Oh no, detention!

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: Today I had English. I messed about in class, talking, throwing paper around, etc. My teacher said that unless I started to behave I would be punished. I ignored this and carried on, tallking and messing about, and my teacher gave me a last warning. Again I carried on talking; she then said DETENTION this friday 315pm — 5pm. As this is my first detention, I had no idea it was for so long! We have to sit at our desks in TOTAL silence and write punishment essays. I have to write a 4 page essay on why its so important to behave in class. I said sorry to my teacher and explained if I had known how long detention was, I would have behaved, and because of that and the fact I have said sorry I should be let off. She said NO NO NO I will be punished and I need to learn that if you break the rules or misbehave you will be punished. I think I should be let off and given another chance. What do you think? ~Bad Girl Elizibeth

Kind bad girl: Thanks for asking! I think that your goose is cooked. You are so busted, and you’re headed straight to detention!

It was so nice of you to apologize to your teacher, and I really admire you for doing so. Now, show her how sorry you are by going to detention and writing the essay. And please, for the love of all that is holy, while you write the essay, capitalize your I’s. It took me forever to change all your lower-case i’s into upper case ones for my blog! Gracious!

Think about this from your teacher’s perspective: she has to manage about twenty or thirty kids at once, and she has to spend the hour on her feet teaching you guys, and she has to resist the urge to throttle miscreants like you who act up. You know what she could’ve done to you? Defenestration–the act of throwing wayward children out the window. But being nice and kind, she gave you detention instead. Maybe make your essay a four-page extended apology and promise of future good deeds.

In all seriousness, teaching is extremely hard work. It takes a lot of extroverted, social energy that most people just don’t have. It can be really grueling. Imagine if you’ve been put in charge of a classroom of Kindergarteners, and it’s up to you to get them all to do something. It’s that hard!

I know you didn’t realize detention would last for so long, but at least it’s not held in a torture chamber. And it wasn’t really your teacher’s responsibility to let you know how long detention would be. But you can do it! And please behave yourself in the future!

It won’t seem that long, but pack a book in case you get done with your essay early. Your teacher will probably let you read it.

The Age of Aquarius!

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: Why do I have the birthday blues? It’s feels like it’s just another day. I’m genuinely confused as to why I feel so neutral and “meh” about my birthday which is tomorrow, and I’m turning eighteen. This has been happening for a couple years now (this is the worst one though) and I really hate the feeling, as if the day is almost insignificant. I guess it’s like a feeling of gloominess/disenchantment. I don’t really want to blame the people around me because I know you can’t be dependent on them for your own happiness in this specific context–hyping me up for the day and making me feel special–so I really think it’s more of a personal issue. I understand that once you feel good and excited within, then that’s all you really need. The problem is to just get to that point. I truly don’t want to be full of regret in the future for not at least trying. It is a personal milestone/momentous day. Hope this all doesn’t come across as being self absorbed!

Kind querent: Oh my! Turning eighteen is hardly just another day! Now you get down and you get funky. I insist that tomorrow be all about you!

I think birthdays and major holidays tend to feel blah to a lot of people. The way to fight it is to have fun plans scheduled! Will there be cake? Balloons? Dining out? Presents? Party hats? If not, it’s never too late to get prepared!

Also, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to push past this, but I truly believe we aren’t 100% responsible for our own happiness. To some extent, we are indeed influenced by our loved ones, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! I hope everyone makes you feel special tomorrow! Happy birthday!

Procrastination!

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I have three F’s. I know I procrastinate, but every time I sit down to do my homework, I have to battle myself to even do it. It’s the part of the day I look forward to the least. I can’t study–same issue. I’d rather watch paint dry. I hate myself for it, and it’s keeping me in this horrible endless cycle of self-destruction. It really started when my parents divorced. But then, when I was doing better with that, my grandma died, then my grandpa was sick, then he died, and now we’re here. I know it’s just excuses. I know what I should be doing, but how??? How do I just sit the [bleep] down and do it? How do I make myself do this? When I could be, and want to be doing, anything else? I don’t want to retake classes, or go to summer school, or not graduate. I need my grades up. Any advice on how?

Kind querent: This is a random shot in the dark, but are you taking any psychiatric medications? They can have side effects that make it hard to focus. If you were put on some when your parents got divorced, it would explain a lot. If I’m right, don’t just quit taking your meds. Going cold-turkey can be hard on your body. Instead, discuss it with your parents and have them arrange for you to see your psych doc soon.

If you aren’t on any meds, then you might want to take an ADD screening. (Who knows?)

If all that fails, then I’d recommend the tried-and-true method of breaking your homework into manageable chunks and telling yourself, “I’m only going to do the math homework now, and then I’ll take a quick break.” Make a goal sheet on the fridge of everything that needs to get done, and as you accomplish one task, give yourself a star! It might help to shift from schoolwork to entertainment (like video games or whatever you do for fun) back to schoolwork in alternating bursts. Good luck!

Pass the food!

So, I’m starving. I’ve been awake for six hours, and I’ve already eaten two Luna protein bars and two brown rice cups and half a package of precooked grilled chicken strips. So what gives?

Watching my caloric intake has caused an unforseen problem: hunger. I’m not interested in starving myself to death, but if left to my own devices, I’d need around 2,400 calories a day to feel full. But I can’t lose weight eating 2,400 calories a day!

I’ve shifted to healthy foods. I’ve been eating loads of the aforementioned foods as well as oatmeal with nuts, barbecue chicken pizza (no fatty meats), high-protein waffles that I cook with my waffle iron, etc. I still sometimes get crazy cravings for junk food, but not all the time. It’s frustrating, though, dealing with the hunger, which could lead me straight to an unintended binge. But even if I do binge, I’m still ingesting less calories, because I used to just eat all the time.

But I’ve already ingested 1,000 (albeit healthy) calories today, and I’ve only been awake for six hours. What to do?

I think I can make the high-protein dark chocolate waffles for dinner. That’s another 800 calories, which’ll bring me to 1,800. But it won’t take. At some later point, I’ll again get hungry, which I know, because I’m famished right now. My stomach is having actual hunger pains.

It might be hard to regulate because my activity level is inconsistent. I spent hours deep-cleaning the first floor yesterday, and today I’m tired.

One small-scale study has shown that ginger can help suppress appetite, so I’ve ordered some in tincture form to take mixed in water a few times a day. It probably can’t hurt. I’m feeling fully committed to losing the weight this year, but it’s hard to hit a roadblock that isn’t your own fault. Hopefully the ginger will help.

I don’t feel like making the waffles right now, so I guess I’ll eat another Luna protein bar. That’ll ultimately bring me up to 2,000 calories, but what are ya gonna do? I hunger.

How do they do that with the caps key?

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: Hi! Strange that my question is this, but I really need an answer. Am I overreacting or experiencing abuse? My parents are divorced, and I live with my mom and grandparents. I suffer from social anxiety and major depression, which have been diagnosed by a psychologist, but my mom says that “We’ll fix everything by ourselves.” My grandmother usually yells at me for no reasons, makes me feel useless. Let’s just say that I am even afraid to ask her a question, somsetimes. When she’s angry, she releases all of her anger on me. My mom is just as mean as my grandma, but she also makes me feel stupid (example, if I made a mistake, she treats me like I am a baby who still needs to learn what’s life like and makes those high voices you usually use with babies). There aren’t any physical actions, though. I think everything is based on my psycho-side. I don’t want to bore you saying all of my problems and telling you “hOw mUcH I HaTe mY lIfE oH mY gOD sEnD AtTenTiOn”, but I just gave you a general (and not detailed) situation of my family right now. I think I am suffering from abuse not because they yelled at me once, or didn’t buy me something, et cetera, but because I don’t even feel loved by my family, the one who should always be with you, right? So, after all of this, (if you want some other information, ask me): am I abused?

Kind querent: You’ve got some unhealthy family dynamics going on, and your mom and grandma sound rigid and controlling. With the unhealthy dynamics, this means there are interactions between you and your mom and grandmother that are consistently unhelpful and stressful. What I’d like for you to do is tell another adult about it. It can be the psychologist who diagnosed you, or your school guidance counselor. I’m hoping that adult would recommend some family therapy to your mom and grandma. It sounds like you all need to attend some family therapy, and/or some individual therapy with the goal of being able to get along and interact better. I’m glad your household isn’t violent.

Another course of action that you could look into (and your psychologist and/or guidance counselor could help with this, too) would be to move in with your dad. He might be a better fit for you. And take it from someone who’s been there–if your dad’s calmer and more composed, then he’s the better parent to live with.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: Whenever I have free time, I feel guilty and lost, because I’m afraid of wasting my time. I am currently a business university sophomore, and I don’t know what I’ll do after graduation. I know that I don’t want to work in an accounting, finance department. I don’t have any plans or passion for building my own business. I want to change my major but it has already been two years, so my parents are telling me to graduate first and then do something that I like or study for a major I like. I like editing videos and posting it on youtube, I like writing poems on my journal, I like going to the gym, I like rap music and writing song lyrics. These are my hobbies but I don’t know how I can make money out of it and most importantly, how to make friends that have similar interests with me. My mental illness is mostly because I am lonely. I live with my parents, I don’t have any brothers or sisters and I have few friends (3 or 4 and we meet mostly at uni). I just can’t accept myself as I am, because I think I’m boring and quiet. Basically, I am bored of myself and I feel harder everyday to motivate myself to do things.

Kind querent: This is a tough issue with regard to your career ambitions. I’d urge you to meet with your college’s career counselors, who can talk with you to develop a career path. Business is a good major, but it’s anyone’s guess if there’d be a better major for you at this point. Could you minor in something creative, like art or music or drama? Just for fun? And it’s not too late to change your major. With a few extra summer classes, you might be able to change it and still graduate on time (if that’s important to you). Also, have you considered starting a business that includes your creative hobbies? That would be fun and productive. I just have to warn you, though, that it might not pay well. On the other hand, you’re majoring in business, so who knows? But not every business has to be boring-boring-boring blah-blah-blah. You could start a fun business, like a wall-climbing gym or an art gallery or a kitty cafe. There are so many fun ideas, you could do anything! Why not think about it? Be creative and keep an open mind!

So much sadness!

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I’ve been a burden to everyone in my life. Im not happy, I haven’t been happy in years. I got raped a year ago by an abusive toxic ex. I got taken out of my house a few months ago because of abusive parents. My boyfriend and I aren’t really compatible ever since I got taken out of my house. I feel like I have no one anymore, I’ve never have the feeling of love, I feel like everything in my life is just nothing. Im failing every class, I don’t have the support, I have a counselor but I don’t want to talk to her. I try making every person in my life happy, it doesn’t work. I put a fake face on everyday just so I can make other people happy. I’ve been depressed and suicidal since middle school. At this point I just don’t know what to do.

Kind querent: It’s so generous and kind of you to try to make everyone happy, and it tells me a lot about who you are as a person. My heart goes out to you for what you’ve been through. Is there any way you can try to connect with your foster parents? Maybe find a common interest with them, or an activity you can do together? Maybe you can also find support on an online forum. And I’d urge you to talk to your counselor and at least give her a chance. And even if you’re no longer compatible with your boyfriend, he can still be your friend, right?

Please don’t put any pressure on yourself to make your parents happy. It’s not your job. And they failed their job, or you’d still be living with them. For relationships, focus on friends and mentors. Try to find some girl friends who you can hang out with and talk to instead of focusing on dating, and try to find some mentors like your foster parents or a favorite teacher. One way to make friends might be to ask your teachers if they can arrange to have someone tutor you.

I know it’s hard to believe this, but you’re not a burden. You’re a very caring person who goes out of her way to make everyone happy every day, even at her own expense. I’ll pray that you find the kind of closeness you deserve.

College is scary!

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I’m 19 and this is my second year living away from home. Last year was fine, but this year I’m always scared and anxious. I do go back home from time to time, and everything seems to be fine when I’m there (or at least okay); but when I’m away, I always have fear for no apparent reason. I feel like something bad is gonna happen most of the time. And there are times, usually at night, that I feel like I’m actually dying. Last night I saw a nightmare and when I woke up, for the rest of the day, I still “felt” the nightmare. I felt like it actually happened and I was scared and had this really unpleasant feeling. It always gets worse at night. What’s wrong with me? 

Kind querent: I’m honestly not sure. It could be anxiety, but it could also be a handful of other issues. Although I have no certainty what’s wrong, I do have some suggestions.

  • You could move back home, assuming your college is in town.
  • You ought to see your college’s campus counselor.

College can be a very stressful transition. My first year of college was pure hell. Don’t feel that you have to push yourself to live in the dorms! It’s okay to live at home and commute. I think that might be best for you.

What I’m concerned about is that you might be taking on too much, e.g., by living away from home. Extreme stress can awaken any underlying health condition, including mental health issues. So you’ve got to make some lifestyle changes that will help keep your life less stressful.

The only other possibility (that I can think of) about what’s going wrong is that your intuition’s screaming at you that you’re not living in a safe environment. Does that sound accurate at all? If so, then you should definitely move home. You’re nineteen. You’ve got your whole life to be independent.

Normalcy!

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: First off I’m not trolling, I’m serious; and secondly I feel awful about it all and don’t ever want to do it again. Between the ages of 5-13 I did some sexual stuff with certain cousins. I felt so bad about it as a kid that I confessed to my mom about it and felt better. I also did something with my aunt but nonsexual. It was just a playful tackle but it got me excited I was going through puberty, and it felt almost flirty. Well I have GAD and I’m pretty sure OCD too. I met this girl I really like and I’m almost certain she likes me too. I was working, listening to music, and daydreaming about her, and I practically feel in love. I was daydreaming about playfully wrestling with her and then I got the memory of tackling my aunt and how it felt the same way that daydream did. Now I got myself thinking that if i ever go out with this girl and we cuddle or some **** that I’m going to feel like I’m cuddling with my aunt and now everytime I see the girl I like I think of my aunt. I dont want that. I dont want to be reminded of my aunt when I do stuff like that with her or just see her. I want to feel that unique feeling about the girl I like. My thoughts and worries have just gotten worse ever since then. This is making me extremely depressed. Now i got myself believing she looks like my aunt a little bit and that if I dont confess to my therapist about all ive done ill never feel the same about her again and wont be happy. I cant feel the lovey feeling anymore since this has been going on.

Kind querent: You are completely normal. When boys come of age sexually, they can be turned on by anything and everything. There are hormones coursing through your body, and it doesn’t take much. So if I were you, I’d forget about the experience with your aunt. It’s just one of those things that happens when you’re trying to get used to the influx of hormones in your system. If you want to redirect your thoughts about the girl you like, try this: instead of daydreaming about wrestling with her (like you did with your aunt), daydream about kissing her on the lips. That should reroute your fantasies into less auntly territory. And again, you’re completely normal. 🙂

Anxiety!

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: We have an 8th trader, no learning disabilities, good grades, sociable and has a pretty good friend group. She states there is no bullying of any kind as well. No drug, alcohol or nicotine use either. Her peer group is 14 year olds so feeling safe enough to be vulnerable is still lacking, but she overall has a good group. She began having panic attacks a few months ago and now can’t attend almost any of her classes. Our psychologists vary in advisement between ‘keep on facing the fears and showing up…. I dont know of any panic disordered middle schooler who online schools and then successfully transitions to high school’…..(verbatim). Or online school and allow for a reset so that the fight/ flight response is able to recalibrate. The hardest part of this is seeing the shame that goes with having panic and anxiety. She is so fearful of a panic attack, the anticipatory anxiety is the most prohibitive. We are in good hands in terms of our support systems but would like opinions from others who may have had a similar experience–personally or with a child. 

Kind querent: If there’s no cause for her anxiety (and I’m glad there isn’t), I’d recommend giving her some supplements she can swallow throughout the school day. There are a lot of anti-anxiety supplements available. Is it an ideal solution? No, but I hate to see her switch to online school without giving everything a good attempt first. There’s L-Theanine, which is the active ingredient in green tea that makes you feel woozy when you drink it. And just about any supplement used in the treatment of insomnia (except melatonin) could be used also for anxiety. (Melatonin affects your hormones, so I’d really only use it for sleep.) You should research some options and find one that fits for her. Tryptophan, valerian, who knows what else? Keep in mind that supplements differ from prescription medications in that they can lose their efficacy, so have her take as little as possible so she doesn’t build up a tolerance. And have her experiment over the weekend so she doesn’t fall asleep in class (although it’s hard to imagine that happening, since she’s so anxious). The benefits here are that you don’t even need to put her on medication. It would also give her a feeling of control, because she could be in charge of meting them out during the day. Make sure she keeps them in a labeled bottle so no one thinks she’s using.

Tutors and medication.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: So I got a phone recently and I don’t know if it’s the problem of the situation I’m snot to describe to you. I am an A student. Recently I failed two tests. It’s very hard for me to retain things in history and science though, which is not new. It’s been happening for years but I still do well. Now I don’t want to study anything. I just want to sing and rap and do my art all day and watch and do things that make me happy, which is also not new. But it seems that my mom has to talk to me more about it now. I stress and cry and feel lost and not in the right mind when I’m at school especially because of the people. What’s happening? What should I do?

Kind querent: I’d suggest that you tell your mom and/or your teachers that you need a tutor. Your teachers can probably arrange for someone in your class who’s better at science and history (my hard subjects too) to help you study and learn the material. I’d also recommend that you only use your phone at special times, like late at night after you’ve done all your studying. It seems to be distracting you.

Dear Mesmerizing Meg: My girlfriend was prescribed on antidepressants due to a breakdown that she’s having, something triggered her flashbacks of ptsd due to her year-long mistreatment. It’s not easy what she went through, not your typical not requited teenage crush. The doctor gave her pills, I checked and they had many side effects and I don’t want her to take them. She told me if they were so bad he wouldn’t have prescribed them. I said, “He didn’t even heard you, he didn’t say anything. He just couldn’t care less about what you went through, his solutions are stupid pills who will make you sleep.” I was holding her hand while she was crying telling him what happened but he was colder than ice. She will always have my support but not for this. I want to throw those stupid pills in the toilet.

I appreciate how much you care about your girlfriend. She’s lucky to have you in her life, and I hope you can continue to be supportive of what she’s experienced. But a few things to know–what she went through has left her in a state of dysfunction that could be greatly helped by medication. Try to picture experiencing something hellish and unthinkable. Now imagine it playing in your head again and again and again and again… forever. It’s not a pleasant feeling. The pills are meant to help your girlfriend feel happier.

And don’t freak over the side effects! All drugs have side effects, but with most people, only a few side effects occur. I take four psych meds, and I have minimal side effects. The side effects are more like warnings of what can occur rather than statements of what will occur.

Please believe me that her doctor does, possibly, care about her. With trauma, there’s no one “easy fix” although there are options and things you can do. And right now, without those pills, her breakdown could get worse and leave her with worse mental health for the whole rest of her life. It does sometimes work that way. I’m not trying to scare you, but if she was prescribed the pills, then I’d say there’s a 99% chance that they’ll be helpful. And if they aren’t, the doctor will check in and adjust the prescription or the dosage.

Thank you for caring so much about your girlfriend! I’m glad she has you!

 

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