Sunday, April 14, 2019

One Teenager Killed Himself. Six More Followed

You may know that therapists run differently, some falling into two camps. In one they are interpreters who divine meaning that may or may not be there, from words. In the other they are more client-centeredassume that the meaning the client attaches to her words is the one that really matters. The rest of us, like me, are a combination of both. But if you tell me that you think the sky looks green, then I'm going to go, Wow, she sees a green sky! What else is she seeing up there?
Snowfall April 14, 2019

I get to the office on Sunday morning about 30 minutes early because the Sunday bus is reliable at 8:00 a.m., but not necessarily at 8:20 and I start seeing patients at 9. Taking the earlier bus also allows me time to pop into Tony’s to buy some produce, and I always buy too much to carry on foot comfortably. But that's just what happens. 

So when I do get to the office I’m a little out of breath, but not cold--  even though it is snowing on April 14, 2019, at this writing, a wet sleet-like nasty snow that will turn into big fat snowflakes in about an hour.

And I think, wow— I really did master winter this year— probably because of the fashion invention, leggings.  Under a warm skirt, these are phenomenal.

Layering up is a metaphor that we might apply to surviving dysfunctional families and/or dysfunctional work environments, too. People layer up, defend with coping strategies against the craziness. The healthy ones hide out with friends, confide in them or not, or they play sports, slap paint on a canvas, write songs, journal, study, create. They tend not to need therapy unless they can’t sleep or feel too much sadness or anxiety, or powerlessness and unworthiness become overwhelming. The unhealthy ones drink to much, use drugs (the wrong ones or too much of the controversial substances, pick your poison), identify with the aggressor and bully others to feel better about themselves, that insecure narcissism we see in so many successful people, oddly enough. 

Some kill themselves. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal ran a story about copycat suicides— six teenagers. No longer with us.

How do kids survive the world we’re living in? How do they layer up? How are they handling the attention deficit they know they have that makes concentration in school and at home so difficult, the known cause that constant electronic bombardment (only during waking hours), all that too much information consumed in the form of entertainment, games, social networking, even on television? Not that this is a cause of suicide, but it's a problem. And the violence, no question. A problem. 

We have to talk about this. 

Okay, my 9:00 will be here soon. So not now.


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