Saturday, February 26, 2011

S. Writes about her Secret

Written by an I.S. student

I didn't grow up in a poor household, I was never faced with addictive drugs or abusive adults. For the most part I consider my life to be pretty easy. At least that's what I was molded to think. Everyone pays attention to those who have had the most difficult pasts, the ones know need more than moral support to continue their lives. I'm not saying we shouldn't help them, everyone could and should try to help one of them. But that still doesn't mean that I don't need any help. "I" could be the girl who plays 5 different sports at the same time, or the girl who has straight A's and is loved by all her teachers, the girl who doesn't do so well in school but has the prettiest hair, and the best sense of humor, or, finally, probably the most popular example is me, I am kind of attractive, kind of smart, kind of athletic, kind of funny. "Kind of" everything. And even though I seem to have everything on track, I can assure you none of us do. I still need as much help as the drug addict downstairs, or the abused wife down the street. As you read this you might think I'm crazy; "who is this middle class white girl? What right does she have coming here and telling me she needs more help than my sister who cries herself to sleep every night because her parents found out about her stash, and she is now suffering from severe withdrawals, because they didn't know what else to do but to throw it all away?"

My name is S. and I need as much help as your sister. In some ways I might even be harder to help. You see, your sister could be helped so easily (though it won't seem easy as you go through it); a doctor would prescribe something to help with the withdrawals, and she would probably go to live in a group home or rehabilitation center for a while. She would come back a new woman, granted things would never be the same, but she would be so much more appreciative of life. I on the other hand, would not be so easy to help, considering even I don't know what I need help with. I know I need it, for I feel trapped, helpless, and terrified at times. I procrastinate, I lose focus in class, and worst of all I treat my parents and friends terribly. I have all my secret issues, to help me would be the most arduous task. One would have to first get to know me well enough to know my secrets, because without knowing them, I’m sure you would assume that everything was fine with me. Even if you learned the truth about me you still would have no idea what to do. That is what makes helping me just as hard as helping any problem child. The challenge is in finding the pain.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: Don't search for the pain, unless you're looking to help a  troubled teenager. Everyone has the pain, and surprising as it may seem, the ones who have it the most are often the best at hiding it. If you want to help someone, just choose the girl who seems the most normal, talk to her a little, observer her mannerisms, then you'll know.

Dedicated to all of you out there at I.S who are told that you have a great life, and often feel guilty when asking for help over those whom society tells you need it more than you. It is just as important to ask for help than it is to give it.


  1. Dear S.
    As a student in your similar situation in that, no I do not have a drug problem, or an abusive family, I can really relate to what you are saying. I guess society could classify us as just being "average" and "not special". While reading your post, I feel like your words were taken right out of my mouth! I think what we just have to realize is that even though we do not have what would be classified as a "serious" problem, our problems do affects us and do matter, despite what society tells us. In this situation, I think the key is not to compare yourself with other people and their problems. The problem that comes up when that happens (speaking from a Berman-esk scientic perspective lol) is that all people are different, and there are too many different variables to take into account, such as how we are brought up, what we have been told are "important" and "not important" problems, and what we experience with our peers. What other people need to realize is that no matter the severity of the problem, whether it be stressing about school, family issues or substance abuse, these problems do take a severe tole on us as individuals and we all need some kind of support system.

    So I guess what I really am saying, for everyone reading this, is that no matter how people may act on the surface, no matter how pulled together their lives seem to be, no matter how great their grades are or how many sports they play, take the time to just think, "Is there more to them than meets the eye?" I think if we all take the time to contemplate this, people would feel just that much better in life and that in the chaos of our lives, someone is there trying to understand what you are going through.

    I know that personally, I am great at puting on a front and many people think that I have everything figured out. Think again. What seems to be is rarely ever the case.


  2. Thank you S. and J. for bringing this crucial topic to the forefront. It has been on my mind since I began this blog, as increasingly more students over the years have shared similar concerns. Please read "The Silent Majority of Teens" for my response.

  3. S,
    Reading this blog entry, I knew I couldn't just make a quick reply and get everything that was on my mind down, and that I had to sit down and thoroughly write out my thoughts. The first thing that came to my mind though was how whenever I get in trouble or act out, my parents seem to always say one thing, and they always say "I don't get why you're doing this, you have a great home, parents who are together, and a stable life". But I always think to myself that maybe that isn't all I need in life, and that doesn't guarantee a happy and successful life. So many people describe me as a happy-go-lucky type of girl, when I know that my life may seem good or stable, but looks are always deceiving. I may look like I have a great life, but there is so much that has occurred that many don't know about in my life that would definitely change everyone's perspective on my life. I agree with you 100% about how society today shames people who seem to have "perfect lives" that seek for people to show they care and to show sympathy for the problems in their lives. Don't feel guilty about asking for someone for help in life, find someone as a support system who can help you positively in your life. Many times when I'm going through something and don't know exactly what I need to solve my problems, I wish that I just had someone to tell me that everything is going to be alright. So don't worry S, everything is going to be alright (:

  4. Dear S,

    I wish there were enough words to describe how much I can relate to you. I couldn't just read this and comment. I had to read, re read and read some more, just so I could find the right words to say, even then that wasn't enough so I letting my heart to the talking to express how I truly feel. I'm the girl that likes to smile and smiles every chance I get. I even smiled during some of my toughest times, just so i can maintain " a positive attitude", but in reality no one really knew what was going on. I give my honesty whenever i feel appropriate, I have a lot of friends and a great family, and even though smiling doesn't seem like the best option,it helped me continue through my day and help me know that everything is going to be okay.Society tends to generalize everyone that has a good family, a lot of friends,does extra curricular activities, is doing well in school,and has a great personality. Society "believes" they have it all together,but everything is not all what its perceived to be. Everything isn't black or white,there are actually shades of grey underneath it all. I'm not a shy person and I have no problem sharing my thoughts but when it came down to how I was really feeling and what I should've been sharing,I realized I wasn't sharing much at all. I could go on and on about how much my life changed when I just opened up a little bit and said what I was really thinking and feeling. I've recently learned its okay to cry and let out emotions that have been bottled up,and just when you think no one out there can relate to how your feeling, you come to find out that many are facing and dealing with the same issues. Its hard to fathom the thought of talking to someone without being judged for what's perceived on the outside, but I do recommened talking and expressing how you feel with someone you feel absolutely comfortable with and if there isn't a person that you can find trustworthy, Write it out. Write in a journal or notebook or even on a paper towel, Go outside and yell at the top of your lungs, release these emotions in a way that's most comfortable to you. I know a lot of times it feels as if there's no end and no one wants to listen to the person that " has it all together" but take it day by day, take a deep breath and smile because simply things will be alright,I had to find my support system and now that I have them I wouldn't change them for the world.
    Everyone needs a support system and you just have to find yours. Things simply to do get better in time.

    - P