The Forest Scout https://theforestscout.com The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School Tue, 15 Sep 2020 20:17:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 ‘I’m realizing that my story can help others’ https://theforestscout.com/27467/uncategorized/im-realizing-that-my-story-can-help-others/ https://theforestscout.com/27467/uncategorized/im-realizing-that-my-story-can-help-others/#respond Tue, 15 Sep 2020 20:15:18 +0000 https://theforestscout.com/?p=27467  I’ve really struggled with mental health ever since middle school but was really only aware of it starting in high school. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and have been struggling with both for a few years. It has affected my school work, my emotions, and my productivity. Sometimes I’m sad for a specific reason, or I can be sad for no reason at all.

I realized that something wasn’t right in my sophomore year. I would have breakdowns out of nowhere and would skip class multiple times a day. Thankfully, I came to terms with myself and had the strength to start getting help. 

I went to a program for a couple of weeks and I’m so glad I did. I learned new skills and met people who were struggling like me. I felt alone and lost before starting the program, but after I started, I realized that so many other people my age were struggling just as much as I was. 

I definitely wasn’t cured after the program. I still had anxiety attacks in the middle of the day and I’d feel like giving up multiple times. The only difference was that I learned so many skills to help me with these challenges. It took a couple of months, but eventually, I found myself the happiest I felt in a long time. 

The summer going into my junior year I had gone to my favorite place, Interlochen Center for the Arts summer camp, and returned home at the end of the summer to start the school year. At the beginning of the year, I felt confident and happy; this soon changed. A couple of months into this year, I started to feel the same way I had months prior. I was confused because I thought I had learned all my skills already and would be fine after going to the program. 

I knew that it was normal to have lows every once in a while, but I could tell this wasn’t just a one-time thing. In December, I started to spiral again; I refused to go to school for days. If I did go to school, I wouldn’t go to all my classes. I had no motivation at all. This past year was much worse than the year before. I felt so low I didn’t see the point to anything at all anymore. 

My parents decided that I needed to get help again and attend the same program. I was pissed. At that point, I didn’t want to get help again, nor did I want to go to school. In fact, I didn’t want to do anything at all. I thought it was stupid to go to the same place to get help again, and especially now, I thought help wasn’t going to do anything. I tried to keep a positive mindset, but it seemed impossible. 

I went to the inpatient program over winter break, which was less than ideal. I mean, being there from 9-3 on Christmas Eve? I hated it. Anyway, I pushed through it. Soon it was January. I went for another week and then returned to school. I still skipped a couple of classes and wasn’t feeling great. 

However, overall, the program helped me. I was able to relearn skills and it also helped to be around people who shared their mental health struggles while I shared mine. We gave each other advice, brought each other’s confidence up, and helped one another through our struggles. 

Now, it’d been a while since I’ve felt super low, but I’m still going through some things. I still have breakdowns and still have days when I don’t feel motivated. However, on my journey I’ve learned so much about mental health, and I think others should know more about it. 

It shouldn’t be embarrassing to have your own mental health struggles. At first, I was embarrassed about my story, but now I’m realizing that my story can help others. I want people to understand how depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses can take a toll on people, and that mental illness is a real issue; it’s a huge problem. It breaks my heart to see people feel so low. 

Some things that have gotten me through these rough patches are music and my amazing friends. Friendships mean the world to people who are struggling. Even if it’s just a friend texting you asking how you are, or sliding up on my private story and asking to Facetime. I cannot explain how much these little things mean to me.  

If you have friends who you think are struggling or who you know have struggled in the past, reach out to them. You never know when someone is feeling down. You can’t see depression from the outside. Even if you don’t think any of your friends are struggling, reach out to them. Ask them how they are and if they need anything. I don’t know if I’d be here without my incredible friends. This really shows how important they can be. 

I challenge you to reach out to at least one person today. Be kind to others. Think before you speak or act. You never know if what you say can change someone’s day for better or for worse. It’s not worth it. Anyways thanks for reading this. It took a lot of courage to share this. I would have never shared this a year ago. I hope you are all doing well and just know that if you have any questions or want to talk, I’m happy to talk. I want to help people and make them understand that they matter in this life. Their lives are valued. Thanks for reading and remember to spread love. 

This story was originally published on Kollasch’s Instagram page.

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‘I put on a smile while crumbling on the inside’ https://theforestscout.com/27473/uncategorized/i-put-on-a-smile-while-crumbling-on-the-inside/ https://theforestscout.com/27473/uncategorized/i-put-on-a-smile-while-crumbling-on-the-inside/#respond Tue, 15 Sep 2020 20:14:56 +0000 https://theforestscout.com/?p=27473 If you would’ve told me a year ago that Suicide Prevention Month would have any sort of significance to me, I would’ve thought you were joking. For most of my life, I’ve excelled in every aspect; I take the absolute hardest classes possible, play two varsity sports, participate in my church youth group, volunteer, and have wonderful friends. As a result of my status as an overachiever, I naively thought I was immune to mental health challenges. 

Yet, even as I’ve excelled, I’ve always been an overly anxious human. I remember getting panic attacks in middle school over trivial issues such as forgetting a homework assignment or losing a gym uniform. 

After middle school, my overwhelming anxiety followed me to LFHS. Those around me saw the inner turmoil I was desperately trying to hide. One of my best friends called me the most anxious person she’d ever met. Teachers suggested trying different coping mechanisms. Basketball teammates urged me to reach out to someone. 

For a time, I half-heartedly listened to their suggestions; I tried running, meditation, and talking with my school social worker.  Nonetheless, I rejected most of their help. I thought I had it all under control, but I was wrong.

During my junior year, I hit a breaking point. I know now that when anxiety goes untreated for long periods of time, it turns into depression. That’s exactly what happened to me. I pushed my mind and body beyond their limits. Eventually, they couldn’t take it anymore, and I slipped into a dark depression. 

In late September, I started feeling emotionally numb. No amount of joy or sorrow could affect me. The numbness was a crippling sensation; it was painful to not feel anything at all. At the same time, my stress levels peaked and social anxiety was added into the mix for the first time. 

Simple tasks such as ordering coffee made me sweat. Even around close friends, I was unable to hold a conversation without becoming flustered. I told myself everyone hated me and didn’t want to be near me. 

By October, I had fully fallen into depression. I randomly cried during practice and school for no reason. As well, I was horribly irritable (surprisingly, this is the most common depression symptom). I snapped at people I cared about who meant no harm. No amount of sleep could take away a never-ending exhaustion and heaviness on my chest. 

One of my most significant memories during that time was one day during math class. I remember sitting in class and just slumping down in my chair while my eyes welled with tears. It was too exhausting to even take notes at that point. That’s the kind of tiredness depression gives its victims; simple tasks become Herculean. 

I put on a smile while crumbling on the inside. Someone stepped on my chest even when I was all alone. I had a sense of hopelessness that made my life seem not worth living. I felt more dead than alive. Worst of all, I know what it’s like to wish with every fiber in your being that you didn’t exist.

I was incredibly overwhelmed. Prior to my depressive episode, I already had too many responsibilities on my plate. With depression added onto that heavy load, it felt like someone was pushing me underwater. Even as I thrashed in the water with all my might, I could never rise above and breathe.

For months, I hid my agony. My ability to achieve masked the deep sorrow and turmoil I experienced on the inside. No one knew what was going on internally, because I didn’t exhibit many outward depression symptoms. I still got amazing grades in difficult classes, started on the varsity basketball team, and participated in a boatload of activities.

For a while, my depression was my best kept secret.”

For a while, my depression was my best kept secret. I didn’t want to let anyone in because I thought I was a freak for having suicidal thoughts. The thought that circulated in my mind was “how can I feel this way?”

Even when I realized I was depressed, I still didn’t want help. From September to early winter, I tried to pull myself out of my depressive episode all alone. For some, it’s possible to win against depression without extra help, but for most, it’s a battle you’ll lose if you fight by yourself. 

Over winter break, someone else’s vulnerability convinced me to finally get the help I desperately needed. I talked with a friend who I hadn’t seen in a while, and she shared her own story with mental illness. She told me that she had suicidal thoughts while in high school. 

I was shocked; I’d always seen her as untouchable and relatively free of hardship. Nonetheless, her moment of truth allowed me to see there was nothing to be ashamed of in getting help, and that even high achievers such as myself could fall victim to mental illness. 

Soon after winter break, I started opening up to those around me. I saw my school social worker, a therapist, and was put on medication by a psychiatrist. I’m not going to lie, being vulnerable and telling the truth is extremely difficult. It can be awful in the moment and as soon as you open your mouth to share, you may regret it. Yet, at the same time, there is a freeing feeling in finally being honest and no longer having to keep everything to yourself. 

I’m not going to lie, being vulnerable and telling the truth is extremely difficult. Yet, there is a freeing feeling in finally being honest and no longer having to keep everything to yourself. ”

As soon as I shared my struggles, I realized I wasn’t fighting this battle alone; there was a whole team of supporters who had helped me without even knowing it. They were even more ready to get me through this hard time now that they knew what I was dealing with.

I can’t stress enough that supports don’t have to be people who are mental health professionals. Supports can be anyone who helps you get through the bad days; social workers, counselors, teachers, coaches, friends and parents are great examples. At the same time, you may find them where you aren’t even looking. For example, the athletic trainers at LFHS helped me get through so much. They listened to my complaints, gave me candy before hard practices, let me cry with no shame, and just gave me a safe space. 

In addition to seeing multiple mental health professionals, taking medication, and having a great network of supports, quarantine acted as a bit of a recovery period for me. I returned to old childhood passions such as friendship bracelets, coloring, and long walks in nature. 

I also had more time to engage in coping strategies such as running. During the summer, things aligned in my favor and I slowly started to recover. My depression symptoms lifted and I started feeling more like myself. 

Even though I reached out for help in the winter, I didn’t get better right away. The path to recovery is not linear; it takes time and has ups and downs. I still have bad days. Just because I’m not at my all time low doesn’t mean I’m cured. For now, I find solace in my faith and have the proper support and treatment in my life to make things easier. My life isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than it was during the fall and winter. 

For a while, I believed my experience with depression made me weak. I now know that is not true; my mental health challenges make me stronger. I have known great suffering and can understand great suffering in others. For that, I am grateful.

As part of my recovery process, I am slowly trying to alleviate my shame surrounding my struggle with mental illness. Still, I hate talking about my experience with mental illness because it makes me feel vulnerable. Vulnerability never has been nor ever will be one of my strong suits. However, what I hate more is that in 2020, depression and suicide still have stigma attached to them.

Depression can affect anyone. It seems cliché, but it truly is okay to not be okay. If you are struggling right now with depression or suicidal ideation, I’m incredibly glad you’ve decided to fight for another day. Sometimes it can be hard to wake up and face the world. I’m proud of you for choosing to do that today. 

You don’t have to feel this way forever. Please reach out to someone. They can be a school social worker, counselor, teacher, friend, or anyone really. You can even reach out to me if you don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone else. Getting help and being vulnerable is scary, but it’s worth it.

One day the dark clouds will part and reveal a great, big shining sun. Stay to see it. 

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‘Trust the Process’ https://theforestscout.com/27465/uncategorized/carley-walker/ https://theforestscout.com/27465/uncategorized/carley-walker/#respond Tue, 15 Sep 2020 20:14:31 +0000 https://theforestscout.com/?p=27465 I think it’s time I finally address this: mental health. 2020 has been a whirlwind of emotions. You and I know that; you and your family know that; the whole student body knows that; the whole world knows that. A lot of us are struggling. 

However, there is still such a huge stigma around being open about our struggles, particularly in the Lake Forest community. In light of this, I thought I’d share my story. In October 2019, I was at my ATL, my all-time low. I couldn’t make it through the day, I would constantly leave in the middle of class, because I was so checked out. 

I remember my stomach feeling like it was falling in a bottomless pit. I would go home crying every night. I felt so helpless. For as long as I can remember, I tended to keep things bottled up inside. I would refuse help from social workers, therapists, friends, and family members; if it wasn’t my brain giving me advice, I didn’t want it. 

When I finally was able to open up to someone, my social worker Dan Maigler, he referred to me as a ticking time bomb that was only seconds away from exploding. 

He was right because one day in October of 2019, I finally had exploded and came to realize that I couldn’t take on these hopeless feelings alone. 

I decided enough was enough, even though it was hard to admit. Even though I knew people would be whispering about me at school. To me, it felt that by admitting I needed help was telling the world I was weak and couldn’t handle my workload.

In fact, I actually remember one teacher told me last year in the midst of my breakdown that I would have to accept not doing well in the class or that I should drop the class. Since I’m such an academically focused student, this broke me that people that were supposed to have faith in me were losing faith because of my struggles.

Except, that wasn’t the case. The teacher was wrong, and I was and am a fighter. The biggest epiphany I ever had was finally admitting that I needed help. Then, actually seeking out help and getting treatment was the best decision I ever made.

I was diagnosed with a boatload of things, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. To sum it up to my friends I say, you name it, I most likely got it. 

I started an inpatient program at a health center to help address my problems and to talk through my struggles with trained professionals. I was in the program for five weeks, and didn’t go to school because of the program. Instead, I went to what I like to call “mental health school” from 9-3 everyday. 

When I told my friends I was in the program, I told them to tell anyone who asked about my absence that I had a concussion. This was obviously a horrible excuse because you really can’t be out of school for five weeks straight because of a concussion.

When I started the program, I was beyond nervous. I was closed off and on the first day I said some not-so-kind things to my assigned therapist. I cried a lot during the first week and told all of the therapists that whatever they would try to teach me would not help.

I was convinced I would never get better and that I was the exception to the program’s treatment. I was convinced that no matter what they said or what they’d do, I’d still deal with the tense ache in my heart and the pit in my stomach.  

Except, that’s the thing, you aren’t the exception, all you have to do is trust the process. 

Trust the process.

Trust the process.

Trust the process. 

Eventually, I had graduated from the program. I met some of the most amazing people and met one of my best friends. and no, the program was not full of a bunch of outcasts as many people assume.

A lot of the people there are just like you and I. Exactly like you and I: smart, hardworking, kind teens that had lost their way like us. 

I left the program as a completely different person, I was more carefree, less stressed, and I learned many valuable skills and lessons that I try to implement into my everyday life. 

This may sound cliche and it may sound way too simple, but the most important thing I learned was that everything happens for a reason. A lot of things in our lives are out of our control, and we just have to adapt to them. We have to be flexible. We have to realize that not everything is going to go our way; not everything in the world is centered around us and our needs. We have to understand and acknowledge everything that happens, try to adapt, and try to understand that we are not the only ones facing these challenges.

As High School Musical once said, we are all in this together.

2020 has been a crazy year, not the best year, but an important one. Many of the events that happened this year have been out of our control and we can’t change what has happened. All we can do is learn and adapt. All we can do is try to acknowledge the things that have happened to us and try to make change for the better. 

If you or anyone else you know is struggling, try to make a change for the better. Try to seek help. Talk to loved ones. Help and wanting to get better are not signs of weaknesses. 

Remember, all of our struggles are valid. Don’t underestimate what you are going through just because you think someone else is struggling more than you. I used to think this way and doubted I ever needed help because I always compare myself to others. You and your feelings are valid, always remember that.

Most importantly remember to trust the process, be kind, and choose empathy.

This story was originally published on Walker’s Instagram page.

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‘I had so many thoughts in my mind and nowhere to put them’ https://theforestscout.com/27471/uncategorized/i-had-so-many-thoughts-in-my-mind-and-nowhere-to-put-them/ https://theforestscout.com/27471/uncategorized/i-had-so-many-thoughts-in-my-mind-and-nowhere-to-put-them/#respond Tue, 15 Sep 2020 20:14:11 +0000 https://theforestscout.com/?p=27471 Suicide is a scary topic. Not only for the people thinking about it but also people who are worried about someone they love doing it. I have been to both places. 

I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and severe depression in November of 2018. I take anti-depressant medication every morning to help with some of the mental instability I face, which I hate. 

I also see a therapist about every week, which I wish I didn’t have to go to. I love my therapist, but I just wish I was a teenager that didn’t struggle with mental health issues. 

But, quite honestly, it’s not realistic in this day and age. 2020 has been one hell of a year, and I’m sure many of us have felt nervous, uneasy, upset, disappointed, sad, and frustrated with the situation we are in, which is completely understandable. 

When colleges ask me what events I have been through that have affected my drop in my GPA, I have a lot to put down, more than I’d like to admit. I was injured before my freshman year of field hockey, so I didn’t bother trying out because I knew it would be impossible to make the team if I couldn’t play for a bit. For me, that’s one of my biggest regrets I have from high school. 

I have lost a good couple of friends, but I’ve also found some friends that I know our relationship will be carried out beyond high school. I went through a tough breakup, although we are now on good terms. But, to top it all off, the coronavirus wasn’t the best way to finish my junior year of high school. At that point, everything became too much to handle. 

I have been out of school for an extended amount of time, over two weeks at a time,  twice in my high school career. The first time, I was put into a mental health facility in April 2019 instead of going to school. If you know my friend Carley Walker, she calls it “mental health school,” which couldn’t be more accurate. 

At the facility, I sat through lessons I didn’t want to listen to, got yelled at for talking during “class,” and spent about seven hours a day there. I was able to meet some of the most amazing people from around the area that understood what I went through and still talk today, even though we weren’t supposed to communicate after treatment. 

The second time I was out of school was this past March, just before schools were shut down due to coronavirus. I started 2020 on a rough road and I almost drove into the guard rails. I wrote a just in case suicide note, with no intention of following through with the action. My parents found this suicide note, panicked, and took me to the emergency room. 

The experience was so traumatizing that I can’t even remember what was going through my head during it. ”

The four hours I spent alone in the ER were the longest four hours of my life. I was furious at my parents for taking me there, so I had them wait in the waiting room while I was in the back.

I was in a super-thin hospital gown and only given one blanket; I was freezing. Parts of me became numb, especially my brain. I sat in that room on the bed thinking about God knows what. The experience was so traumatizing that I can’t even remember what was going through my head during it. 

Finally, at 12:15 am, a psychiatric evaluator came into the room and asked me some questions. Once I answered, she told me that I wasn’t going home that night. 

That’s when I started to heat up again; a single tear fell down my face, a tear of I was frustrated that they didn’t believe me when I said I would keep myself safe. In the moment, I had no again, I had no idea of actually following through with hurting myself in any sort of way. Because they were unsure about my mental state, i spent the next five days in an inpatient psych ward, which was my personal idea of Hell. 

I stuck out like a sore thumb there. There were patients that had attempted suicide, had manic episodes, had attempted self-harm, people who ate bars of soap to get sick, and even someone who attempted to kill her parents with a butcher knife. 

It was a scary place to be, and sleeping through the first night in the ward was difficult. I had so many thoughts in my mind and nowhere to put them. 

It seemed to put some things in the ward and put other things in perspective for me though. In no way am I trying to compare my situation to others, but my case was a lot less severe than the other patients. I wasn’t a threat to myself or other people. However, I need to reiterate that just because your problems seem smaller than another person’s, it doesn’t mean that your problems are little things that you just have to get over. Someone’s smallest struggle could be your biggest struggle, and vice versa. 

To conclude, if you need help, please don’t be afraid to get it. There are so many resources available, whether it be a friend, family member, medical professional, or others. I am always here to help any of you. whether it be a phone call, text, email, really anything. 

Stay safe, spread awareness, and keep your head up. You got this.

This story was originally published on Heswall’s Instagram page.

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‘Keeping silent is far more painful’ https://theforestscout.com/27469/uncategorized/keeping-silent-is-far-more-painful/ https://theforestscout.com/27469/uncategorized/keeping-silent-is-far-more-painful/#respond Tue, 15 Sep 2020 20:13:58 +0000 https://theforestscout.com/?p=27469 Two years ago, I was walking in Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day. Not to see the famous parade or the glowing green river, but to see a play that evening. The air was brisk and the ground was damp beneath my suede shoes. Coming into a dark, narrow alley, I found myself startled by the croaky sound of a man’s voice. 

“Watch out, there’s a dead body up there,” he said.

My heart sank as I continued down the street with hesitance, but still the slightest sense of urgency. Then, flashing blue and red lights came into view around me.

A man had jumped from a tall building. 

Intentionally.

There I was, in the middle of the vibrant city on one of the liveliest days of the entire year, witnessing the aftermath of a suicide.

Remembering this moment, I was scared stiff. Not by the sounds of sirens in the distance as my mom tried to shield my view from the scene, but because I knew where his thoughts were the moment his feet came free of the balcony beneath him. 

The familiarity was terrifying to me. This is not a typical thing for someone to admit, and society has deemed me ashamed of these monstrous thoughts, keeping silent is far more painful. 

However, the thought of this pain was hard for me to see back on that chilling March evening.

I went home to many sleepless nights, wishing I had the courage to speak up about how I was feeling.  I no longer wanted to be in a place where self-harm was the only way to feel relief, or pacing my room in the hours of the night when everyone else was asleep. 

I just wanted to feel “normal” again. Except, the problem was, I didn’t even remember how that felt. 

Years had gone by tiring me out with obsessive, intrusive, negative thoughts that, up until that point after that night, I was able to brush off.  That night made me realize that I needed to get help before it was too late.

Fast forward to the fall, and I was finally able to speak up for what I needed. At the time, I was at a point of emptiness being all I ever felt. One simple text to my mom, saying I felt a therapist would benefit me, was all it took to get me started on my crazy journey of healing. 

Then, I started seeing a therapist and soon after, a psychiatrist. Over the next few months following that text to my mom, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. With so much going on, it was impossible to find balance, especially after dealing with everything alone for years prior to this. 

Looking back, signs of these issues became recognizable from my early childhood. It became clear to me that I had far more to work on than I knew going in. As time went on without me making much progress from therapy and medication, my family and I agreed it would be a good idea for me to go to a partial hospitalization program. 

So, for the next month, I took a break from my rigorous school courses, and went to therapy for six hours a day. At the program, I focused solely on my mental health while learning coping skills and processing with other kids facing similar issues.

When asked by concerned classmates where I’d been, I meekly replied that I had a concussion. Even though I was ready to open up to my parents a little more and finally get the help I’d needed for such a long time, it was still uncomfortable for me to admit that I wasn’t the Sophie everyone thought they knew. 

The thing was, no matter how many times people told me it was nothing to be ashamed of, I couldn’t shake the stigma. ”

Back at the program, one of the concepts I was taught was called ‘Social vs. Authentic Self.’ Our social self is who we show the world, and our authentic self is who we show to those very close to us, or in some cases, nobody. In my case, my authentic self had only ever been seen by myself. 

This was when I discovered that the reason I was finding it so hard to be honest with people was because I had pretended all of my life before; it had felt safe, familiar, and comfortable to keep my battles hidden. 

The thing was, no matter how many times people told me it was nothing to be ashamed of, I couldn’t shake the stigma. 

Soon, I noticed that by the end of each day I would be exhausted. This fatigue came from me always putting on a show, going the extra mile to present my social self.At this time, I realized that I desperately needed to feel okay with being real. 

After the program, I was still missing something. I was becoming frustrated that I was trying so hard to get better, but nothing was really helping. 

I stayed out of school for days, sulking at home.  I wouldn’t eat, didn’t want to look at social media, and I couldn’t even motivate myself to take a shower. This was completely unlike me. I really had to try to get myself regulated. 

During this time, a friend of mine saw me struggling, and seeing me acting so differently concerned her. She wanted to help but didn’t know the best way, so all she did was offer to listen. Little did she know, this was the best thing she could’ve done for me when I was in that dark place. 

Her being there with me, putting herself in my position for a second, changed everything. It was such a simple thing, yet it carried me so far. All along, I had convinced myself that the only way to connect was to be someone else, some kind of ideal, unflawed superhuman. 

And to think, all of those distortions could have been avoided with just a short conversation. This showed me that all I needed to do was accept my authentic self, and not be afraid to let others see it. 

My friend helped me break things down, and to take things moment by moment. Soon enough, I returned to school. She stuck with me and being patient, compassionate, and accepting was the beginning of my contentment with my authentic self.

During this time, I learned to be grateful for those who are there to listen. 

Up until that point, I never gave enough credit to the people who were right there with me the entire time, I just pushed them away. 

So right now, I’d like everyone to think of a past act of someone else’s empathy that they are grateful for. Even if it was just one situation. Think of someone who has been there for you when you needed it. 

Next, think of someone you could go to. This can be any person you’d feel comfortable leaning on, one time or many, if you needed. This can be a trustworthy relationship to build on. 

Finally, think of someone new to reach out to, whether it just be asking how their day went or giving a kind smile. Try to think of someone you can connect with. 

None of my medications or therapy skills can begin to do for me what compassion has. Now I know that, even though these mental illnesses will never fully disappear, I can coexist with them if I continue to be open about my struggles. 

So look for more opportunities; look for more chances to share your story, more chances to hear someone else’s. 

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the man who decided to jump that day. I desperately wish that he had another chance for someone to listen. Whoever he was, I’m grateful for his life and forever disappointed I couldn’t have lent an ear. 

And last but not least, I owe all of you a shoutout. Thank you for reading or listening, opening your eyes and ears to my story. 

Now keep them open. Hear and read more stories. And someday, even share your own. 

Thank you.

Taken from the transcript of Sophie Huddleston’s TedXLFHS Talk. 

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LFHS’ Wall Of Excellence To Be Virtually Unveiled https://theforestscout.com/27427/uncategorized/lfhs-wall-of-excellence/ https://theforestscout.com/27427/uncategorized/lfhs-wall-of-excellence/#respond Fri, 11 Sep 2020 13:00:28 +0000 https://theforestscout.com/?p=27427 Despite not having a traditional unveiling at the first football game, the LFHS Wall of Excellence stands strong. 

The wall, which faces the football field at West Campus, is famous for displaying recent graduates who highlighted the values of character, commitment, leadership, and spirit during their time at LFHS. Four of the individuals appearing on the wall are recipients of the Outstanding Senior Athlete Award. The selected students, according to LFHS Boosters, demonstrated “excellence through their athletic performance, leadership, spirit and sportsmanship as an athlete at LFHS.” Along with the highly coveted spot on the wall, these students are each awarded $1,000. 

“While it is unfortunate that we are unable to unveil the wall this year as we typically do, Boosters has partnered with LFHS New Media to make this year’s unveiling extra special and particularly powerful,” Boosters President Lesley Fisher said.

“These 15 honorees are deserving of the moment, as is the entire class of 2020.”

Recipients of the Senior Scholar-Athlete Award, Bill Rawson Memorial Award, Gayla Clemons Athletic Award, Matt Coutu Award, and the Philip Sousa Band Award, and finalists of the Outstanding Senior Athlete Award are also depicted on the wall, as well as LFHS’ Student Council Senior Class President and Student Body President. 

This year’s honorees from the Class of 2020 are as follows: Halle Douglass, Grace McGowan, Benjamin Rosa, Rylie Mills, Breck Nowik, Julia Tanna, Sophia DiVango, Nate Schmitt, Chase Waggoner, Julia Hender, Nika Belova, Charlie Aberle, Mark Smirnov, Haley Banta, and Sarah Bires. 

For former girl’s varsity soccer goalie Sophia Divagno, being on the wall is a long-lived dream come true. 

“It shows I did my part in setting a good example of what it means to be a Scout,” Divagno said.  “I feel very fortunate that I was able to represent LFHS for the past four years and do my part on the field. I owe it to my coaches and teammates for always motivating myself and others to do our best.”

Julia Hender, formally known as “Big 3” among LFHS field hockey fanatics, recognizes the impact the wall has had on the way she worked on the field.  

“I’ve grown up admiring the seniors on the wall my entire life,” Hender said. “I love field hockey, and when I found I was going to be on the wall it felt like all of the hard work I put into the sport was recognized.”

While all would love to see the mural for the first time in person under the friday-night-lights, there will still be an unveiling, just virtually. The video will be sent to the community tonight (September 11th) by email, as well as being posted on Twitter and Instagram. Make sure to throw on your blue and gold, and be sure to tune in to this modified yet classic LFHS tradition!

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Friday Five https://theforestscout.com/27410/carousel-stories/friday-five-51/ https://theforestscout.com/27410/carousel-stories/friday-five-51/#respond Fri, 11 Sep 2020 11:30:47 +0000 https://theforestscout.com/?p=27410 https://theforestscout.com/27410/carousel-stories/friday-five-51/feed/ 0 Louise Brickman https://theforestscout.com/27433/uncategorized/louise-brickman/ https://theforestscout.com/27433/uncategorized/louise-brickman/#respond Thu, 10 Sep 2020 23:25:20 +0000 https://theforestscout.com/?p=27433 Louise Brickman, or “Weez” as her friends call her, is a light in a world that has recently gone a little dark.

Louise is busy with her second season on Varsity Tennis, after helping the team win the State Championship last year. Since joining, Louise has made a huge impact on the team as a whole. 

“She brings the best attitude towards every situation. Whether it is a tough match or practice, she can always put a smile on your face,” junior Sofia Falls said. “Louise is one of the most hardworking and driven people I know, on and off the court. She’s truly a great teammate that everyone can count on and that makes the team’s environment so positive.” 

Speaking of hardworking and driven, Louise has been a member of the Model UN club since her freshman year, as well as a part of the Environmental Club. 

She also took on an amazing opportunity as an intern at BBC News in Washington DC at the beginning of her sophomore year. This opportunity allowed her to seize her passion for journalism; missing a week of school didn’t even faze her.

Louise’s positivity stretches beyond the tennis court as well. She will always be there to brighten your day, no matter how you are feeling.

“Louise is super funny and can make anyone laugh. She is always talking to people in the hallways and making sure they are having a good day.” said junior Tommy Hetler. 

 Junior Brynne Hippel is one of those lucky enough to be friends with Louise for a long time.

“She has always been such a good friend to me. She is the most generous person ever and is always there if you need advice or anything. She is also so spontaneous and fun! And the best thing about her is that she can always make me hysterically laugh,” Hippel said.

If you need a laugh, go seek out Louise, just like her peers said. You will often find her at CROYA. This year she is serving as the Cable and Tech co chair. 

 

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The One and Only Chadwick Boseman https://theforestscout.com/27404/in-culture/in-hollywood/the-one-and-only-chadwick-boseman-what-the-late-actor-taught-me-about-embracing-myself/ https://theforestscout.com/27404/in-culture/in-hollywood/the-one-and-only-chadwick-boseman-what-the-late-actor-taught-me-about-embracing-myself/#respond Thu, 10 Sep 2020 19:52:58 +0000 https://theforestscout.com/?p=27404 After a long first week of classes, I sat slouched at the one end of my grandma’s sofa, watching the last five minutes of an innocent little film about a hitman taking a young girl under his wing and teaching her the basics of “cleaning.” 

She admires his exceptional skill and aspires to be just like him. The story takes a difficult turn at the end, however, as the pair gets split up; not like when you get lost, but “split up” as in, well, let’s just say the hitman gets hit. 

I finished the movie and grabbed my phone, as any teenager would. I saw a notification that read, “Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther star, has died at 43.” 

I was shocked. All I could ask myself was, “How? It can’t be him, it just can’t be!” But as I cross referenced other articles, I soon confirmed that it was the truth. Plain and simple. At that very moment, I felt like the young girl in the movie I had just concluded: an idol of mine was gone forever.

Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016. He kept his diagnosis quiet and away from the public, despite having filmed around six major motion pictures between surgeries and chemotherapy. 

His career, while it may have ended too early, reflects nothing short of legendary. Pinning three phenomenal biopics under his belt, 42 (2013), Get on Up (2014), and Marshall (2017) are easily some of greatest and most rewarding films of his career. 

I, as much as anyone, would consider the portrayal of Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall respectively to be a great success in an actor’s career, all three figures acting as trailblazers and idols for a generation. Much like them, Boseman followed suit, carrying on those duties as he powerfully and meticulously emulated their greatness and became an idol for a generation himself.

While his performances in the biopics were outstanding in every way, the role that led him to stardom was in Marvel Studios’ Captain America: Civil War (2016) with his influential portrayal of Prince T’Challa of Wakanda, and then back with a punch two years later in Black Panther (2018), returning as the king (after the death of his father in Civil War).

Boseman at the 91st Academy Awards, where his film Black Panther was nominated for seven awards, including Best Picture.

As time has shown, nearly any film that Marvel produces will most likely do tremendously well in the box office. Case in point, the combined global gross of Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) rose to a little over $4 billion. And sure enough, upon its release, Black Panther did not disappoint, its worldwide gross topping $1.3 billion, making it the tenth highest grossing film of all time.

Now when I say this film changed my perspective on life, that is no understatement; it shifted my entire outlook. 

The first time I went to see the film, I immediately got lost in the world of Wakanda and the story it told. Only when looking at the movie poster upon exiting the theater did I recall that this was a Marvel film. All of the characters vividly came to life with Boseman at the center of it all. 

The second time I went to see the film, it was on a field trip for an African American Studies class my freshman year. As I rewatched it, I couldn’t help but feel the radiating reality that Boseman brought to the screen like never before. Regardless of his superhero status, he emulated traits of weakness, traits of fear, traits of failure. He was vulnerable. He was human.

The third time I went to see the film, it felt like T’Challa was normal, just like anybody else. And frankly, I marvelled at Boseman’s portrayal. That third time, nothing he did was staged. Everything seemed genuine. That third viewing is when his character truly touched me.

Vulnerabilities of any sort (emotional, mental, physical, you name it) are traditionally not something that one chooses to reveal. However these flaws, if you will, when emulated by T’Challa, a powerful and respected character, transform into something more than an imperfection: they are normalized. 

After viewing the film, it all of a sudden felt okay to reflect these emotions without fear of judgement or shame. I’m traditionally not one to let my vulnerabilities fly, so when I saw that someone I looked up to, someone I respected could do it, it was the most encouraging thing in the world. 

Sure, it’s important to maintain a strong façade, but it’s perfectly okay to flaunt your imperfections every once in a while. T’Challa showed me that. Chadwick Boseman showed me that.

In a way, T’Challa and Boseman are incredibly similar: both struggled to overcome challenges in their lives and did so with unparalleled grace. T’Challa struggled to fit in as the new king after the death of his father, being hit right out of the gate with incredible challenges and threats to Wakanda. 

Boseman’s challenge was his cancer diagnosis and how it would affect his film career. But seeing how the public was unaware of this challenge until his passing, I would say that he conquered it with much poise. His great perseverance is seen through the ten films that he appeared in between 2016 and today, and that is something that all of us can learn from.

While the passing of an idol and an inspiration can be difficult to cope with, it is important to focus on the lasting impression that, in my case, Boseman had on me and quite possibly the rest of the world.

His perseverance, strength, and talent are things that everyone can look up to. I, like many, admire the notable men he has portrayed, and he instilled a higher level of greatness within them through each performance. I’m a firm believer that a significant amount of their greatness rubbed off onto him, making him like no other: the one and only Chadwick Boseman.

 

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Coco Stevenson https://theforestscout.com/27407/uncategorized/coco-stevenson/ https://theforestscout.com/27407/uncategorized/coco-stevenson/#respond Thu, 10 Sep 2020 18:46:08 +0000 https://theforestscout.com/?p=27407 They say the best things come in small packages, and that’s certainly true with senior Coco Stevenson. Standing at just 5’2″, Coco is a hidden gem in the LFHS community.

Apart from golfing, doing homework, watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, and spending time with friends, Coco is a talented and detail-oriented baker. From Buche de Noel log cakes for French class to puppy chow, Coco’s confectionery skills are appreciated by many.

If you’ve tasted the puppy chow from a Human Rights Club bake sale, you now know the creator.“Coco makes hands down the best puppy chow,” Kelly Sheridan said.

Like the food she makes, her personality is very sweet. 

“I could tell from the first time we met that she was going to become one of my best friends. She’s literally always there for me, no matter what,” said sophomore teammate Olivia Adams.

Growing up in the tight-knit community of Lake Bluff, Stevenson has formed what hopefully will be life-long friendships.

“Her laugh and smile are contagious. She is all around a great person for this community,” said Bridget Seymour.

Apart from her activities, she is also taking rigorous courses online during her senior year, which isn’t easy, but Coco is a great example of how to do it correctly. 

“Coco is one of the most caring and genuine people I have ever met in my life,”  senior Jad El-Halabi said.

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