Stress This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Sometimes I feel like a tormented mother awaiting the arrival of her teenage daughter at one o'clock in the morning. My mind is constantly plagued with outrageous assumptions of the unknown. If one were to look up the definition of the word "Worrywart" in the dictionary, my name would probably be given as a reference. I am always in turmoil with the unfamiliar world surrounding me. I cannot help but worry about my grades, health, and future. Though it may seem like a comical dilemma, it is indeed quite serious.

To begin, I am always preoccupied with the notion that there is something wrong with me. I believe that I have some exotic disorder for which there is no known cure. If society only knew of the preposterous diseases I think I have contracted, I would probably be labeled a hypochondriac and end up in a mental institution with a strait jacket. For example, I once thought I had contracted the irreversible disease of glaucoma. My eye was a bit swollen and the only sensible conclusion was that it was the first stage of glaucoma and soon I would go blind. Another instance of my hypochondria occurred as I was enjoying a piece of candy I had received Trick or Treating. The candy tasted odd and almost suspicious. I then realized that some cruel, inhumane adult had poisoned me and this would be my last night. I knew that by the next morning I would be no more. Even today, as absurd as it may sound, I know that I am slowly developing an ulcer. I even have substantial proof to back up my theory. It is a fact that I do not eat breakfast, but I do chew gum all morning and as I chew the gum, digestive juices are produced. These juices do not have any food to digest, so they begin to feed on my stomach. Sometimes I can almost feel this slow, painless process of deterioration.

If the ulcer does not kill me, the stress I am under will. Someday a news headline will read: "Young Student Dies From School-Related Stress." Every day in school is like the front line of a battle. I am constantly molested by the many subjects I take with report cards, teachers, mid-terms, finals, PSATs, SATs, and even ACTs. It's a wonder I don't make a weekly visit to a psychiatrist.

For example, a couple of days ago I took a mid-term in chemistry. To prepare, I began studying two weeks before the test. I became so obsessed with studying that I studied while I ate, while I watched television, and even as I rode the school bus. Finally, it came time for the test. I had my lucky pen and eraser and began to answer the questions. I got through half the test and suddenly blanked out! For ten minutes I sat and stared at the questions. My teacher finally told us to stop and pass in the papers. As she spoke, I remembered how to do the problems! I could not believe it! Not only had my lucky pen and eraser failed me, but all my studying had been in vain. As if studying for chemistry was not stressful enough, for the English mid-term my gracious English teacher required the class to write two essays in one night. Under normal circumstances, my teacher gives us two weeks to write one paper. If I did not have high blood pressure before, I certainly developed it while attempting to finish that assignment. As if working into the wee hours of dawn was not bad enough, I only received a C for the mid-term. Again, my hard work did not pay off.

With all these low grades hovering around me, I fear for my future education. Upon viewing my scholastic record, any respectable college will avoid me like the plague. I will probably end up in some low-grade community college and become a Zamboni driver in a dejected, uninhabited skating rink. I will lead a depressed life of regret as I observe my friends leading fulfilling lives of happiness. If I'm not fortunate enough to get a high-paying profession as a Zamboni driver, I will become another homeless soul, searching for a purpose in life. I'll reside in a desolate park, surviving on others' pity and charity. My bed will be a cold park bench, with the New York Times as my bed sheet, and a Time Magazine as my pillow. My biggest fear is that after all my suffering, I will contract the life-threatening illness, pneumonia, and meet the same fate as the great Jim Hensen.

With all this worrying, I am quite fortunate that I am not already locked up. I am constantly pre-occupied with thoughts concerning my failing health, low grades, and dismal future. My only hope for a better life is to stop tormenting my mind and to enjoy each day without reminiscing about the past or planning the future. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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