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A Breakdown of the Mental Breakdown: Why High School is So Stressful

Stress Reduction Kit
Image by programwitch via Flickr

Cheyenne Haslett ’13
Web Features Editor

Last weekend I had a mental breakdown. At least that’s what I’m calling it. It was my fourth mental breakdown this year.

It was over an English paper.

English is stressful, and I couldn’t think of an idea for this paper, but what was even more stressful was that my mom kept calling me upstairs and my brother kept knocking on my door and my friends kept IMing me with stupid, but very funny, and quite distracting links.

High school is stressful, and maybe I’m underestimating the definition of a “mental breakdown,” but before you judge me on that, lets just go over my daily schedule. Maybe then you’ll understand how the life of a student can easily unravel into what I call a mental breakdown.

Wake up at 6 a.m., and it’s pitch black out. Right here, we’ve already got a problem. I wake up before even the sun gets his lazy butt out of bed. How is someone supposed to function properly when they are forced out of bed, in the dark for that matter, and then have to try and make themselves look acceptable after having been up for five minutes, and then, forced onto a giant yellow bus full of other grumpy kids, to top it all off? And don’t forget, this is all before 7 a.m.

At this point, I’m already longing to be in my warm cozy bed.

Under my fluffy duvet.

Surrounded by a fortress of scrumptious pillows.

Fast asleep.

Anyway, moving on to the next portion of my super stressful day: classes. Yes, what you hear is true, students actually have to go from class to class for seven hours straight, and give their full effort in every single one.

And my day is not over after that, so no I can’t tell myself, “Only seven hours, just get through the seven hours and you’ll be fine.”

After classes, I go to my sport. Now, this part of my day, I am happy to say, does not make me want to curl up in a ball, or even cry for that matter.

No, this is my stress reliever.

After sports, I get to go home. Most would think home is the place I can exhale, relax, and rejuvenate for another extremely stressful day.

Well, that’s where you’re all wrong, because when I get home, my schedule is like this: unpackgymbag, sitdownatdesk, starthomework, gotodinner, scarflikethere’snotomorrow, finishhomework, shower, sleep. Breathing isn’t on the schedule because it’s just not top priority.

By the time I get to sleep, its close to 11, and all I can think is, “wow, I get to wake up in seven hours, then go to school for seven hours, and then come home and do almost seven hours of homework!”

And to think seven used to be my lucky number. Hah.

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  • C

    ChloeDec 11, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    So I know exactly how you feel. My day starts at 5:30 am and I leave at 7:20. I have a barn I have to take care of so I have to get up earlier than the typical person. I go to school and if anything that is my escape. I have practice (3 times a week in winter, 1 day a week in fall, and 5 sometimes 6 in the spring), art club, and a job. I get home from that and have to deal with a screaming father, yelling at me for something different every day. I get stressed out from that, take care of my animals, eat dinner, take a shower and by now it is already 8 pm. I have at least 2-3 hours of homework a night and almost every night I cry myself to sleep because I am so stressed and I am only a sophomore! I have a panic attack at least once a day too.

  • L

    LexiDec 9, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    This is a joke. I wake up at 615 am and leave my house for school at 7. We are then at school until 3 pm and I have work every day at 330 and it takes me 15 minutes to get from my school to work. I have zero breaks all day. Then I am at work depending on the day between 730-930pm. Then I go home, and if I’m lucky there might be leftovers from when my family ate earlier. Oh and don’t forget I STILL HAVE HOMEWORK, AWESOME RIGHT? So then I try and get MOST of my homework done before midnight without having a complete and utter breakdown. After I give up on my homework I still need to shower because I was working with food at work so I’m disgusting. Then after that, I get ready for bed. If I want my hair straightened or something for the next day I do it now because I don’t have time in the mornings. So by the time I get into bed every night its almost 2 am. This is not physically nor mentally healthy, and my school couldn’t care at all that students have lives outside of school. Mind you, I’m only a junior in high school.

  • A

    ArayaNov 28, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    I can relate to this so much, I am mentally drained. I wake up at 5:30 and the bus picks me up at 6:30, I go to school for seven hours and that seven hours are the slowest hours in the world then I get home at 3:30 and instead of putting on a movie or taking a nap I have to do homework and the homework normally takes about 4 hours so that puts me at about 7:30-8:00 and by then I’m so tired but then my mom gets home from work and she cooks me diner but by then I’m so stressed out from homework I lost my appetite so I force myself to eat a few bites then I just give the rest to my dog, by then its about 9:00 and of course my mom requires me to watch a movie with her because apparently its more important then me sleeping, the movie normally gets done at 11:00 then I take a shower, then I get ready for bed, and by then its about 12:00, so I finally get into my bed and I swear its the best feeling anyone can have, so I finally fall asleep and I get about 5 hours of sleep. Bottom line is that after we go to school for 7 hours we deserve a brake.

  • N

    NeomiOct 29, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Ive always known I’m not the only one who goes through this, and I always try to remind myself that I’m not alone and that others are feeling the exact same way. But that just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I wake up at 5am and have to leave by 6:30am and start my 40 minute walk to school. Because I have a zero period class, I have to be there by 7:30am (one whole hour earlier than everyone else) therefore I don’t just have to deal with 7 hours of school, I have eight. School gives me so much anxiety. Sometimes I find myself wanting to tear up in class, and sometimes I do. On top of that, I can’t even function properly on weekends anymore because I have homework from my AP classes every single weekend, I can’t catch a break, so school school school is always on my mind. It’s literally ruining me. I LOVE learning okay but the amount of work my teachers leave me is absurd, there is 168 hours in a whole week, it only feels like I ever get like 20 of those for myself. Let me explain, once those 8 hours of school are over, I get home at 4pm, I have like 5 or more hours of homework to do. That alone is already taking me to 9pm/10pm (I always try to go to sleep by 10pm, sometimes I have to accept 11pm). On lucky days I’ll have 2-3 hours of homework, so those days I have SOME time to breathe. Ill hopefully have like 2 hours of ME time if nothing else gets in my way. So basically my WHOLE point here is that I think it’s so crazy how some teachers can’t see that we’re humans too, we need some serious mental breaks too, we can’t always be drowning in work 6/7 days of the week! And I won’t lie, sometimes I do manage to cram all of my weekend homework into one day, like on a Saturday, and I’ll get Sunday off, but then what’s the point if anyway that whole day I’ll just be dreading thinking about having to go to school the next day. And even then my schedule always seems so crammed up with things to do outside of school work! All I’m saying is that my anxiety is through the roof because of school, I feel mentally drained more than I think is healthy if I’m totally honest. But hopefully all of this hard work will lead me to something beautiful. I have hope still and so should anybody reading this, we’ll get through it

  • K

    KaitlynOct 15, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    I can definently relate, Im at a breaking point and we’re only 1/4 of the way done with school. I know it will only get harder and that’s what I’m afraid of. I’m already getting little sleep which just exhausts me for the rest of the day. There’s no time for napping either because I have so much god damn homework. On top of that, like you said, I have soccer 3 days a weeks and games on both Saturday and Sunday. Tryouts for high school are also starting and I’m so stressed.

  • A

    AbbyFeb 15, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    I totally relate to this. I have have after school activities then I come home have to listen to my mother yell at me for no reason, do homework, try to eat and do homework then get yelled at for not eating fast enough, then getting told to hurry up and get my homework done because apparently watching a stupid t.v show with my family is more important than my homework, but then if I turn one homework assignment in late my mother gets so mad at me and her expectations are set sky high and I can only jump so far.

  • A

    AlexandraJan 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Okay I totaly get what you mean. I get up at 5 then leave by 6 30 to school. then I have school for & hours and then I go to cheer practice which makes me wanna bang my head against wall some days. then I come home do my home work barely eat and shower and by the time thats done its like 10 30 almost 11 so I get 6 hours of sleep on a usual night. and they expect us to keep up with china. crazy!

  • B

    Bro fo ShoOct 31, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    The graphic was REALLY creative. Nice job!