Continued from PART II HERE.
Signs Of Mental Health Issues:
For some anxiety can be the “force that’s pushing me about everything that’s wrong.” Then there’s the sexual assault horrors that we are made aware of. “My ex boyfriend didn’t understand that no is no.” Time might be able to erase the level of pain, but these victims are forever changed.
How things start are small at first. There’s a teen that comes from a multicultural background to the college where there’s no one that looks like her. Little by little, she stops getting out of her room, and eventually her roommate raises the alarm for her to seek help. There’s a high schooler who wouldn’t tolerate any break in his schedule. If it’s new, it’s something to avoid – is his mantra. Even a flick of hair not falling in place after a shower in the morning would set him off. And he would miss school that day. 60 absences later, it was time to get help.
“I track my mom always, I need to know where she was all the time.” It shows up as this need to feel like you’re in control of something. Anything. Its unexplained physical aches, tummy aches and body aches. Little kids are seen as difficult or being oppositional. For some, it’s shaking and hives. A teen goes to the clinic with hives, when the nurse says, “Oh, its just a panic attack.”
You struggle with choices, and making up your mind. What if this choice that I’m not ending up going with is the best one after all? Its these repetitive thoughts that churn in your head over and over and over again until they wear you out. For a 11 year old, it means that the “test tomorrow is the end of the world.”
What Depression And Anxiety Feel Like:
Here are some words that the children and teens use to describe what it feels for them to have a chronic mental health issue.
It’s like waking up and hating everything. It’s like trying to get out of quick sand constantly. It’s the feeling of being stabbed in the chest. Want to cry but when you do, there’s nothing there. It’s just black and white – everything, and feels like life’s a big waste of time.
It’s constantly being lost in thoughts and just want to go to bed and nowhere else. It’s having no self worth – it’s non-existent. It’s this constant anger, anger as this emotion to avoid being sad. For self preservation, you try to put on a façade to distract others from the actual issue. It’s the feeling of loneliness that no one can understand you.
It’s painful to just be awake and alive. A mother describes what depression looks like, its her grade school child not bringing home report cards because he has a 99 on it. When kids start isolating themselves, when their grades start dropping, and they suddenly start getting into trouble – or become very irritable for the smallest of things, that’s when we know children are going through something they’re unable to process.
Disorders Manifesting As Odd Behaviors:
“Using food to feel better, fixated on body image, and purging what I ate. And started exercising after my roommate slept because she was concerned about how much I was exercising. Food is not like drugs or alcohol, that I can skip a few days.” When we’re suffering with any type of a disorder like an eating disorder, we’re trying to exert control in some way, because we feel other areas in our life lacks control.
A psychologist is blindsided by his daughter’s anorexia. She’s just a perfectionist, and an over achiever and so good at so many things, he just did not even see this coming. One day, she reached out to him and told him she needed help badly.
When you suffer with manic depression, you become difficult to live with. “No one wants to hang out because I become too much to handle.” When you’re manic, you have no good insight. You have all these grandiose thoughts, and feel like there’s no problem with anything. Your mind moves fast from one thing to another, and after each episode you fall into depression.
These kids need a physical release, so you’ll see them slamming doors shut. It’s a brain chemical issue and they’re not doing these things because they want to be an obnoxious teenager.
Addictions And Self Medications:
Kevin, 40, is an artist and a singer. “There’s a war going on in my brain.” “I found drugs and alcohol in the end of middle school.” Says a young woman. The first use might be a choice, but quickly the drugs become a coping mechanism.
Self medication can look like addiction to a variety of things. Porn, exercise and drugs. A woman with severe anxiety “could go out only when she was on drugs.”
“I was using weed and Xanax, when my classmate offered me cocaine. I didn’t want to be my mom – she was a drug addict, and here I am on my way to be one.”
“Using drugs is like applying Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.” A friend took up drinking after his friend died. To alleviate their feelings, people resort to mal adaptive coping mechanisms. They jump into what’s available to them in their immediate environment.
When I Grow Up, I Want To Be Small:
Listen to this poem by Blythe Baird – When the Fat Girl Gets Skinny
To be continued HERE.
* * *
For Your Spiritual, Mental And Psychological Wellness
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