ASKING FOR HELP
BY SANAA,* AGE 15
BY TWYLA WATKINS, AGE 10
The PSSA math test [the state standardized
test for third through eighth graders] was
hard! Even my fourth-grade teacher said it
was hard. It felt like something a sixth grader
should do. The only good thing about it is we
I like to focus when I take tests, and that
was a problem when everyone was finished
except me. Everyone was yelling at me to
finish. The screaming was like sirens in my
ear. I could feel the sweat pouring down my
neck as I scribbled my answers. It felt like
100,000,000 minutes—actually longer than
that, but I can’t fit enough zeroes on the page.
I didn’t pass the test, but I didn’t give up—
and that’s the most important thing. Never
give up. If you don’t give up, you will make it
far in life and achieve great tasks. Remember,
nothing is impossible!
I have always had trouble asking for help. Maybe it’s just
a pride thing or maybe I’m just afraid—afraid of being
honest with myself about the fact that something might
actually be wrong with me. The thought scares me. I
still haven’t figured it out yet.
Just two weeks ago I tried to jump off a bridge.
Even then, I was still rejecting help. I’ve always
been afraid of therapists. When my mother told me I
was going to a therapist, I freaked out. I don’t like the
thought of people trying to understand the why behind
my actions—maybe there isn’t a why. Maybe I just feel
a certain way and I can’t explain it. Oftentimes when
people try to help me without my asking, it frustrates
me. I don’t want you getting into my head trying to act
as if you understand me when in reality, you don’t!
I can’t speak for all teenagers, but sometimes when
adults get involved, it can be tiring. I understand that
you only want what’s best for us, but sometimes you
don’t know what’s best for us. It’s like adults forget what
it’s like to be a kid—or they remember a little too well
and they’re trying so hard to prevent something from
happening to their kids that it only makes the situation
For me personally, I just need one person to confide
in—one person who won’t ask me questions or try to
understand me, and who won’t try to give me insights
or dig deeper. Instead they will just listen. I know for a
fact that human beings survive because of each other.
It is essential that I have a person who I can trust and
I don’t have a happy ending about how I overcame
my reluctance to ask for help, because in all honesty, I’m
still struggling. One thing I know for sure: I won’t ever
let go of that one person who sees me for me.
*LAST NAME WITHHELD BY REQUEST.