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December 14, 2021

I Need Someone

Awake at 4 am 

I can’t remember the last time I slept. My mind keeps replaying the scene over and over and over again. I ran. Just like I always do. They laughed. Just like they always do. If the principal hadn’t come round the corner when he did, I wouldn’t have run. I would have been pinned to the cold ground, my arms and legs flailing, my eyes closed so at least I couldn’t see what I could feel. Punches. I can feel them now. I can feel my heart racing, my head pounding, my eyes tearing, my stomach cramping the more I think about it, the more I try NOT to think about it. My body is under attack. From the outside. From the inside. They say it’s fight or flight. But I can’t do either. I just lie here. Angry that I ran. Angry that they laughed. Angry that there’s nothing I can do. 

What is it? 

Positive stress, called eustress, helps you reach your goals, finish tasks on time and even motivates you to try something new—like riding the Mammoth rollercoaster. 

But negative stress, called distress, is an overwhelming stress that appears when faced with a stressor and can make you sick, physically and emotionally. 

How do I know? 

  • Physical signs: headaches, rapid heart rate, muscle and/or chest pain, tired, stomach aches, bad or little sleep
  • Emotional signs: unfocused, anxious, overwhelmed, depressed, angry, restless, agitated 
  • Behavioural signs: change in diet, substance abuse, nervous habits, unsociable, forgetfulness. 

Stress by the numbers: 

Why would I be stressed? 

  • Social stressors: school worries, bullying, peer pressure, breakup 
  • Family stressors: parental fighting, divorce, moving, financial issues, abuse 
  • Life stressors: illness, death, gender identity, world events

What’s the big deal? 

Too much negative stress can lead to: 

  • Health problems: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic stress, memory issues
  • Mental health problems: chronic stress, depression, anxiety disorders

What should I do? 

  • Figure out what’s causing your stress and check in with yourself
  • Exercise 
  • Eat healthily
  • Develop good sleep habits
  • Catch up with friends 
  • Avoid cigarettes, drugs and alcohol
  • Prioritize tasks 
  • Listen to music
  • Talk to a school counsellor 
  • Get help or talk to a professional if you’ve tried to manage your stress but symptoms don’t go away, if your stress is affecting your daily life, if your stress is getting worse or you’re having thoughts of harming yourself

Musical note

Research has proven that listening to music (not necessarily relaxing music!) after coming up against a stressor lowers stress levels, including decreasing heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol, aka the stress hormone. 

Cultural strategy

Some common methods for stress reduction don’t work for everyone and may not work for you. Try a variety of different techniques like breathing exercises, stretching, or grounding techniques so you can figure out what works for your own unique journey through stress.

For more information: