Yackley pushes through struggles

Katrina Marsh - Custer High School senior

Today we have more technology and a different teaching curriculum, but students still struggle with social media, bullying and mental and physical health. Mathias Yackley is one of many students who struggle with severe depression and anxiety. He walked into high school thinking he would be judged for being different, for being weird. He thought it would be easier to make friends than it proved to be.
Yackley wanted to better himself, wanted to branch out of his special ed classes and improve his physical fitness. His goal was to make an easier future for himself. The process of accomplishing his goals may sound easy, but from his point of view, he found it sometimes stressful, always getting stuck with constant homework while trying to be a good friend by being there for his peers. He even admits he gave up. He was overwhelmed with school, friendships and relationships and found it hard to balance it all.  
Friendship was one of his biggest strengths. Throughout the years, he was surrounded by many supportive people. Cody Castelan, Nolan Saufley, Damian Smerdsrud and Katrina Marsh have always had his back by helping him with school, life and by always being there. With this he has learned many things: friendship, hardship and a good work ethic.
Yackley has maintained a job while struggling though school in special ed and coping with severe depression and anxiety. His advice on making it through school is “One thing done at a time, even if it’s not your best. Do your best even if it’s not perfect.”
Emotionally he says that sometimes “you have to put leather around your heart: to not get hurt, to save yourself from losing that trust, and to not push away people.”
The thought of high school life—overthinking, struggling with drama, etc. could overwhelm anyone. It is difficult from behind the scenes, maybe a little darker if you dig deeper. Yackley has been through it all: brokenness, hardship, friendship and family. He pushes on to make his future easier to live.
Yackley says that “ones who suffer from mental illness have a harder time focusing. We hope that teachers can let off and build on the strength of mental health, not overwhelm students.”
He believes that to some degree, high school is helping his goal to an easier life through classes such as personal finances, algebra, fundamental English etc.  
Yackley is now well on his way to graduation, opening a new chapter in his life that is yet to be discovered. Through school, work, his severe depression and anxiety, he’s overcome those battles.
Passing through the thought of bullying, social media and mental illnesses, more students like him can accomplish their goals too. From behind the scenes students struggle more than you see. But anything is possible when you put your mind to it.

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