Ella Salem: The constant battle of mental health


Maya Lange

Senior Ella Salem smiles through her struggles with mental health. Salem first realized she needed to go to therapy sophomore year and has been doing much better ever since. “It took me way too long to understand that I had a problem and needed help, but everyone who is struggling with their mental health deserves to get help,” she said.

Maya Lange, Opinion Editor

Anxiety. It’s something that everyone has experienced at one point or another. The sweaty palms before an important game or the shaky feeling before a big test. Those feelings of anxiety are completely normal, and while they can be hard to handle at times, it does not mean that you have an anxiety disorder. When your anxiety turns into a constant battle and things like going to school or work become very difficult to get through, that’s when you might have a disorder. Ella Salem (12) has dealt with an anxiety disorder since she was just nine years old, and she can attest that it is extremely different from ‘normal’ feelings of anxiety and stress.

“The difference between anxiety and an anxiety disorder is that people have anxiety because of something that’s stressful. Something that you need to be stressed about. With anxiety disorders, you are unreasonably anxious about something you don’t need to be anxious about,” Salem said.

She believes that anxiety is something that isn’t well understood in her generation. When asked why she thought there was such a stigma around mental health, Salem said that many people her age seem to think mental health is a joke. She said that people sometimes perceive anxiety disorders as people being dramatic or weak, but in reality, these disorders are just as detrimental to your health as any physical disability.

Salem was also diagnosed with anorexia and binge eating disorder. The first time she realized how badly she needed to get help was when her parents sat her down and told her she couldn’t play tennis if she didn’t gain weight. 

“I had been having problems with passing out after school and I had lost so much weight. I was in a bad place. So, when my parents told me that, I started to realize how concerned everyone was about me,” Salem said. 

And that was exactly what she needed to hear. Salem has been seeing a therapist ever since, and it’s helped her a lot. She is still recovering from all three of her disorders, but every day she works to get better. 

Through her battles with mental health, Salem has learned a lot about what it feels like to have serious disorders, but still not knowing when or how to get help. She wants everyone struggling with mental disorders to know that they can and should get help.

“Even if you don’t think it’s bad enough, or you don’t think you’re struggling enough, or you’ve seen someone struggle more, it’s always important to get that kind of help before it becomes too bad to where it’s starting to affect your daily life and all of your experiences. Everyone deserves help.”