Mental Health Awareness Through Podcasting

Author’s note: I established our school’s first school-wide podcast called “Between Chick and a Chicken” in my junior year with a vision to spread the message to teenagers that we are never alone in our struggles, and our worlds are pretty much the same no matter how difficult or alone we might feel. Teens all struggle with similar issues: parents, siblings, mental health, etc. I wanted to help teenagers realize that so they can get enough strength to get back up on their feet and move on with life, knowing they are never alone. 

Mental health issues are one of the most pressing things teens struggle with, and that’s what some of the students have shared their stories about. This particular freshman student, who will remain anonymous, has shared her story about coping with anxiety and taking meds. She shares her view on the taboo around taking meds to deal with mental health issues, and how that has helped improve her symptoms incredibly. Below is the highlight of the transcript of the specific episode. 

By Rachael Kim

Student: Hi, I’m a freshman at Huron High School. I’m going to talk about mental health today. I have anxiety, and it’s always been hard with schoolwork, and deadlines really stress me out. 

Anxiety is not really just worrying, it’s just like a whole entire category, and I kind of  feel like people dismiss it as worrying. I remember when I had my first real panic attack: it was at choir camp. And I was pretty nervous about learning about things, or learning music for the first time for a week, and I was really stressed about that. I ended up really enjoying it, but I was really nervous about making new friends mostly, and honestly, everyone was really sweet except this one girl in my cabin. She was just very rude to me and kind of just dismissed me, and kind of just was, like, picking at every little thing that I ever did.

I just really tried to ignore her and not stress too much about it. But on the last day at camp, we were playing a game and I just popped, and I just couldn’t. And it was like the first time I had ever experienced a panic attack, so I didn’t really know what was going on. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t really think that much. I was just kind of trying to breathe and I couldn’t drink any water or anything like that. 

Luckily my counselor was there and she knew what to do. She had me go outside and just lay on the ground and look up at the stars. It was nighttime, and eventually we just started talking and I eventually calmed down, but that was kind of the first time that my anxiety really got bad. I’m taking meds now for my anxiety, and I feel like it’s been so much better. 

There’s this taboo around meds, and how that’s not really a cool thing. Or it’s bad if you can’t control your anxiety and how people are kind of like, ‘oh, you can’t control your worrying,’ and things like that. I just kind of wish I could explain to people that anxiety and worrying are not the same thing, and they’re always shoved together when they’re not the same thing. 

When I first got my first therapist, and I went to the therapist every week, she talked to me about what anxiety was. Now that I could put a label on what I have and the symptoms, it was a lot of relief and I was able to get the things that I needed. Like, I have accommodations now for schoolwork and I take meds, like I said, and it really helps. And I feel like my relationships with my friends and just my school experience in general has just been way better.

Rachael (Doyeon) Kim is a student at Huron High School. She is passionate about mental health and also runs a podcast for teens. In her free time, she enjoys reading the works such as those of Jane Austen and George Eliot, as well as spending time with friends.

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