First there was the teen who said she developed a counting compulsion after Newtown.

Then there was the teen whose father dumped her off for me to tell her that her mother was dying.

Do you call this a fun world?

I don’t.

Yet something about being present for such painful traumas in the most vulnerable teens on earth made me pause. Made me feel deep pain for our world.  Made me aware of terrible terror and suffering in some of our most fragile communities.  Teens who are hidden.  Who go to school and take the PSATs while tapping and worrying that they’re going to be shot.  Did we ever worry about that?  I know some of you worried that the Russians were coming and had to hide under your desks.  I only ever worried about odd/even gas lines.  Now all that has changed.  There are fewer resources (why?) and more guns (why?) and greater insecurity abounds.

Chaos Abounds

Chaos Abounds

While I struggle to make ends meet, take care of children and parents, cope with tragic rifts in my own family, my generation has become weaker, squeezed by healthcare, taxes and lack of affordable childcare; violence, metal detectors and higher deductibles; our toxic leaders.  While other parents around the world live with less stress than a generation ago.  Kids undoubtedly come to therapy to seek comfort.  Holding my patient’s hand and just allowing the tears.  “Do you want to call your mom?”

She tries to grasp it.  “She will miss everything,” she sobs.  “She will miss my sweet 16…”

We sit in silence.  “I’m not ready to see my dad right now,” she says.

“Stay as long as you like,” I say.

The other girl says I count, I rehearse, I repeat, I tap, I twitch.  Why?  Because kids got shot in their school.  Kids.

I start to cry.  I too have children in this world.  My big girl carries mace.  My little girl is strong.

I walk the kid slowly to her car.  “I’ll text you,” I say…

How did we get here?