Posted in Mental Health, video

Body Love

Body image, fitting in…pressure from peers, media…what else? Is it not enough to be a teen and live through the angst, the hormones flaring like a roller coaster?  Exciting as it can be, being a teen, the pressures are enormous!
I have written about Eating disorders, Weighing in  and influences of ads and the media; there are always pressures to fit in as well as Self-Injury which is so misunderstood. Here is a video I want to share that Mary Lambert seems to sum it up so beautifully.

You are more than your body image, you are beautiful inside and out. Cliché as that may sound, try to adhere to these principals, you  will be rising to better places…emotionally, physically and psychologically.

Hope you enjoy the video as much as I did…

Mary Lambert – Body Love

Related articles:
Misunderstanding Self Injury 
Make the ads Skinnier, Why don`t you! 
Eating Disorder is a Mental Health Condition 
Who`s Weighing In 

Posted in Mental Health

Back to school jitters

imagesBack to school soon and sooner depending where you are located in Canada and the US. Here in Quebec the kids are back in next week.  It should be an exciting time for the little ones, right?  Well for many youths it is a great time of year.

For many, it’s a bit like that Wal-Mart commercial…you know the one with the mom holding her list and a little boy and a little girl that look bored out of their minds but don’t dare burst Mommy’s bubble, are shopping for school supplies.  It is a time of year that you start with new work books, new binders with fresh clean sheets. Don’t you love to write with your best handwriting possible on the first few pages?

Little Boy With Your Escholar Itens Going To School Royalty Free Cliparts, Vectors, And Stock Illustration. Image 10715678. -
Free Cliparts And Stock Illustration. Image 10715678.

Sharpening those Crayola crayons…oh, back up for a second,  (((((((((((rewind )))))))))))))))), they come pretty much all sharpened already now.  Oooops, I am sure dating myself now, aren’t I?  But you get the drift, right?  The crayons are all the same length and lined up nice and neat…for now anyway.

Others are getting the school uniform, matching pants, blazer/sweater and for some skirts but I hear many schools are

kids going to class - Clip Art Gallery
kids going to class – Clip Art Gallery

opting for pants for the girls too.  It may be a great idea to have a uniform but when the girls leave school premises and roll up those skirts just a tad too high, along with those blazers with the school logo, it may not give a good impression, right?

Some are out shopping for shoes and clothes because nothing fits anymore!…my oh my, how summer seems to make these kids grow like weeds!

It is also a financial strain for many families. And don’t kid yourself, many youths are aware of this strain.

New clothes, new school supplies and new haircut (that is sometimes put off to October when school pictures are taken). Getting to see buddies and friends you haven’t seen for 2 months.  Wow! That should be something to look forward to, right? You would think many youths would be anxious to see their friends and buddies.  It is a great opportunity for many who live in neighbourhoods where there are less youths their age. Finally, a place to hang out with friends during recess and lunch time.  Am I right?  You would think, eh?

I suppose for most it is a great time with the exception of the older teens who may have enjoyed waking up at 2 in the afternoon, school may be a huge adjustment but soon enough their circadian routine will get right back into the swing of things…hopefully.  Summer is fun too but after a while, social and intellectual stimulation is needed.

But for many youths that IS not the case at all.  For the couple of weeks, youths are thinking and dreading to get back to school.   There could be various reasons.  Let’s take a look at a few.

Some youths have difficulty in school due to learning differences.  That’s right, they just learn differently.  The information has to be taken in, regurgitated in a different way for many youths.  If he’s lucky, the school has identified the “difference” and has been able to implement a programme to help him learn better respecting his pace.  Let’s say he has the help required.  Great!  Some schools are great about this and all the students act like one big family, with students helping each other.  Now doesn’t that sound like a dream to you?!! Well, it is a dream unless you are in a special or private school with 10 to 15 students per classroom, this is rarely the case.  I am not saying some schools are able to promote this type of solidarity and team spirit but you know and I know that it does not happen often enough.  I have to admit it may be more prevalent in elementary schools but still, not all across the board.

bullyingThere is always “one” youth who will make an inappropriate comment to single out any students who are getting any form of “special education”.  And if that ONE student got a few snickers and laughs from the comment, the damage is usually difficult to repair unless someone acts real fast.

There is also “one” parent who may make a uncalled for comment about some students with learning differences taking up the teacher’s time.  I guess some of those parents do not always factor in that the school is usually getting extra $$$ for the extra time these students require.  I have a thing or two I could also add to that adult but that’s not the purpose of this post, not today anyway. {Keep smiling}

I remember speaking to a youth a very long time ago who said his friends didn’t like him much anymore because of his wisecracks.  In Kindergarten and Grade 1 he was considered the class clown.  But then his peers got wise to the type of comments…they were sarcastic, put downs and all that laughing was at their expense.     

Listening to him speak made me realize that he was a very brilliant young boy.  So we talked about his “gift” because that’s exactly what it is when someone is so smart, right?  It is a gift.  He didn’t have to work at it, or work hard to study like many of his peers.  So I explained that perhaps he caught on to things quicker and was not as tolerant when others didn’t catch on, hence, his spewing sarcasm from time to time.  He agreed on working on a plan to stop himself whenever he felt like blurting something cynical and to have a couple of good buddies remind him. Eventually he would learn to “think” before speaking.  I’ll never forget that boy.  The courage it took him to admit he was the one hurting his friends’ feelings.

There are lots of youths going back to school that are dreading going back to school to be exposed to more taunts, teasing and plain mean bullying.

They keep repeating old scenarios in their heads, from last year (and for the unlucky ones for several years) and it freaks them out.  I don’t blame them.  Many have given up telling a trusted adult (teacher, parent, counsellor or principal)  Yikes!! That’s not a great idea but they figure if the grown-ups in their lives can’t fix their problem, who can?

There are some youths and teens who have been so tormented with bullying (cyber bullying included) that they do not want to go back to school. Some have changed schools several times but it keeps on going on.

And sadly, there are some youths as young as 11 that talk about depression, self-harm and yes, even suicide.  Shocking?   I would say so!!  These are not the majority of youths…thank goodness but even if there is ONE student per school who is carrying this burden, that is WAY too much. 

It is so unfortunate to recognize that these types of situations are no longer just reserved to older teens (and by just I certainly do not mean that as a demeaning inference that it’s of lesser importance…not in the least!)

Adolescence is such a turbulent time in a youth’s life that being bullied does not need to be added to that se_high_school_bullyingcomplex equation of growing up!

–          Youths as young as 8 years old anticipate going back to school for various reasons like bullying, feelings of low self-esteem due to struggles learning and

–          many fear they just won’t fit in with their peers.

–          Some are changing school, new city, going into middle school or high school.  Those are “huge” transitions.

Do you remember how you felt going to college for the first time?   Remember starting your new job?  And those were during adulthood…so for young persons it is not as easy to go through these changes.

Some need help, some encouragement and lots of coaching and cheering on “You are doing great!! Good job!!”  I still feel great when someone tells me “great job”…it feels like being stroked by a piece of silk on my shoulder…that soft cool feeling, you know?

It is NOT part of growing up to feel that anxious, scared and worried about school.  Youths need support and guidance.  So, if you find your child is more rambunctious than normal, ask how he is feeling about school starting.  If she is usually an active and chatty person, and become more withdrawn and sensitive or testy…check it out. Any changes may be related to anxiety of getting back to school. 

–  Some youths may be anticipating how to make new friends…perhaps a few moved away; maybe they are going to high school…that’s a big transition and some are worried the school is going to be so big that their old friends will be drawn to new people and just forget about them.

–  Regardless of the academic level of a youth, peer relationships continue to be a huge part of their lives inside and outside of the classroom.   Friendships are often the first relationships youths make outside of their families; some may drift apart for various reasons as mentioned above but for the youth it can mean they are hurting and missing that person.  They need to know that they are not alone to make new friends.

Here is a great website that has umpteen ideas for youths and teens on bullying, friendships, emotional health and so much more.  Hopefully it can give you, the reader, some insights to help someone you know who is struggling with “back to school” jitters.



A little humour goes a long way…

Teach Chic: First Day of School
Teach Chic: First Day of School

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, August 21, 2013

Posted in Mental Health

Brainchild cure

My heart goes out to them,

for those who truly can’t stop

Yet they try real hard

and are so misunderstood

I wish I could invent a cure

for those who feel such pain

I’d call it my “brainchild”cure

and give away the services

And never ever sell my patent

especially to drug companies

those selfish greedy cretins

who care not for cures but money

Money is all they want.

So BrainChild cure would devote

Its time to help  all the folks

who suffer and self-harm;

Each person, once cured,

would have 3 powers

to share to anyone who self-harms;

So each person cured multiplied

by 3 multiplied by all the sufferers

of this condition and then delete

all such afflictions eventually, it

would certainly put a huge DENT

in rendering Self-Harm obsolete.

by Cheryl-Lynn, a humble stab at writing

(Never EVER give up on yourself and never give up on dreams)

Posted in Did you know?

Misunderstanding of Self-Injury

I have not been on my soapbox in a long time…guess it’s that time again…It really irks me to see how certain mental health conditions are NOT taken seriously and if they are, too often the are bunched up into other labels that probably scare furture patients from getting treatment.

girl in hoodie alone in the darkI hear it often…a person admits to self-injury and some professionals are thinking in their head already, “Hmmm, sounds like borderline personailty disorder.”  Why?  If the youth or teen gets the proper help and counselling early on, it won’t multiply into other complicated lables the system gives.  But if you want to get into the system, perhaps you need to qualify only IF you have certain conditions.  Who the heck makes these assumptions and these rules?!!!

What is happening with our mental health care system?  I hear from youths on a daily basis who suffer some form of self-injury.  Thank goodness my place of work has an anonymous line because youths and teens have such difficulty in getting support, compassionate counselling and are constantly stigmatized by their peers at school, educators and by the medical system.

A teen will get to their closest ER and if it is the first or second time they are consulting they may get some empathy but many times when they need to treat some wounds, the body language of some professionals show disdain and impatience.  Why?  Because they are not equipped to help.  Because too many are not equipped or skilled to help these persons who want to stop self-harming but are not getting the support they need.

Now I am not saying all medical professionals are impatient.  I know of nurses who explain to some youths how to take care of their wounds to prevent infection.  How to clean it properly and what not to do and what to do.  Those nurse are Florence Nightingales!! They are trying to prevent their patients from more serious injuries.  They get it!  And they must feel just as powerless and bound by the “system” because these persons are not getting the proper mental health care they deserve.

After listening to this video, I heard psychiatrists admitting how we are doing so poorly in helping persons suffering with this condition.  As one psychiatrist said, if they did not have a diagnosis before the got into the system, by the time they are in it…they will have so many labels, it is enough to make any one go insane!

Talking about it is important.  Keeping the silence because it makes people uncomfortable is NOT okay.  Keeping the silence because we are afraid it will be contagious and give other youths and teens ideas is like saying sex education will make youths have sex way too early.

Not long ago we could not even talk about suicide in case it gave ideas to other persons related or close to a person who committed suicide.  Talking about any form of mental health is part of the solution not part of the problem.

I hope this video enlightens you as much as it did me…

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, May 1, 2013

Posted in Did you know?

Make the ads skinnier why don’t ya?!!

This was an ad on Facebook a while ago…you know on the right hand side to catch your attention?  They did a survey, (Facebook did) and mostly women click on those pesky and annoying ads.  Well, to see this photo to attract mostly women, is an insult. Perhaps it was to attract the sensitive type, or maybe it was to shock the healthy type who thrives on a healthy body,  not the size and shape it should be, or maybe just maybe it was to attract a vulnerable person whose self depends only on what media portrays and a fragile person perhaps, whose body mass equates to her self-worth or another person who never accepts the body he/she has been graced with.

sick society we live in with diets that kill the body and mostly the mind

Well, the photo angered ME because I could see how it would attract any vulnerable person and the name Dr. …. Well, it seems to endorse the article because one would think a medical professional “knows best”. You would think…(And yes, I know the doctor had nothing to do with this particular image….personally). But it’s THERE right out in the Facebook public!!  So pardon me for taking a few moments to rant at my leisure.

I don’t care what the article is about!  I don’t give a care why the advertisers did it…what sickens me is to see such an image to shock, hurt, attract, tease, tempt or scare anyone into reading the darn article.

Keep holding on if you are battling with an eating disorder, if you are in treatment, if you are in recovery…if you have friends or family struggling with this…tell them…to remember to keep holding on.

I’m done now.  Rant terminated…for now.  CL

P.S. There ARE lots of good things on social networks, here is something I liked and saw on No BODY is Perfect.

check this out