I have no concept of home. I might have bricks and mortar, a roof, a shelter, but I have no home. Home is a place where you go to rest, to relax, where you can just ‘be’, restock, restore, ready to face the next task or the next day. I have no such place. If I’m lucky I might not be practically homeless, but spiritually, mentally, I have no place to rest my head. So how do you fix this for me?
If I could tell you first, I would. If I could string words and feelings together, I really would. If there was some comprehension, some stream of tangible consciousness the words would be there and all you would have to do would be to get me to speak them. But I do not have the words. I do not have the words to express that which screams and writhes within me. Razors, glass, lighters and matches are my lips; the trickle of blood, the burn, the pain are my physical words. For others the smashing of bodies against walls, the ingestion of items like light bulbs, the pulling of hair are involved. Whatever the method, the physical words are still the same. The physical words that tell of our inner pain and our torment. The physical words that make sense of the inexplicable, the inexpressible. The self harm that momentarily allows us to emotionally speak and heal, to calm the roaring storm. That is until the ocean of pain, of raw distress stirs up again and the transient healing is undone and to our tools we return.
They're my friends. They're my friends 'cos they get me. It's the unspoken stuff, the connection that runs beneath the surface. And yet you think I shouldn't hang around with them. They're a bad influence. They bring out the worst in me. Or you think they aren't really my friends and are there to exploit me. But you will never get me to stop being their friends until you understand why they are my friends in the first place and I understand this too. We need to work this out together before anything else. The role of familiarity magnetism, of low self-esteem, of a need for high emotional volume. You need to get this, before anything else.
"...But I wanted more, I needed the ride The inexplicable storm, the temporary high A body primed for drama, stimulation gone mad I’d blow up the quiet, and confirm I was bad You’d reach for your hair, and declare all quite lost I was clearly quite mad, for the undoing, the cost Of all that investment, of all that you’d done It didn’t add up, the unworkable sum But the numbers compute, it all makes sense When you think of my history, the emotions immense The experience traumatic, the learning acute My response to the calmness profoundly astute...."
In the previous post, we explored why some teens struggle with low self-esteem due to a lack of positive affirmation from others. One of our roles is to keep on building them up, and helping them to begin to believe in themselves. It is only once they begin to do this that they can begin to make changes in their lives where necessary and can begin to feel that they have the capability to mould their futures, rather than life just being ‘done’ to them. But how do we show them this? Sounds great in theory but what does it look like in practice? It’s finding the positives in their lives and in their characters and making a point of emphasising them whenever possible (but in a lighthearted off the cuff kind of way so that nobody has to reach for the bucket). Slowly drip-feed them. Young people who have little sense of self-worth often don’t know what to do with positive attention, it is so alien to them. So just like you can kill a starving child by making them eat too much to begin with, start slowly but surely so that they can gradually get used to their …
When you are working with a significantly overweight or obese teen, what do you see? A fat disgusting person with no-self control or someone struggling? Do you ask yourself the questions: What is really going on? Why are they over-eating? How much is physical, how much emotional? Is anyone to blame? What role has the child and their parents or carers played? These are some of the questions that my guest blogger, Pat Antos, seeks to address in this post, writing as his teenage self. Having himself been an overweight teen and a morbidly obese adult, he knows firsthand the issues that some of our teens are struggling with.