At the beginning of the year I wrote an article around male suicide and highlighted how mental anguish can affect the most resilient of people. It does not discriminate by age, race or gender, we are all susceptible to it. At the time, my wife had not long since attended the funeral of one of her former students, a teenager who had taken his own life. We are now approaching a period where students at school, college and university are encountering a stressful time due to exams and assignments, some of which will play a role in determining their future.
Pressures from family, peers, and even the individual themselves, can build and cause a person to feel despondent, and in some cases a sense of despair. Having targets which are necessary to begin the next part of your journey, whether that be to college, university or even into employment can exacerbate pressures already felt, inducing stress and leaving questions of how you will cope.
Whilst these feelings are perfectly natural, it is understandable why they appear so daunting and they are not to be trivialised. Research will tell you that we operate better with a little stress in our lives, that it motivates us and is a positive thing. The key question however, is when does this exceed a manageable level and become something which has a profoundly negative impact on your emotional wellbeing?
Remember we all have coping strategies, however some can locate these more readily than others. The first thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone with these feelings, many people will experience similar trepidations. Feeling this way is ok, it doesn’t make you weak, it doesn’t reflect on your intelligence or cast doubts on your resilience. It isn’t weak to ask for help, in fact it’s a sign of strength that you have recognised there is a hurdle you may need a little support in getting over. Sometimes having a quick conversation, gaining a little perspective and reassurance can be enough.
Even if the results are not what you expect, you must remember there are always options and it’s ok to take a sideways step on your journey. Taking a little extra time getting to where you want to go is something which is becoming more common within society. Sometimes reaching your goal is actually more about the journey you have undertaken to get there rather than the achievement itself.
The hardest thing for most people is the volume of what they have to deal with, challenging topics with challenging deadlines. It’s ok to break these down and just focus on one thing at a time. The most important thing is to keep communicating with those close to you. Ensure you have a support network and don’t allow things to build up as they can come out with such a greater magnitude. We find strength in numbers and comfort in support.