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By: Ashley F., Prince of Wales, St. John's, NF

Have you ever wondered why teens are so touchy? Aside from the “raging hormones” thing, that is. Have you ever thought about why we seem to believe that the whole world is against us, or why we have such a high rate of depression?

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that there are many things making us this way. A major challenge is simply living through high school. Teenagers often have trouble balancing their school, social, and home life. Stress can pile up as chores, tests and assignments, sports competitions, dates, and other commitments seem to all land in the same time frame. All of this while parents encourage us to find a job, get a permit or license, apply for that big scholarship, or transfer to the more difficult courses in school. The problem with this is that they often go from encouraging to pushing. Not-so-subtle comments or even lectures can come from parents who may only want a good life for us, but don’t realize just how hard they’re pushing us to create it.

So the real question is, what do these problems, these stresses, lead to? Well, for many teens, as the stress piles up something as simple as a poor test mark can make them totally break down. Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion runs rampant as they struggle to get on top of things and gain control. Irritability, followed by arguments with parents, teachers, or friends is also common. Plus, when a person is in an argument before an important activity, say school, they can be preoccupied or distracted because they are busy thinking about their argument and worrying about what will come of it. More and more stress.

Now although these stresses are obviously a problem, we must learn to deal with them because stress is a part of life. Whether a person is a teenager in high school or some forty-year-old plumber, stress will affect everyone at some point.

But teenagers have something more than stress. They have the shock of reality. It is usually in the teenage years that we begin to realize that many of the things we believed are not true. Like a child discovering there is no Santa Claus, we are finally told or able to understand that we may not be able to become a movie star or live in a mansion, that we may not end up doing what we always dreamed of. We discover that mom isn’t going to buy us that new car just because we have our license. We realize that we may not go to the university of our choice or make tons of money right after school. In a horrible snowballing effect, the true world comes into view. People who had once marked themselves as true “individuals” discover that, as an adult, they will have to be just like everyone else. They still have to work hard and pay taxes.

As if slammed against a wall, we begin to ache. What is the point of living our lives if worry, stress, anxiety, depression, and monotony will be a part of it? We have to understand that everyone else must also encounter these things. Try to avoid them by taking some time to relax, slow down, or be alone once in a while. There’s one thing we must remember. Love, joy, comfort, happiness, truth, and unexpected surprises will also be a part of it. Besides, it might not be so bad being a plumber.

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