• Rebecca Simpson

What's Your Pennywise?

“It” has been my favorite book since the first time I picked it up because those kids weren’t just characters to me. They were misfits in a small town, bullied and misunderstood, doing their best to survive childhood while facing their worst fears at every turn. I felt like I was one of them. No, I didn’t have an evil clown trying to obliterate me and my town, but I had my own Pennywise. In fact, I think everybody does.

What’s your Pennywise? It may be similar to the kids in the book (or movie) who faced bullying, physical and emotional abuse, discrimination, a lack of support or a lack of resources. It may be drugs or alcohol, anxiety or depression, or a combination of those and other things that haunt you. I knew I was a moody kid, and it wasn’t until later that I was

diagnosed with both ADD and

depression. It certainly would have been helpful to know that when I was much younger.

Besides not realizing that I was dealing with issues of mental wellness, I never understood that I wasn’t alone. I didn’t feel that I could talk to my parents, the last thing I was going to do was give other kids one more thing to tease me about or to make me seem even weaker, and I was sure I could fix myself if I just tried. If I worked harder, smiled more, did whatever I could think of, somehow I would magically beat my Pennywise. It never occurred to me that, just like the kids in “It,” there were more just like me. There was a whole group who felt like I did, and there were ways of fighting back. We just had to get together, and nothing would have been as scary.

No matter who you are, and no matter what your Pennywise is, you are not alone. You are not alone, and there are resources out there to help. There are resources for youth, for parents, for teachers, for friends, for people who don’t know where to go or what to do. It’s as easy as saying I want help, or I think a friend needs help. Once you reach out, someone will take your hand. All you have to do is ask yourself, what is your Pennywise?

#youarenotalone #whatsyourpennywise

- Text or call 208-398-HELP (4357) if you or someone you know is in crisis, and learn suicide warning signs by checking out spp.dhw.idaho.gov

- betheparents.org provides resources to help parents recognize and prevent underage drinking and directs parents to professional help if necessary

- https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help offers information on drug, alcohol or mental wellness treatment facilities and programs with goal of reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on our communities

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