View Full Version : Teen Stress

06-05-2008, 09:36 PM
I am writing a young adult book for the educational market on teen stress. I would love to hear your stories and how you cope with stress/any tips, etc. Feel free to contact me directly (SHBueche@aol.com) and/or post here at AW interviewee forum.


Danger Jane
06-05-2008, 09:44 PM
Do you have any specific questions?

06-05-2008, 10:03 PM
Good question--are you the parent of a stressed teen? Are you a stressed teen? Were you a stressed teen? If so, how did you cope with stress at the time?

06-05-2008, 10:29 PM
Hallo. I'm eighteen and a year into college. I can answer some questions here if you'd like. Would you prefer stress related to high school or college? related to school or relationships or anything goes?

Danger Jane
06-05-2008, 10:49 PM
I'm probably still a stressed teen...just don't have the perspective to tell yet. I'm a few days out of high school, heading to college in the fall.

What kind of stress, exactly? I cope with different stresses different ways. If I'm stressed about relationships, I might try to figure things out myself and then dump it all on my best friend, then feel better for saying it. If I'm stressed about school, maybe I talk to my mom. If I'm too busy, I shut down until my brain is ready to function again. Maybe stop doing my homework for a while. Stop coming to sports practice.

The best thing for me is talking things over with friends. If I'm having trouble with one of my close friends, I'm in trouble, but the good thing is that we always work it out.

Feel free to ask more questions if this isn't specific enough.

One Fell Swoop
06-05-2008, 11:19 PM
I'm sixteen and caught in the middle of the college application process, so I may be of help to you. I go to a very competitive school and therefore I both experience and see first-hand the effects of stress on teens.

06-05-2008, 11:26 PM
I never thought I was very stressed, but looking back, I suppose I've had my share of stress.

Back in high school, I never got too stressed about my schoolwork. I graduated a year early, for which I had to keep my grades up, which was really my only source of stress in school. I never found high school too hard, though.

In high school, almost all my stress came from my relationship with my girlfriend. Not so much problems between us, but because of her abusive mother. I was always worried about her safety, sometimes even for her life. I told her a bedtime story every night--one I'd thought of during the day--so she could sleep. I think it was probably quite helpful to my writing. Her mother hated me, and we could only see each other in secret, and she would often get hurt if we were caught. That added a lot of stress even to happy occasions. To deal with the stress, we wrote letters to each other every day in class and exchanged them when we got to see each other. I already mentioned the stories I told her every night before we slept, and those helped both of us as well. Made us believe everything would be okay (which, thankfully, it eventually was).

In college, I'm lucky enough to have an apartment with her, now. Most of my stress comes from school, these days. I'm a physics and statistics major. Due to my AP credits, in my first year I was taking sophomore-level physics classes, and graduate level stats classes. My first semester was pretty easy, but my second semester I took too many credit hours and it almost killed me. I got really stressed about lots of my homework assignments and certainly every final exam. The stress probably comes mostly from needing to keep a 3.5 to keep my scholarship. Because of how I work, I rarely ever take breaks while working, so my assignments often have the effect of making me forget to eat. Late at night, I could often be found rocking back and forth on the couch, which probably has something to do with me being Asperger's. I often got freaked out about not having time to do the dishes or clean up the apartment at strange times and talk to myself while trying to do those in the middle of an assignment.

To deal with that stress? Well, when I'm stressed I usually rock back and forth and try to block other people out, but that doesn't make me less worried, just keeps me from freaking out. Another thing that helps is cigarettes. Whether you think it's unhealthy or not, a cigarette gets the dopamine flowing again and clears my mind from the fog of irrational fears, so I can focus on what I'm trying to do. My girlfriend and another friend of mine have been prescribed klonopin (clonazepam, which is similar to Xanax, but less addictive) for anxiety disorders. They've been known to drug me with it once in a while so I don't freak out, too much. Most of my stress is from fear of failure, so all this just allows me get my work done, instead of shutting down. Talking to friends also helps, although it takes a lot for me and my friends to be able to talk about our emotions, because we're all rather antisocial in some ways. I drink recreationally (and responsibly) sometimes, but I've never used alcohol as a coping mechanism, because I know that kind of thing usually ends badly.

That's about all I can think of now. If you have any questions, I can elaborate.

Danger Jane
06-06-2008, 08:06 AM
Some things I forgot to mention:

My sophomore year of high school, I was all the sudden faced with a class at which I could not excel, despite my greatest efforts (chemistry). This coupled with a really crappy start to the year sent me into a major downward spiral, but I revived myself. For one thing, I started going to acupuncture regularly for that whole winter, and the combination of talking things over with my older, wiser acupuncturist plus the treatments themselves really, really helped. Also, sophomore year was when I met my best friend, although because we met online and live 1500 miles apart, that sometimes caused us a lot of stress. It's an ordeal just trying to negotiate 5 days together in a year.

This past year, I found myself really struggling with OCD/anxiety, maybe because of college application stress. I'm not really sure...I'm pretty sure that field hockey this year was a major trigger for me, because my coach was terrible and absurd and refused to treat anyone with respect, even going so far as to give me, a senior and more than competent goalie, four minutes of playing time in the senior game.

Anyway, I was having some major problems with emotional stability and my friends were worrying about me, so I decided to go to yoga. Two months of relatively regular practice and I had totally snapped out of it, and I was starting to gain some focus back on my writing.

Once again, if you want me to elaborate just ask.

06-06-2008, 05:47 PM
I'm 17 right now and I just graduated high school, so I'll put my thoughts and experiences into the ring. How I cope with stress? Talking about it, listening to music, writing, and just pretty much not putting too much emphasis on something that's not important.

I think that was a huge step for me. Learning to put things into perspective helps a lot. Like my Chemistry class. For most of the year, I was really stressed out about my chemistry grade. I remember one time, working on a project and it wasn't going to be finished by the time it was due. That night I woke up in the middle of the night and threw up five or six times - that's how stressed I had made myself. Later on, I realized that just working as hard as I could on the class, even though I wasn't doing the best in it was all I could do and I let go. That helped me to be less stressed about it.

But my major destresser is just to talk with my friends. It helps a lot. Even though sometimes it makes me cry, that's what I need to do and I always end up feeling a lot better. And I seem to be especially prone to stress. I worry a lot - my friends and boyfriend will definitely attest to that.

06-06-2008, 05:53 PM
Thanks everyone, this is great. By the way, I noticed someone looking for general advice for teens at the nonfiction forum, if you want to go over there for a look. Interesting you both mentioned chemistry, my husband is a chemistry professor and he teaches the toughest courses on campus. Just looking over a chemistry syllabus gives me goosebumps. Anyway, thanks again for your replies!

06-06-2008, 06:55 PM
*gets in teeny-est pose*

'Sup. I'm a stressed teen.

I think I deal with it...one day at a time. I remind myself that things do get better, that there are some times when I don't need to do anything, etc etc. It helps to get work doen as soon as it's assigned, and I also like having a 'slacker' class that I can get good grades in without much work. Coffee and chocolate are also good.

06-07-2008, 06:59 AM
Hi Shbueche,

What I remember being most stressful as a teen was my father's alcoholism and everything that came along with it. My mother was seriously co-dependent, my younger brother acted out by taking my stuff and the family car (joyriding) and I kept to my room most of the time to avoid everything and everyone. My saving grace was a church youth group and retreat house. I also was part of a weekly afterschool program (and all summer, too) that really helped me escape home. I hated going home and didn't know what to expect when I got there.

my 2 cents. :) Hope this helps.

06-07-2008, 07:25 AM
Yeah, I agree with what skyraven said. My home is not a haven and I hate going home. There's so much fighting and other stuff that goes on, there's days where I came to school crying. It helps that my boyfriend's family has adopted me and there's structure there. I have a safe haven now, somewhere I can go to. When you don't have that as a teen, it can cause so many problems and you're already dealing with enough.

06-07-2008, 08:23 PM

Yeah, I'm almost 15 and in the middle of a trans-atlantic move. I've just finished my Summer Exams.

I'm stressed.

I did really badly in the Christmas Exams - I got a B in Math, a C in both Spanish and Science, and I failed Gaeilge - so I'm really worried about how these exams will turn out in the aformentioned subjects. I also need to keep my As in the other subjects.

My grandmother died in February, and I've missed almost five months of school during the past two years while staying at her house. This hasn't helped my academic situation, though I am glad to have had the time with her.

I was bullied in Elementary/Primary school, and that has left me with a terror of people not liking me. I have one friend (Sadhbh) who I have had since second grade, and she is the only one who I completely trust among my friends. My other best friend (who I'll call C) openly admits that she talks about everyone, including myself, behind their backs, and seeing as we are on uneasy terms at present I worry about what she says when I'm not there. She sees the world in black and white: if it isn't good it has to be bad, if it isn't kindness itself it has to be meanness. If I point out a flaw in her plans then I'm criticizing her. Of course, if I get upset when she criticizes me then I'm taking everything personally. :poke:

One thing you might want to consider in your book is the general backfireing of friendship exercises. We had a 'Friendship Week' at our school during which there was a 'Talent Show'. *ugh* The main problem was that groups could not have more than five people in them, so groups were formed, and those left out of the groups got offended, and it went downhill from there. In one extended group of friends - all of whom were perfectly nice - one group (A) of five picked itself, and those not picked (B) got so offended that they don't talk to or sit beside group A anymore. In my group of friends we became distanced from each-other (this being the root of when C and I started to argue on a daily basis).

Then I was informed that I was moving, so I had to take tests (you all have this really irritating SSAT thingy), fill out forms, write essays, get recommendations, do interviews, and all in the period of a couple weeks.:rant:

Altogether, I do not find my life particularly easy, and have developed a strong dislike for the following things:

CWPs (Current Working Plans). Last September, I was told that the CWP was for me to not miss any more school. Ha. Ha.

Friendship Competitions: It's a contradiction in terms, for heavens sake! NOT A GOOD IDEA.

Application Processes: And I haven't even reached college yet.

Moving: Then again, this is the third trans-continental move in my life. I didn't like it the first or the second time, either.

Missing Lots of School: Sounds great. So isn't. You get way behind and by the time you get over your loneliness and make new friends it's time to go home. Egh.

Hope my rant helped you! Need any more help, I'd love to give it. :Hug2:


06-08-2008, 12:08 AM
Kathy, Thanks so much for your posts. My husband is from Ireland and I just visited Ireland for the first time last summer, beautiful country! Anyway, you mentioned a "transatlantic move," that would be highly stressful for anyone. Take care.

06-10-2008, 12:51 AM
I haven't got much to add - the other posters have covered tonnes.

But on the subject of relationships with the other sex, loads of stress can come from that. You could be the girl who's never got near a boy and is totally stressed out thinking everyone hates her, or the popular girl trying to cope with getting dumped. Not fun.

06-10-2008, 06:44 AM
What I remember most from those days many moons ago was the way the stress manifested itself.

I got numerous colds during the year, of course. In one bout, the virus ended up in my tailbone region somewhere. I got a funny rash on my hands. I got an eye infection which just showed up one day.

I ate a lot of chocolate and drank a lot of coffee - not what I would prescribe to anyone else.