Grief is hard at any age but in today’s blog post I will be focusing on grief for those who are in high school. Teen grief is especially tough because it is already such a confusing time! Being in high school faces its own challenges. Paired with the loss of a loved one it can be the worst four years ever, if you make it so. My dad died while I was still in high school and I have to admit, I did not handle the loss the right way. I am someone who obsesses over every single detail and if something goes wrong I tend to replay it over and over. I will admit, I still cringe when I think about high school! I was an angry and depressed fifteen-year-old but I was only going through teen grief.
Build your support system
One of my major problems, when my dad died, was my support system. I didn’t have one. People cared, but nobody was ready to step in and take on my dad’s role in my life. My mom was struggling, too. During their marriage, my mom never attempted to learn English, pay the bills online, or learn how to drive. My dad didn’t make this easy either since he made it hard for my mom to be independent. I was a fifteen-year-old girl stuck playing grown-up at home.
My heart goes out to you if you are in a similar situation. People do care, but they don’t know what’s going on if you don’t tell them. I tried to be strong because I didn’t want anyone to know how much I was suffering. There are teachers, counselors, and coaches who care. Sit them down for a talk and tell them you need a minute of their time. There are Facebook groups online that focus on grief and coping with loss, grief support groups in your area, and organizations that will help you. Sometimes it only takes a hard enough look and maybe a search online to find help.
Get fresh air
Make it a habit every day to get a little bit of fresh air, even if that means stepping outside on your porch for a few minutes every morning. Staying locked inside your room is not fun, I speak from experience. When I step outside and go for a walk around my block, sometimes that’s all I need to get back inside and start working on my homework or the blog. Getting outside goes hand in hand with exercise. Whatever you do try to walk, run, swim, lift weights, whatever you like to be healthy. It is normal to feel sad when you are grieving and like you can’t seem to enjoy the same activities you used to. This feeling shouldn’t last since it could turn into something more serious: depression. Takes step toward a healthy body and your mind will thank you.
Your role is not caretaker
I fall into this category. I hated seeing my mom cry after my dad died. So I never cried because I didn’t want her to feel sad. That all blew up in my face because at one point I got so stressed I quit going to school. Your job is to be a student, and you’re allowed to express how you feel. You’re allowed to have fun, go to prom, and dream about your future. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the reality for many teenagers around the world. Let your parents worry about all the adult stuff and focus on your activities and school.
Do you have any stories or tips you’d like to share about teen grief? Let me know in the comments below so others can read it, too!