Back to Normal is Not Normal

Mental Health is not Universal


A. Hoch, Opinion Section Editor

I wished and begged to have things back to normal and attend my classes in person with other faces and other voices. I wanted to feel included and part of society again. I wanted to sing and jump at football games. Now that I have that, I don’t want it anymore. I’ve changed so much and all of these social activities don’t get me excited or make me happy anymore. As much as I wish I could be as outgoing as I used to be, I can’t. It’s not me. 

It seems that mental health rates are rising as things start to go back to the way they were. People are getting out and spending time with their friends. Extroverts are thriving. But what about everyone else? I wanted to address this in case anyone else was feeling the same way. I know it’s normal to change and enjoy different things than you used to. However, I feel so distant and I feel like I don’t fit in anymore. I can’t tell if I’ve changed and found my real personality or if I’ve just lost who was. I feel like I’m on the outside looking in on everyone else’s “high school experience” that was supposed to be mine. 

We were hidden from the world for over a year. I think I’m still scared to come out of hiding. 

During this time of being locked away, a lot of people developed disorders such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Now, they face recovery.

Green Level is a great school with great plans for what the future holds. But, the future is scary and extremely uncertain. I don’t want to be rushed, I want to acknowledge the past and understand that I am not the only one who has changed.

Our school preaches the importance of mental health but not once have I or my peers been asked if we’re okay or how we’re feeling emotionally. We need to help all of the students that are battling recovery.

Having hours of School and work every day without breaks mentally draining. It’s adding to my stress of figuring out myself. Going back to school was such a sudden change that I wasn’t prepared for. 

I’m trying not to get in a bad place because I am proud of myself and the accomplishments and goals that I have met. But I also feel I surrendered a part of myself to grow. I surrendered a lot of smiles and a lot of laughs. 

The thing about sadness is that it isn’t invasive. It doesn’t walk in on a beautiful day and suddenly everything becomes dim, it’s different than that. Sadness doesn’t kidnap its victims, it befriends them. It doesn’t walk in forcefully and drag you down, it invites you. It tells you exactly the things you want to hear. It promises you rest at the cost of your happiness. No chains are tying us to sadness, we go willingly. We can feel when we are starting to sink again but we know that we are not drowning. We are allowing the water to fill the places where we are feeling numb. 

It’s okay to feel like this for periods. We all do. But what our school and we as humans fail to do is talk about it, normalize it. Don’t compare yourself to your peers that you have nothing in common. We are all different. Keep doing what is best for yourself and don’t invite sadness. Be your own lifeboat when you feel yourself drowning.