How to: Survive

When the hardships get hard...

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How to: Survive

Taylor Rohleen (11) literally leaning on Kira Downs (12). When the hardships get hard, having supportive friends heals.

Taylor Rohleen (11) literally leaning on Kira Downs (12). When the hardships get hard, having supportive friends heals.

Photo Credit Colin McKinnon

Taylor Rohleen (11) literally leaning on Kira Downs (12). When the hardships get hard, having supportive friends heals.

Photo Credit Colin McKinnon

Photo Credit Colin McKinnon

Taylor Rohleen (11) literally leaning on Kira Downs (12). When the hardships get hard, having supportive friends heals.

Taylor Rohleen, Section Editor

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It happens: All of a sudden, life comes crashing down, and our emotions overcome the best of us. Whether this is from mental health, home life, relationship difficulties, friend fights, or anything else on the mind, personal issues have a way with preoccupying our thoughts.

Unfortunately, our schedules do not revolve around our personal lives, and if we’re going through something, surviving the day becomes that much more difficult, no matter who or where you are. If at home, you are alone in your thoughts. If out and about, you may be busy, but the issue is still there in the background. And if at school, every lecture, timed essay, and simply sitting in class seems unfathomable.

Focus. Breathe. Listen. Stop paying attention to your problems. Focus. Don’t let it affect you. You can do this. Focus. Get through this. Focus.

The mind feels overstimulation; the body is fighting to endure; the will to push past the pain is lessening. But, despite all of this, everything is not ending. Earth hasn’t―and won’t―stop spinning. The suffering has an eventual endpoint, but there are tools which can soften the suffering for now. In the succeeding list, the information mentioned has proven helpful in my life, and is it my hope that it proves valuable in yours.

  1. Feel it all. Get it all out now. It is far easier to suffer briefly than to feel numb often, expressing yourself seldom and never truly working through things. Since you’re already emotionally preoccupied, compartmentalizing will get you nowhere. Your emotions do not make you weak, for understanding and expressing your feelings indicates your strength and ability to endure. You ought to let it out. You owe it to yourself.
  2. Understand that your emotions are valid. Yes, you are a teenager in high school, but, no, that does not negate your emotions. Everything you are feeling is just. Human emotions are real, no matter how young you are.
  3. Talk to someone who you trust. It takes a village, and I cannot express how valuable it is to have someone there for you. Find anyone: a teacher, a stranger, a friend, a sibling, a parent. Whether they’re allowing you to vent, offering you advice, or simply being there with you, it becomes much easier to find comfort in yourself when others comfort you. They provide perspective and personal experience to relate, which will broaden your outlook. Remember that humans are designed to be in companionship. We need each other, and it is okay for you to lean on people. It benefits both parties, as it represents our ability to connect and care. And ultimately, it releases at least some of the pain. Often, that is all we are seeking: to make it hurt a tiny bit less, so we can keep moving forward.
  4. Art. Media has an excellent way of evoking emotion: music, movies, graphics, novels, articles, paintings—the list continues without end. Whether this means creating art or experiencing it, the process behind it is comforting. It connects us to either an audience or ourselves, with each providing their own unique gift. Encountering art strikes a chord in the soul, bonding us with its creator and its audience; it heals us, and it helps us in feeling less alone. On the other side of the spectrum, if you can illustrate your emotion through your own works, it will allow you to release personally and give you something tangible to remember the journey.
  5. Keep yourself busy. Join some clubs, hang out with friends, invest in a new endeavor, or focus on areas of your life which you’ve neglected. Maintain a balance between understanding your thoughts and living your life. To ruminate ceaselessly, the days will become too lonely. To feel something unrelated to your current state, you ought to live again.
  6. Pure human will. Far simpler said than done, this is a test of maturity and pragmatism. Just keep going. Looking back, dwelling, and drowning in desolation will only magnify your problems. Feel the experience, but resist to engulf yourself indefinitely. Existing in the past is torturous to the human psyche, for it wishes to continue onward, in the present.
  7. Allow yourself to heal. This is a cumulative effort. It is okay to take time, to take breaks, and to be unsettled. Avoid closing yourself off, for it only locks in the emotion. Let others know that you are going through things, yet you are giving it your all to move forward. They understand that every person is different, and we all heal differently. But, we cannot heal unless we allow ourselves to do so.

All of the tools are here to help you manage and hopefully move on. Keep in mind, it is up to you to be there for yourself. Remember that it will get better. You can do this, for you are far stronger than you assume. Each experience expands our human capacity to feel, understand, and learn. Recognize that “there is nothing permanent except change” (Heraclitus). With time and change, everything will become more manageable. From this experience, you will grow.