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No teen is alone in adversity


StatenInstead of beautiful reflections in mirrors, some people see broken glass. Instead of strong beautiful people, they see scars and weaknesses. These are just some of the insecurities that a fair amount of students face as they return to school this fall.

In the past, smoking, drinking and sex were taboos for teenagers. In addition to those items, today’s teenagers also face the issues of cutting, bulimia, anorexia, depression and abuse.

Every teen faces adversity. Here are the stories of a few West Linn High School students.

An anonymous senior: “Something that I’ve struggled with is probably my confidence and happiness. It took me a lot of help with my parents, counselors, etc., to help me get to where I am today. I was extremely depressed and I was not OK, mentally. I think that my biggest adversity was getting over my depression. It has helped shape who I am today.”

An anonymous sophomore: “I have faced my mom going through chemo twice, and once it was during my freshman year. And during that time I was in the beginning stages of having an eating disorder. I have gotten better and stronger from all of those things happening in my life.”

An anonymous freshman: “My mother is mentally ill and abusive. Thankfully she is not in my life as much as she could be. We’ve also never been the most affluent family in the area, especially due to my mom’s medications and inability to hold down a job.”

Then there’s West Linn High School sophomore Anna-Maria Hartner, who said, “It is difficult to grow up outside of your home country, and having to leave all the people you love and treasure behind you. Although I have learned to give love to the place I currently reside (the United States), when someone asks, ‘Where is home?’ I respond with, ‘Landshut, Germany.’ However, I believe this experience has allowed me to better appreciate any amount of time I am able to spend with family members, and I value the importance and impact that family has on my life.”

A lot of teens are under the impression that everyone else has life all figured out, that all adults have a magic manual and every other kid has all of the pressures of high school under control. We as young adults believe we are alone — if not in friends and family than at least in pain.

The truth? No one on this earth is exempt from pain. As students go back to school we should be aware that every student has their fair share of problems. While each person’s struggles may be unique, each person’s pain deserves to be respected.

That’s where you come in.

Recognize that everyone has difficult seasons in their life, and it is important to not hold grudges or judge people during hard times. Understand that you won’t always know when someone is having problems, and remember that in most circumstances most people don’t find pleasure in being malicious. Some people act unkindly without realizing that they have hurt others.

Above all, know that there is always another side of the story. If you suspect that a friend, family member or classmate is struggling, let them know that they are not alone.

Madison Staten is a sophomore at West Linn High School and contributes a regular column to the West Linn Tidings.