human beings whose love is of equal and paramount value.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as enlightened. Some religious groups in particular, being unable to come up with any reasonable objection to non-heteronormative relationships, turn to religious dogma to support their bigotry. For those individuals targeted by this hatred it can be extremely painful and distressing.
As ItGetsBetter.org reminds us: Growing up isn’t easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, leading them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens, who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can’t imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted — even tortured — simply for being themselves.
But even when you are feeling the most isolated, there is always someone to talk to. For free and confidential counsel, call The Trevor Project at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Eating healthfully and dealing with an eating disorder
The pressures that young people feel from their friends, their family, and from themselves to match a virtually unobtainable physical aesthetic can be overpowering.
Being a teenager means living through a time in your life in which your body is changing and growing in fits and spurts faster than your sense of self can keep up with. Combine that with an ever changing influx of hormones and a constant stream of images of superhumanly athletic, thin and blemish free celebrities, and it is no wonder that a significant percentage of teenagers are unhappy with their physical appearance.
It is important to remember that your body doesn’t finish developing until somewhere between age 18 and 23. Take a look at photos of some of your favorite celebrities when they were in high school and you’ll quickly see that many of them didn’t finish growing into themselves until many years later.
Being healthy means maintaining a weight and body mass index that is neither too high nor too low; staying active; and eating a balanced diet with sufficient quantities and proportions of proteins, vitamins, fats, and carbohydrates. You can pretty much never eat too many dark green vegetables.
Eating disorders come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all center on an unhealthy obsession with being excessively thin or muscular; losing weight in a way that is unhealthy and unsustainable; or feeling as though you are not in control of how much food you eat, when or of what kind.
Eating disorders are extremely serious, frequently deadly, and are not something to experiment with or attempt. If you think you may have an eating disorder, are being pressured to restrict your diet in an unhealthy way, or purge after eating, know that you are not alone in your struggle and that there are many resources available to help you. Please protect yourself by consulting a trusted parent, teacher, medical professional or guidance officer.
More information on eating disorders can be found at Something-Fishy.org
The statistics surrounding rape and sexual assault in the United States are deeply unsettling.
44% of victims are under the age of 18.
Someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes in this country.
Approximately 208,000 people per year.
2 out of 3 assaults are committed by somebody known to the victim.
RAINN: Speak Out!
RAINN: The Secret
RAINN: I Was…
If you have been sexually assaulted, or if you think you may have been sexually assaulted: you are not alone.
You should also know that it is not your fault. The blame always lies completely and unambiguously with the rapist or assailant.
There is nothing that anyone could ever wear or say or do that could justify them being sexually touched or abused in a way they do not want.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is an organization that specializes in the prevention of sexual violence, and helping those who have been sexually assaulted or raped.
If you are the victim of sexual violence, molestation or unwanted sexual contact, please visit their website for more information.
You are not alone. 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)