Adolescence is hard. Significant physical changes combine with a confusing mixture of uncertainty regarding identity, new social experiences, and the ever-present pressure of others' expectations (including the ever-present eyes/judgments of friends that social media brings). It is also a time of big life decisions and defining one’s personal values.
Sadly, teenage years can also be a time of experiencing intense trauma. This trauma can take a variety of forms:
It’s common for the effects of trauma to be noticed before the reason for them is understood. Overwhelming anxiety, failing grades, depression, school refusal, eating disorders and addictions all are common indicators of a person dealing with trauma.
The signs of trauma have only increased recently with dawn of the coronavirus. Today’s adolescents are having to deal with a world that has turned upside down without the resources of life experience or a fully developed pre-frontal cortex (the logical, clear-thinking part of our brain). Meanwhile, they are isolated from their peers, authority figures lack a clear sense of what to do, and there is no routine or normal, because everything is subject to change. This in and of itself is traumatic.
Navigating trauma is hard, and that's why you want therapists who specialize in trauma therapy. If you are an adolescent (or a parent of one) and are needing some extra help navigating these turbulent times, if you have experienced something traumatic or are simply trying to process what this new pandemic affected environment means for your life, we would love to help.