I'm very happy to have S. Elle Cameron here today, talking about her debut novel, A TRAGIC HEART. Also, she has some advice for teens on dealing with some of the issues you may be facing.
Here's S. Elle,
So before we get into anything too deep, I should probably introduce myself. I am a new author who goes by the name S. Elle Cameron and I specialize in life and music. How does one specialize in life, you ask? Simply just by living it (and documenting it). I’ve been through the wringer and dealt with almost every teen issue imaginable…even the really ugly ‘we shouldn’t talk about that’ stuff. I’m only 22, so I still consider myself to be inexperienced but I also know that I am wiser than I was even a few short years ago. Today, I’m going to touch base on some teen issues that many of you are currently going through or have gone through. Hold onto your seats because the ride may get bumpy…
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt victimized by yourself. Now, be honest, not every issue we deal with someone else is to blame. What I’ve learned is that majority of the time we’re down and complaining about how no one understands us, we’re the ones kicking ourselves. Sure, there are always the bullies and the naysayers (we’ll get into that later on) but ultimately, the first step in learning how to get out of your situation is to stop condemning yourself. Stop changing for other people and stop thinking that you are worth less than everyone around you (just to be clear, I am still going through this myself…it’s a struggling process). By not believing in yourself you are becoming a victim of yourself. We’re already going to fall victim to so many other things and people in life, so why not do ourselves a favor and cut ties with who we believe we are and start to become who we truly are?
Okay, so now that we all agree that we are both the bully and the victim, let’s move on and get into something deeper…loneliness. This is probably the biggest teen issue out there…possibly even bigger than addiction or mental illness because loneliness is the stem of all things evil. The belief that we’re alone is what drives us to do the things that we do. I’ll start off with saying, you’re not alone! Even if you have no friends or family, you’re still not alone. There are always options out there that don’t involve anything drastic. I remember when I was in middle school and high school and how empty I always felt. All I wanted was to be as happy as everyone else seemed. I had a few friends but even they seemed different from me (because they actually were). By the time I made it to 11th grade they were no longer my friends and I was all alone again. This sparked up what my psychiatrist called depression and anxiety (yup, I had a shrink too…told you it was bad). Now, I was lonely and the freak on medication with an ugly secret…if only back then I knew there was nothing wrong with having a mental illness. If I knew what I know now, I wouldn’t have been so depressed and I probably would have been further in life than I am now. I’m here to tell you that it actually does get better and it’s not just something these celebrities say for a cheesy campaign to prevent suicide. High school seems like the end of the world but then there’s college that thankfully gives you a brand new world.
Mental Illness and being a teenager: sometimes it seems impossible. I know this isn’t an issue that every teen deals with but a good number of teens must live with it and many are even unaware that are a victim of mental illness. Have you ever found yourself over-thinking almost everything? Are your mood swings a bit more severe than the average teen? Is it hard for you to get out of bed in the morning because you constantly feel empty? Sometimes these are signs that you may suffer from a mental illness. One of the biggest ones: do you have frequent or constant thoughts of harming yourself or others? These are serious questions that should be taken into account because they can provide an answer as to why you are feeling left out or different from everyone else around you. For me, I knew there was something different about me for a long time before the doctor told me that I needed medication to balance out my mood swings. If you suspect that you may suffer from a mental illness or you already know you do and you need someone to talk to you can always contact the Crisis Call Center at 800-273-8255. They’re available 24 hours, 7 days a week. If you’re having thoughts about harming yourself you should contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. They are also available 24/7.
Bullying is another issue that teens have to deal with more than ever before. Even I didn’t have it as bad as many of you do now. The amount of access people are given to one another is broader than ever and this is a major problem. Recently, cyber bullying is a major problem in the teen world. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is making it possible for those jerks at school to harass you on a larger scale. NEVER LET THIS INTIMIDATE YOU! I know that it’s easier said than done but playing the “I’m strong” role really makes a difference. Pretend to be strong even if you’re not. Not allowing them to know that they’re getting to you is probably the best tactic (besides telling an adult, of course). Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and show them that their words/actions can’t harm you or your future. Remembering that you’re better than they are is the true key to making it through. You have so much more life ahead of you and before you know it those bullies will be somewhere lonely and washed up while you’re making your dreams happen (take it from me…I’ve already been through it).
The last teen issue I will touch base on for today is the concept of adults (parents, guardians, teachers, etc.) not understanding you. Adults don’t understand probably because it’s been a while since they gone through what you’re going through or they never had to go through it at all. The good news is that there is bound to be an adult that will listen and understand; you just have to try and find them by speaking out. Another thing to take into account is that times have changed drastically since the adults in your lives were young. It’s hard to understand something when things are so different from what you’re used to. This doesn’t give them the right to write your situation off as not that serious but it is something teens should always remember. Also remember that most of them aren’t trying to be cruel, they’re just doing things the way they think is best…we all have our faults.
Although there are many issues that teens and young adults must deal with on a daily basis, I will be here all day trying to go through them all. I do, however, touch on many of these issues in my debut novel A Tragic Heart. It’s a fiction novel that was derived from many of my personal experiences as a teenager and early adult. I wrote it with the hope that it will teach people that none of us are alone and that sometimes saying something saves a life!