I'm in high school right now in the ninth grade - how do I figure out my future?

I'm 17, and I'm being bullied cause of my age and what I wear - I'm getting depressed.

Answers

Nancy L. Wolf, Advisor on Young Adult Mental Health - also college planner, lawyer and NAMI MontCo Board Member

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Hi, I'm a parent and also a young adult mental health "expert" - one of our kids was also bullied in middle school and high school so I have several ideas for you.

If you haven't already done so, try to talk to a trusted adult about what you are going through. Does your school have a counselor? Does it have an anti-bullying or "safe school" program? Can your school help you by putting you in different classes or social settings to avoid the kids who are bullying you?

At school you might want to practice responses that you will feel comfortable saying when someone bullies you such as:

  • shrugging it off, as if you don't care and walking away
  • making a joke in return
  • saying something off-topic in return to change the subject
  • directly asking - "why are you saying something so mean? are you o.k.?" (flipping it back onto the bully)
  • tell the bully calmly - "quit it" or "please stop"

And remember it's not so much what you say, but how you say it. It is not easy to remain calm and confident while responding to a bully.

Since being bullied can affect your mental health, I'd encourage you not only to talk to a trusted adult and stand up for yourself but to seek out mental health counseling since you mentioned you were getting depressed.

I am on the board of my local chapter of NAMI - a national organization that promotes mental health awareness and support.

Many local NAMI chapters, in most cities, have teen anti-bullying programs and support. They can also provide you with names of local mental health counselors and psychologists that you could talk to about your feelings of depression.

NAMI has a Help Line - 1-800-950-NAMI - that can help you locate your nearest chapter.

DO take your feelings of depression seriously and get help as soon as you can. Finding a trusted adult who may know your local mental health resources would be a good place to start.

Hope some of this info helps!

Nancy

Alexandria, Be u

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Idk try to be you and don't worry about wat others say about u cause u are who u are

Noel James, Great!

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I mean, you can't figure out your future right now. You can definitely have a plan of what you want to be, but you can't plan your future at this age. If you ask this from any of your family members, they should say the same thing. waist trainer

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Matthew Clemens, Physics and Math Teacher, Parent, and Tutor

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I wish this weren't happening to you. Or to anyone else. But you are not alone. The Trevor Project is a wonderful resource if you feel like there isn't anyone at your school that can help you like a teacher, principal, guidance counselor. The It Gets Better Campaign can also help you connect with others for whom high school is not inclusive and affirming. I wish you well.

Colleen Clemens, College Professor, Writer, Editor, Tutor & Parent

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I am sorry this is happening to you. As much as we talk about anti-bullying campaigns, you and your peers continue to suffer. I first want you to know there are many immediate resources for help based on the bullying you are experiencing. Here is a list of hotlines; I encourage you to seek the help of a professional to help you see that you do not deserve to be treated poorly.

I do know that leaving for college helps a lot of young adults find comfort on new turf. There is something freeing about going away that might help you, so perhaps you can consider that avenue.

Is there a way for you to do some of your high school education at the local community college or another venue outside the school walls? Is there a guidance counselor who can help you see your options?

You have a future. You don't need to figure it all out right now, you just need to know it is there and you are entitled to it.

Julie Gordon, Special Education teacher

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That's a hard question and a tough situation. I am sorry you are dealing with this. As suggested above, walking away and just being you is a good start. I would figure out some interests of your own and look to find a club in school of kids with similar interests. Having that group will make you feel better and make you look forward to different parts of the school day. Additionally, if there is an adult in the building that you feel comfortable with, you should share your concerns with him or her. I would also finding strategies to dealing with your depression. Talking with a counselor in or out of school will be helpful. I hope this helps!

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