"Loss is nothing else but change, and change is nature's delight." ~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. "To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness." ~ Erich Fromm. Loss permeates the experience of life. It follows us through our lifetime.
"You could run from someone you feared, you could try to fight someone you hated. All my reactions were geared toward those kinds of killers, the monsters, the enemies. When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give your beloved, how could you not give it? If it were someone you truly loved?"~ Bella Swan. What is a child to do when mommy or daddy abuses, uses, or is dependent on drugs or alcohol?
"The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Depression comes in many forms. Sometimes it appears in obvious formats, such as through a sad face or slumped head and shoulders, or even through little eye contact and the lack of a smile. These are the more obvious forms of depression, as it might appear on the outside. Let's take a look at how depression looks in children and teens.
"In a way, I wanted my mum to go back to prison, because she was clean (drug free) for a few weeks when she came out of prison." ~ Child, (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction). The children of parents with substance dependence and abuse problems suffer silently.
"Tough love is an expression used when someone treats another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run." ~ Wikipedia. I believe in structure, boundaries, and limits for children. I also believe we do well to have fair limits placed on those we invite into our lives. Tough love has become a common phrase used in many varying contexts. My worry is that tough love that is not mindful is like passing the buck.
"At the end, all that's left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that's why I've never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that's why I've hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived." ~ Nicole Krauss. Hoarding, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and complicated grief coalesce to create an avalanche of chaos. I hear stories of children who beg their mother or father to not engage in behaviors that, even to a child, seem out-of-control. What are children to do about their parents who hoard?
"Our system is one of detachment; to keep silenced people from asking questions, to keep the judged from judging, to keep solitary people from joining together, and the soul from putting together its pieces." ~ Eduardo Galeano, "Divorces". The photo here is of a woman I met in central Mexico. She is a street beggar. I will call her Ana. Begging, as well as panhandling, and homelessness are poorly understood. When people live on the margins others assume they know why and judgments leap into conversations.
"Human beings are like parts of a body, created from the same essence. When one part is hurt and in pain, the others cannot remain in peace and be quiet. If the misery of others leaves you indifferent and with no feelings of sorrow, you should not be called a human being." ~ Sa'adi, thirteenth century Persian poet. Violence is a collective experience. If one suffers we all suffer. If enough violence permeates culture, society, families, and institutions the populace will become numb. Once this happens violence is free to metastasize.
"The best fighter is never angry." ~ Lao Tzu. For the therapist it is not unusual to meet children who are angry. In fact, it is not unusual to meet children who want to hurt others. They use words like; "I want to kill", "I hate him", "I want him dead." On one level it is shocking to hear tiny children speak with such force and conviction toward malfeasance. On the other hand I take to heart my job, which is to understand what this is really about.
"Where'd the days go, when all we did was play? And the stress that we were under wasn't stress at all just a run and a jump into a harmless fall." ~ Paolo Nutini. Next month many thousands of students will be heading off for college to become part of the Freshman class. These seventeen and eighteen-year old youth will be leaving known environs of home, community, and friends. They are leaving their tribe and coming together in a geographic location where there are many unknown tribes with unfamiliar cultures.