CRIER NARRATIVE: Saving our strength

Lana Salahieh, Editor in chief

I don’t think anyone could have imagined where we’d end up today.

A year ago, I was burnt out. Junior year carried so much weight to my life –  I was lifting fifty pounds of APUSH readings a night, iron pumping several AP lit essays a week, bench pressing the AP psych master terms and concepts list throughout both semesters, bulking on extracurriculars. The thing is, I’m no bodybuilder.

This struggle might sound familiar. Maybe you too spend hours of your life bracing yourself for the cold, hard realities that adulthood has to offer: the piles of financial ruin and student debt from college, living on nothing but ramen noodles and pizza crusts for the next four or more years of our lives. As a senior, it’s on my mind constantly. How will I balance studying for my college courses, an inevitable part time job, participating in clubs, and socializing with an entirely new set of faces? How can I possibly be expected to master this way of living in the future when I can hardly get by now?

On August 12, 2020, I officially became Editor In Chief of the Crier. We decided to continue publishing as regularly scheduled, but since the virus was so easily spread, our traditional distribution methods were out of the question. Consequently, half of the school wouldn’t really be reading the issues that my staff spent weeks working on. This year should have been the highest point in my high school career. Instead, I felt like every minute I poured into my work was for nothing.

At home, there was so much tension. My parents separated in November, and a lot of responsibilities fell to me to care for my sisters. It was one of the lowest points of my life. I fell into severe depression and developed an anxiety disorder that I continue to struggle with today. I lacked all motivation for school, a loss that went beyond senioritis. I wanted so badly to work at the same pace that I had for my whole life, but every time I opened my laptop to work, I had a panic attack. It was even affecting my work for the newspaper, the one thing I held onto so dearly. 

I desperately needed to do something about my situation. I talked to my friends, my teachers, my counselor, and was lucky enough to see a therapist. I started medication. I relied on the other editors on staff more than I had witnessed any other editor before me do. The hardest part was asking for help.

There just isn’t an end-all be-all cure for mental health. I can’t say now that I’m fine, that I am back to the way I was. I think that in all my struggles, I’ve grown stronger. I know now that life is a balancing act, and it’s okay to put down a few weights and give yourself a break.