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.
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.
Girls are often born into this world surrounded by messages about who they are supposed to be, and who they should become; Be cute. Smile. Be a nice girl. Just give them a hug. Don’t make a fuss. Suck in your belly. Be the ideal body type. Look sexy. Stay pure and innocent. Be good in bed. You can have it all if you do it this way.
Alexandra Katehakis, Ph.D., Clinical Sexologist and Clinical Director of Center for Healthy Sex in California, provides her take on the current influx of sexual harassment and assault allegations of celebrities in her new piece The Seeds of Cultural Change: The Death of Misogyny and the Empowerment of Women. The article speculates the cause of the accused's' actions and discusses the cultural reasons that their actions have been allowed to persist.
By: Nancy Greenlee, LPC, The Meadows Therapist
Once a month, the Workshop team is treated to a consultation from Pia Mellody, the creator of the Survivors workshop treatment model. She makes herself available, both to consult on clinical cases, answer and process questions and to inspire us with her wise adages for the spirituality of recovery. Often, I leave our gatherings with notes in hand to share with my workshop groups.
Love Addiction • Innovative Experiential Therapy • 12-Step Program