“me too” and we’d love to help!
Today’s world is challenging for teens and their parents. In a world where we’re all wrestling to find our true identity, its not uncommon to see teens, as well as adults, get caught up in challenging times. Addictive behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, cutting, pornographic and sexual behaviors as well as even wrestling with sexual identity can become very difficult waters to navigate. Add traumatic circumstances into the mix and these things can really begin to escalate. These types of behaviors and challenges often lead to things like intense anxiety, depression, self harm, rebellion, isolation, and, in there worse moments, suicidal thoughts and tendencies. In the mist of such struggles both parents and children wrestle with where to turn to get help.
In today’s world, we don’t raise a flag telling people we need help. In Christian communities, it’s sometimes even more difficult as one feels the pressure to have it all together. As parents, you simply don’t walk into church waving a flag sharing “I’ve got problems with my teen!” Even if you speak to counselors or pastoral staff, they often don’t have the freedom to easily connect you with others sharing the same struggles. Sometimes during the storm, all you’re really looking is to hear are the words “me too”. Well, if this is you, our family would like to say “‘me too’ and we’d love to help!” While we’re not in a place to share publicly all the details of our story, we are in a place that we want parents and teens to know there is help. We also are now very open with our story with those whom it likely will benefit.
As a bit of an illustration, I’d like to share a couple family photos.
What do you see? What’s the difference in these two photos other than them being taken a couple years apart in different settings? At a glance, would you see us as a nice looking family that appears to have it all together? Would you ever dream looking at these photos that in one of them we were in some of the deepest, darkest periods of our lives? For most of you, likely not; while some may make some assumptions based off what I’ve presented to date. Yes, friends, by April 2015 we’d just hit rock bottom and were thankful to be on a schedule vacation somewhat giving us a time to breathe. Again, I’m purposely withholding the details; however, will do so individually for those it might add value.
Wrestling through the journey we learned much along the way. Since that time, one of the things we’ve learned is our experience isn’t as uncommon as we might have felt during the storm. To this point, we wish we would have known many of the folks we know now at the time in order to connect, support, share resources, love, and encourage one another.
Beyond this, we found great counseling options in our community. In particular, our primary counselor, we now consider part of our family and she is celebrating right alongside us that we’re now on the other side. Another tool that was invaluable was DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) which both our teen and ourselves as parents went through. Be learned so much through this process about how to relate to one another as well as regulate emotions. Additionally, as parents we found tremendous value in being able to sit in the same room as other parents having “me too” experiences. While each one’s circumstance differed, many of the root causes were the same and the tools learned applied to all.
So, if you’re reading this blog today and saying “me too”, please know we’re here to help. Additionally, if you know someone having challenges, please don’t hesitate to share. No, we’re not counselors or other paid professionals whom you’ll likely need, if not already, to aid in guiding you through the process. We’re simply another family who wants to love, encourage, relate firsthand, and get you connected with others as well as resources to help. If that’s you, please reach out via my website and we’ll be in touch within 24 – 48 hours.