Saturday, August 26, 2006

Good News & Part 2 of Teen Post
I want to thank all of you who prayed for and offered good wishes for Antoine. 18 year old Antoine suffered from a heart attack but was released from the hospital on Friday. Although he will not be able to start college on August 28th, we are so happy that God returned him to his family and friends. He is still under medical care with heart specialists but the doctors feel confident that he will be okay. Thanks again......He is aware that so many people were praying for him.....
Thanks again and many blessings to you all.


Working with Teens

When you work with teens it is amazing what they will tell you once they feel comfortable enough to open themselves up to you. What I have found is that they bottled their feelings up so tight inside that if the lid (their feelings) is not removed through discussion those feelings bubbles to the top and can explode.I have found teens who are very sad. Many feel that they will not live past the age of 25. Can you imagine thinking that your life is so hopeless that you can't fathom living to an old age? Well the teens that I have worked with make these statements often. Other professionals have told me that they too get the same negative thoughts about death from the teens that they work with.

The other thing is that no matter how bad the teens' mother is or was they always pine for them. Many of these teenagers remain depressed because they can not get past the loss of their parent to drugs, street life, death, or abandonment. You can put that teen in a mansion, educate them, and give them all the love in the world, but that means nothing. They want that parent even if the parent abandoned them at a young age. Constant thoughts of being with the missing parents may cause the child to become destructive and give up on life, thinking they were unwanted and loved.

When kids are hurting they hurt others. Teens who are bullying, fighting, stealing, and killing are doing this because they hurt. Not all of them, but many of them are lacking that basic feeling of love. So they strike out at others. Not realizing that talking to someone who can help them may start the healing process.

Unfortunately, in the African American community we have distrust with therapy, and mental health. Many of our elderly family members resisted counseling because they believe that all you needed to do was pray or that if folks think that you are crazy they would find a way to use it against you. Many of them unintentionally allow their illnesses to take over. In addition, there are some African Americans who believed that employers would somehow get their hands on their personnel files and misused their information, thus causing them to forego any kind of counseling.

Now the same thing is happening with our children, neighbors and friends. Our children believe that going to get counseling is for weak folks, crazy people, stupid folks and it sure isn't them. I know of a young guy who is 14 and a girl who is 13, both needing to continue their counseling but neither willing to take medicine. Trust me when I say that I don’t believe in giving young children medicine just for the sake of giving it, but I have been in this field long enough to know that for many children it works. With the girl when she is without medication she is violent, angry, and promiscuous. She was molested by her uncles and her granny allowed it to happen because she didn't want her sons to go to prison. So this child when on medicine goes to school, completes her homework and goes to counseling. Without the medicine, her negative behavior escalated until the only thing left to treat her was to admit her into a mental hospital so they could help her. But she doesn't want the medicine because she said that she isn't crazy and she isn't. But her pain is so deep that the medicine helps calms her. On the other hand the boy believes that only crazy people go to counseling. Yet, when he talks about his feelings he becomes alive, goes to school, laugh and acts like a normal teen. But when he stops going to his sessions, he becomes very angry, sleeps a lot, stays out and will not go to school. He said that he is not crazy and only crazy folks go to mental health centers.

What if we change the perceptions about mental health, do you think it would make a difference in the quality of life for many of our teenagers?





21 comments:

Brownsoul said...

That's great news about Antoine.

My friend and I were talking about how teens open up...specifically about sex. We were discussing that they're never embarrassed to share what they believe/practice. Which is good because it presents an opportunity to educate about myths.

Anyway, I agree that black folks don't like therapy. We just go to church. And there's nothing wrong with worshipping and fellowshipping during troubling times (and non troubling times), but it's good to have some one on one time with someone who can help you sort out what's really going on.

I most definitely believe that if we could encourage more teens to seek counseling, they would have a much better quality of life.

I'm reminded of Antoine Fisher.

Deb S. said...

Good news about Antoine.

Therapy will not only improve the quality of life of the teens you describe. It will also improve their quality of life as adults. In addition, it will make these young people better parents.

With a little bit of effort, we can break the cycle.

sodijety said...

I personally think that the negativity towards therapy, comes from the mistrust of the system in general. Or the feeling that those in charge are in no way capable of relating, or understanding to whatever they might be facing. There is also a sense of not belonging (and maybe not deserving to belong) to what they consider the outside world. And yes these views should change, but on the other hand what is therapist going to advice? Join the (what?) Or behave like this and that? (To get your butt kicked?). I don't think regular therapy applies to the hood.

Ruben said...

I'm glad that Antoine is making a recovery.

Brotha Buck said...

I got past the stigma by simply seeing it as getting advise from someone smarter than myself.

nosthegametoo said...

I have far too much to say on this topic to clog up your comments section, so I’ll be brief.

Overall, I would say that counseling helps when it is closely related to teaching some of the practical things people need to live a healthy life. It's hard to do that when a counselor is the only constructive influence in someone's life.

Counseling is one potential means of assisting the young, but with so few counselors trained and experienced enough to deal with some of the persistent and chronic challenges people face, I'm just not sure.

Thank you for sharing this.

Cami said...

There is a huge stigma about therapy among minority groups. I guess it would take an open mind from the younger generation to change that. I think a lot of times, people sweep the idea under the rug, as if their problems will magically improve. I believe in prayer and also in actively trying to work things out using whatever tools God gave you, friends, therapists or whoever included.

Shawn said...

Hey, that's great news you've shared about Antoine's recovery.

I think there's a great need in our culture for a favorable pov on therapy. We're quick to call someone crazy but not so adept at offering many solutions. There are too many people walking around with issues bottled up inside. These people are waiting to explode.

I have a friend who just started going to therapy regularly. She took stress leave from her job for the last 2 months to get better mentally. I can honestly say she's a much happier person ever since the sessions began.

Jaimie said...

God is good.

rama said...

As someone who also worked with teenaged school boys - I can imagine how rich and fulfilling your work must have been. Best, rama

Luke Cage said...

This is really tremendous news ms. Rose. Its great that he was able to pull through and look forward to his classes. Great story, and an even better conclusion...

Clay said...

glad to hear he is doing better - he and his family are in my thoughts

BostonPobble said...

Add my prayers to everyone else's! Sorry it took this long for me to chime in.

Before I started writing full-time, I worked at a community mental health clinic and our primary clients were the kids you work with, too. Just getting them to come in was So Tough. Plus, like with your kids, none of my kids expected to live past their early 20s, so why bother in the first place. It was heartbreaking...until one of them made it and realized life was worth living. That's the greatest feeling EVER.

Keep us posted on Antoine. Make sure he knows people are still praying for him!

Elizabeth said...

Interesting comments. As a therapist myself, I can tell you that the teens I've worked with didn't necessarily want advice on life's problems. They mainly wanted someone to just listen to them and take them seriously. A lot of them just needed help expressing themselves.

JerseyTjej said...

I am glad Antoine is better and will continue to hold a thought for his recovery. Thank you so much for the informative article on teens and their anxieties. As the mother of 13 year old twin sons, it is a CONSTANT test of authority, assertion and aggression that I am met with. Kids are so overwhelmed with choices they are not mature enough to make and peer pressure that therapy may become a requirement instead of a luxury...for both of us!

urban butterfly said...

Praise God!! I'm glad to hear of the good news that Antoine is doing well!! This is my first time reading about him. So I will start praying for him tonight!

sydney molare said...

Rose,
This blog is wonderful! You are correct about children hurting and hurting way worse than adults realize. What can we do? for one, I suggest we be realistic about what's happening with our child, get the real help our child needs and lastly, BE the parent they crave--loving, caring, but providing boudaries.

Hasan Mubarak said...

Hi Rose! Thankyou so much for your best wishes. I've been quite a bit busy these previous days. Now, however, I'm back in blogging business.

I read your blog to hear about this young talent called Antoine. I feel so happy for him, his family, friends and you that he's survived such pain.

Just started reading his article; it's really great stuff!

Shirazi said...

Need of the hour.

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