A young, thin, beautiful, acne-free 17 year-old-girl…independent study, Starbucks, Christian Youth Theater, Bayside youth group, driving, dancing, theater…..sounds like a perfect daughter, right? WRONG!
My daughter is gorgeous. She works, goes to school, is involved in theater, goes to church, has friends, no boyfriend, no drugs. BUT she struggles immensely. She is in a constant battle on the inside.
She is not the only one. Many teenagers, girls and boys, struggle with mental illnesses. Anxiety and depression are huge and can be easily masked and unseen to the naked eye in many instances. They smile, laugh, hang out with friends, text, converse on SnapChat and Instagram and appear to be your normal teen. Inside, they feel they don’t measure up. They struggle talking in person and to adults. They are sad. They are scared. They don’t know how to act. They want to have that fancy car, and get straight A’s in their AP classes, have the perfect hair with their nails done sporting designer clothes, and fit in with Miss Popularity. The competition is fierce. The standards they feel they have to live up to are enormous. And then bring in the bullying that is outrageous in our era and the suicide attempts and completions that are happening and our teens have it TOUGH!
My daughter uses a special blend of oils I created for her before extra stressful events. We mix Stress-A-Way, Peace and Calming, Lavender, Bergamot, Harmony, Release, Vetiver, Surrender and maybe another one or two oils I will toss in from time to time. She is working on consistency of drinking Ningxia Red daily and a dose of Natural Calm magnesium each night. We are encouraging a healthier diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. She wears a lava bead bracelet. She goes to therapy a few times a month to learn coping skills and ways to manage her depression and anxiety. We are encouraging 8-10 hours of sleep each night and some sweaty, heart pumping exercise most days of the week. These things are hard for teens to fit in. They want to drink Dutch Bros and eat Jack in the Box curly fries and stay up and gossip with their friends all night on Face Time. Try encouraging more good and decreasing some of the not-so-good without saying NO to all the things that make them a silly teen. As adults, we struggle with discipline for ourselves, eating right, exercising, budgeting, and so forth. Kids are going to also. Don’t expect perfection and don’t let them expect perfection from themselves either.
Being a nurse, I saw this in the Emergency Room a lot. Being a mom of a teenaged girl, I see it daily. Depression is real. Anxiety is real. Mental health is prevalent. Lift your kids up. Talk positive light into them. Tell them how amazing they are and all that they can accomplish but let them know you are there for them no matter what. Hug them, even when they don’t want it. Ask what they are doing and with whom. Be curious. Be involved. Be loving. Be a friend but be a parent. It’s our jobs to teach them and love them and to help them be the best version of themselves.
One final note to share with your loved ones….if you text “Home” to 741741 when you are feeling depressed, sad, or going through any kind of emotional crisis, a crisis worker will immediately text you back and continue to text with you. Yes, it works. I tried it and got an immediate response!