Lessons learned in managing mental health

Jacob Harris '21, Editor in Chief of Pulse

Photo by the Portrait Place of Jacob Harris ’21.

I had a really great time in my four years at Grosse Pointe South. I was surrounded by tremendous peers and faculty, as well as family and friends. However, even though it felt like I had everything going for me, I struggled mentally over my last year of high school.

I succeeded in three varsity sports, got into my childhood dream school, had a great support system around me and led multiple mental health awareness projects. But, for whatever reason, my own mental health was not as strong as I showed on the outside.

It has never made much sense to me. I wondered how I could have so many great things going for me, so many great people around me but still feel anxious and sad. I felt ungrateful. I felt almost guilty because I had so much success in high school — success that so many kids would dream of– and I thought if that wasn’t enough for me then that was my own fault. But it wasn’t. Because of this, I never really talked to people about the things I was going through. And by not having the conversations I needed to have, it never really got better for a while.

This column is not meant to be a sad story. What I really am writing this for is for others who can relate to what I’ve gone through. I know that so many kids out there are struggling mentally, just barely making it through the school day and dreading things they used to look forward to. So many people are acting like they are okay so they don’t make those around them worry or treat them differently. And I am here to say that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel sad, to feel anxious, to struggle with mental health. It’s normal and it is not your fault– especially with all that students have all endured this past year. The one thing that is not okay is to hide it. I promise there are people around you that want to help you, whether it’s family, friends, counselors, anybody. You are never alone.

Being vulnerable in regards to your mental health is not being weak. It takes a ton of courage to become vocal about such struggles. Take it from me, who might just be the random Editor-in-Chief of the Tower website you never read, and maybe this column doesn’t resonate with you at all, but all I can say to those who are struggling is that talking about it is the first step to feeling okay again. Even in what seems like the worst times, there are always things in life that are worth smiling about. Finding little things every day to be happy about is the best way to keep going, no matter how small they may seem. Everyone has things in their life worth fighting for.

One thing I do want to say is thank you. Thank you to all my friends and classmates for always making me laugh and turning bad days into great ones. Thank you to all my teachers and coaches for always being understanding and being so helpful in ways they probably never even knew. Most of all, thank you to my family (and my dog) for always being there; whether it’s emotionally or physically there for every life event and game for me throughout high school, I could not have asked for better people to call my family.

Lastly, I want to say that for anyone struggling out there struggling with any sort of mental health or anything else to get help. And, if you feel like there’s no one to talk to, I am always available to help you, no matter who you are. My Instagram is @jacobwharris, please never hesitate to reach out to me.