Mary-Kathryn Wert

Junior Isabel Copeland logs into her computer during Newspaper.

Junior connects her mental health to other struggles in her life

Mental health is different for everyone. My own personal definition of it is how you feel mentally and how you take care of your emotions and yourself. I have had a long journey with my mental health this school year, but I have found ways to cope through tough days.

 It started at the end of my sophomore year because of everything going on with COVID-19. I started feeling lost about my future, which sounds silly to say, but I was just very confused with what was going on in the world. I was excited for my junior year, but as the school year went on I began to start feeling like piles and piles of stress kept filling my plate. 

One of my biggest struggles was with my foot. I have had this same foot injury for four years, and I felt like it just kept holding me back from what I was meant to do. 

I would go on a run to get the stress off my chest after a long day at school or just find distractions for me, because at that time that was all I knew how to do. But when it came to running I would put some music on and just go, so that way when I got back home I was tired and sweaty. Then I could take a nice shower and unwind. But that started getting hard for me because with my activities as the school year went on my foot problems got worse, and I did not why. 

Making it down the hallways at school was tiring enough, then going to a dance practice would take all my energy out of me, but I loved it so I kept with it. 

I picked up journaling and that did not work for me because I just thought that there was a proper way to journal and did not think I was getting the hang of it. So as other people had their own way of dealing with their stress and anxiety, I just thought it was hopeless because I was not doing it properly. But as this school year has gone on I have found coping mechanisms that worked for me. 

I enjoy my 6th hour so much that for a moment it was the only thing that kept me wanting to go to school. I would find myself avoiding people just to go to room 142. That was my safe space, and I used it to avoid my problems. I have learned that avoiding problems was not going to solve anything but then I also learned that it is okay to express how you feel whether it be right or wrong. 

For me, I have found that opening my Notes app and just typing my thoughts help. It’s like keeping a diary, you could say, but more modern. I feel safe knowing I got my thoughts out then I can lock those pages and no one would know. 

Notes has a feature where you can put a lock and only you can open it through face ID or a password. I have also found that keeping a neat planner with all my assignments and reminders in it helps me stay focused and not get all out of hand. It is very colorful and organized, which is what keeps me motivated. 

For some that might be overwhelming because sometimes when I look at it I get overwhelmed by everything that is written down, but I also cross off things I have done so, I am able to see the things that I have accomplished. 

As I finished my dance season and was not able to play softball this season, this spring was a time for me to focus on myself and really keep up the good habits I have created. Over spring break I had another surgery for my foot, but I was determined to not let it affect what I have been doing for myself. 

The beginning of the school year was hard because I over-thought a lot of things, but now I write my thoughts down and try to let them go. 

Finding something that takes your mind off stress and anxiety takes time because what works for someone may just not work for you. Only you know yourself enough to figure out what will bring you peace at mind.

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