Can stress display itself as depression in teenagers? It did for me!
Can’t get the teenagers off the phone? Constant ‘selfies’, posts for instagram or living life through snapchat filters?
Teenagers (& younger) are experiencing a highly pressured environment with the constant judgment on social media. The vulnerability of putting themselves out there to be ridiculed is outweighed by the need to put up posts to ‘fit in’, get validation, and create an image on line that is only a snip of real life. A false sense of reality creeps in.
I suffered with my mental health during my teens, and was often asked to ‘talk about it’, or ‘ask for what I needed’, but the truth is I didn’t know. That was my only experience of reality so I didn’t know it wasn’t right, or what to ask for. I was even embarrassed when someone commented, that my behavior was just a cry for help, but the truth is, it was. I just didn’t know it.
We assume stress is the high power job with big hours and huge demands, but actually it’s the body’s response to any threat. The symptoms range from rage (fight), to fear (flight) to withdrawal (fright). That threat for teens can be the fear of judgment, not fitting in, and trying to keep up the image they have created online. While this has always been there for teens, now it never sleeps. It comes home with them, anything they do can be photographed or videoed and uploaded for the world to judge.
So if teens are always quick to fly off the handle over the smallest thing (rage), or constantly unsure (fear) or displaying a low mood most of the time (withdrawal), this is their body communicating. They may not know what to say, or how to say it, but you can be sure they are looking for help.
A tip you can practice with any teen is ‘active listening’. Listen to learn how they are feeling. This can be displayed by repeating back to them what they are saying. Clarify if what you have heard is accurate. Empathize with them if it sounds like a difficult situation, or if you don’t understand ask them to help you learn. Ask how that impacts their mood, or time in school. You don’t have to fix it or have the right answers, just listen to understand.
Through muscle testing, we can identify the priority imbalance that is causing the emotional response. By balancing it, the client can develop more appropriate coping mechanisms that will aid internal regulation when the world of social media attacks.
This helped me and I know it can help others.