I’m want to start off by saying that this is going to be a much more personal blog post than what I usually write but I couldn’t look back at my teenage years without being honest and open. With that in mind, I should say that there are mentions of mental health issues in this post so if that’s something that might be triggering to you then you may want to avoid this. However, I have a great fondness for my teenage years and so I wanted to take a look back at the biggest lessons I learned from each year given that tomorrow I will turn 20 and no longer be a teenager!
- Age 13: People will talk and say what they like about you, the trick is not to care. At 13 I really struggled with a few unkind comments that were made about me at school behind my back and at the time it was a really big deal to me. I wish I could tell my 13 year old self that people will always have something to say about you and to be honest it really doesn’t matter so long as you’re happy with yourself. One thing I was proud of myself for throughout this whole experience is that I never changed myself once to please others and it also brought me closer to someone who I am still best of friends with to this day.
- Age 14: I had a pretty great year at 14 and I learned how important my friends and family were as I made so many amazing memories with them all. I had some great people around me and so it made moments with them incredibly valuable which I still remember to this day. It was also the year that I went to see One Direction live in concert which my 14 year old self was absolutely ecstatic about!
- Age 15: Asking for help is ok and it doesn’t make you weak. I spent a huge amount of time this year trying to ignore problems that had been brewing for a good few years. I had kept things very much hidden until this point and I absolutely refused to ever get help for anything. This was the year that I learned that asking for help is really nothing to be ashamed of. Looking back, I should have asked for help a lot sooner and it might have saved me a lot of trouble if I had done.
- Age 16: This was probably one of the darkest years of my life and there were so many things that I really wish I had done differently. At this point I was learning a lot of lessons that I wasn’t even aware of as this was when I began to go to parties and get involved with boys who I really should have stayed away from. My biggest lesson here was developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. This lasted longer than just this year, and I began to use alcohol as a way to ignore all of my problems and not feel anything at all. It even got to the stage that I would take it into school with me in a water bottle. I was so focussed on my exams, which I ended up doing very well in, that I completely sacrificed every other aspect of my life and alcohol was the only relief for me in this period. I am a completely different person to who I was at this time and I am very thankful for that. I also learned this year that there were some boys who really weren’t interested in you as a person at all and unfortunately I learnt this the hard way.
- Age 17: This year started off at my lowest and I had some incredibly dark points. I also ended up having a flashback to a memory that I had suppressed which caused me a lot of trouble early on in the year. However, things started picking up after I sought more help and I started to really enjoy my time in sixth form. I then met my current boyfriend who helped me to remember that I actually love life and I’m a very bubbly person- something that people hadn’t seen in me for a while. I’m not at all saying that a boy came into the picture and suddenly changed everything for me because I had already started getting help for a lot of my previous issues and I was definitely on the mend. However, I did regain a lot of confidence and my biggest lesson this year was learning the true meaning of consent. As well as this I also learned about falling in love which included both with my boyfriend, and with myself again.
- Age 18: This year was great for me. I had a lot of positive moments and memories and I was really enjoying my studies at sixth form. Unfortunately at the end of this year I did have some truly difficult moments when my dog and grandad passed away both very close to each other. However, my worst memory to this day was my brother almost killing himself which completely broke my heart as we were inseparable and the best of friends. He ended up in a psychiatric hospital which was the hardest moment I think of all my teenage years and my parents were of course very tied up spending time with him there. If not for my boyfriend, I would have spent a huge amount of this year alone so I was so grateful to the support that he gave me through all of that. It was a true mark for me when this happened that I still managed to try and stay positive and not delve back in to any old habits so this was when I truly knew that my mental illness didn’t control me anymore. As big headed as this may sound, my biggest lesson that year was learning that I am a lot stronger than I ever thought and given that my brother went into hospital only a few weeks before my A Level exams, I am proud of myself for coming out with A* A* A and getting into a top 10 University in the UK. I think all of my family needed that boost of good news and it really made all of the hard work worthwhile.
- Age 19: I have really enjoyed this last year as a teenager! I have been travelling to some incredible places that I have dreamt of my whole life and I started University. My biggest lesson this year has been that I can do a lot more than I ever dreamed of and there are so many adventures out there which I have really enjoyed exploring and I know that there will be so many more to come! I have loved this year and I am excited for what the future holds!
My overall take on my teenage years would have to be that no matter how dark things get- and they did get very dark at times, which I may talk about in another post on mental health if people are interested, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Things do get better and it will all be worth it in the end, I look back on my teenage years with a smile because I have so many happy memories, despite some of the struggles I went through. This to me just shows that the bad times can never cancel out the good times. I am proud of my teen years and of the person they have shaped me into today, which is something I never thought I would say! All I can say now is that I am excited for what my twenties have to throw at me!
Thanks for reading my review of my teenage years! Let me know your thoughts in the comments! XOX