What I Wish I’d Known as a Teenager:
Lessons Learned about Mental Health
I worried about grades as a teenager. I mean, I really worried.
Today, I know this was not typical anxiety about school. Looking back, I struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder and perfectionism. Among other things, I was obsessive-compulsive about never wasting time. Not. One. Second. Further, I was laser-focused on getting nothing but 100 percent of the answers right on everything.
I remember audio recording myself reading my textbooks aloud. Then, when doing “unproductive” things like walking to class or driving to the store, I could listen to my textbook recordings. OCD wouldn’t allow me to talk with friends on the way to class or to listen to music in my car, as these activities were deemed a waste of time.
My roommates in college were flabbergasted by this and my other behaviors. You’re studying, yet again, on a Saturday night?
The Meadows specializes in treating trauma. Abuse is one form of trauma. Often times, childhood trauma that occurred because of child abuse is overlooked as a core issue when people enter treatment for addictions or other mental health disorders. Sometimes people minimize what they experienced as children, deny that they were abused, or believe that it happened so long ago that they are (or that they should be) “over it” or it is no longer relevant.
It is estimated that each year three million cases of child abuse are reported to authorities in the United States (source: Childhelp.org). Childhood abuse comes in many forms and can be anything from physical abuse, sexual boundary violations, neglect of medical and physical needs, to emotional and social maltreatment and injustices.
I remember as a twelve year old, sitting alone in our living room after one of our by then typical family meltdowns …….trying to make sense of the pain and general devastation of our once very happy family……trying to understand how kind, decent and loving people could cause each other such unrelenting pain, how we could say the things we were saying, hurl insults, act out in anger and rage……I recall saying to myself “wars do these things to people, separate loved ones, wound hearts, tear families apart. But somehow we’re doing this to ourselves.”
The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) is promoting their 32nd Annual Alcohol Awareness month this April. The theme for this year encompasses the idea of drinking as a rite of passage. This immediately makes me think of a case that I have been following regarding a fraternity at Penn State and the alcohol-induced death of one of its pledges. While there are many issues in this case that can be picked apart and examined, I feel that alcohol, as a rite of passage is central to what occurred.
For young men of the ages 18 – 25, it can be challenging to recognize when sexual behavior has started to become problematic. Often, sexual behavior will escalate without them realizing it has occurred until important parts of their lives are significantly affected. Young adults also have unique stage of life factors that may make their diagnosis and treatment different from older clients.
As humans, some of the most shameful experiences we have are those that involve our sexual selves. A single sexual event can bring such shame that it holds a person captive for a lifetime. It can deliver a devastating blow to a person’s sense of value and evoke tremendous pain and fear that results in isolation from others.
Sounds like an odd question to ask, but for some people, this is a serious issue. Sex is a normal, satisfying experience for most human beings. We are programmed to want sex as a species. Many people even consider an abundance of sex to be a good thing. But too much of a good thing can be bad for you. How do you know when your sexual appetite has shifted from normal behavior to an addiction?
Fortunately, we have a simple quiz that you can take in the privacy of your home to help answer that question. Keep in mind that every person is unique, and you need to use your best judgment when self-evaluating. If you feel that you may be transitioning from a healthy lifestyle to one of excess, please give us a call. Our professionals understand what you are going through and can help you understand if Gentle Path at The Meadows is right for you.
Oh, and we aren’t going to ask you to share your results of this quiz on Facebook! This is completely confidential. We value your privacy and understand that this is a sensitive topic.
Recharging your body and mind, improving your focus and boosting clarity are all great reasons to meditate – but what if you could improve on what you’re already doing?
What is Sex Addiction • Innovative Experiential Therapy • 12-Step Program