When the Shadows Take over

It’s OK Not to be OK: On Teen Mental Health

By Saaniah Hardy

This article is a short one, but is no less significant. I wanted to display the detrimental affects of social media and societal pressure on the teen psyche. In this article, I use the extended metaphor of shadows as a unspecific negative force which symbolizes any negative thoughts brought upon a teen by society at large. Often, these thoughts are incorporated into a teen’s own perspective on life and circulate until they become almost indistinguishable from our own thoughts.

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Society holds teens to unrealistic standards in regards to the physical appearance of their bodies and their mental well-being. This is an ever-present, pervasive force. Even if you, yourself, don’t feel pressured to look or act in a certain way or follow a specific life trajectory, I am confident that someone you know does. Instagram, Snapchat, and even ads make teens think they need to conform to a “perfect lifestyle”. The shadows, so easily, take over. 

This external pressure starts to influence one’s personal life. Scared to lose your friends, you start to act inauthentic around them. You put on a mask before you go to hang out. Not because they told you that they want you to conform, but because you are scared of what will happen if you don’t. The shadows, so easily, take over.

You start to pick out every single one of your flaws. Even the smallest faults start to make your skin crawl. The shadows, so easily, take over.

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Everyone has their “down-days”. It is inevitable. There are sometimes when the shadows take over. The Oracle wanted to show readers that it is normal to have these thoughts every once in a while. However, if negativity starts to consume all your thoughts, The Oracle encourages you to ask for help from a trusted adult.  


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