- Do you feel that you are different to your peers and feel that they cope better than you?
- Do you feel misunderstood by others?
- Does life seem like a rollercoaster with too many up and down feelings?
- Are you avoiding things, finding it difficult to plan and organise yourself or falling behind in your work?
- Do you sometimes struggle to understand yourself and know how you feel?
- Are you scared of expressing your emotions, especially if they seem like ‘negative’ ones?
- Are there frequent distressing and frustrating rows with your parents and others who try to support and guide you in life?
- Are your parents, school or significant others in your life concerned and worried about you, but finding it difficult to know how to help you?
- Are you constantly worried, overly self-conscious and often feeling nervous, embarrassed or ashamed? Do you worry excessively about social situations, how you look, act and what you say and how your friends, peers and others perceive you?
- Are you a perfectionist and afraid of making mistakes and getting things wrong?
- Do you have any secretive behaviours?
- Do you sometimes self-harm or self-medicate with substances to help you feel better?
If your answer is yes to several of the questions above you might like to read on and hear a bit more about getting help.
The Challenge of Life as a Teenager
Life as a teenager is not easy and there are many demands and pressures on you to be happy, active, perform, achieve and stay on top of things. At the same time you are trying to discover who you are as a person, what you like and believe in, develop more meaningful friendships with your peers, understand your sexuality and explore your interest in romantic and intimate relationships.
There are many additional pressures about what you should be doing and how you should look and feel especially from the media and social media. Asking for help can be really difficult. You may feel ashamed or think that you’re weak, a failure or stupid and ‘should be able to cope like others can’ or that your worries, anxieties and stress ‘are not as bad as others’.
When you find yourself dismissing your feelings and problems this might be a good pointer that you really do need help and this is the right time to let others know how you’re feeling and to seek the help you may need.
The Professional Team who will work with you
Dr Ann Fitzgerald, Counselling Psychologist
Ann is a qualified and experienced practitioner in Mentalization Based Treatments. She uses this approach extensively in her NHS role and private practice. You can find her details on the British Psychoanalytic Council list of accredited MBT practitioners (http://www.bpc.org.uk/MBT). Further information about the training can be found on the Anna Freud Centre website, at http://www.annafreud.org/training-research/mentalization-based-treatment-training/mbt-training-programme/
Ann is a member of the Psychological Therapies team at Healthcare on Demand and has been working closely with young people in Surrey and surrounding counties. We recognise that at times of distress young people can find it difficult to let adults know that they are struggling. However, getting help sooner rather than later can make you feel less scared and alone with your problems and most importantly, realise that other young people have similar difficulties. You can get the help you need to manage and cope better in your daily life. This could make a real difference to your current and future life, enabling you to get on and do the things that you want and desire in your life and which can give you a sense of fulfilment and wellbeing.
The Benefits of Group Work
The aim of the group is not to resolve all of your current difficulties, but to kick-start the ‘mentalizing’ process, which is a process of change, including learning how to develop the skills necessary to enhance your emotional wellbeing and relationships. Psychological interventions are not a ‘quick fix’, but can make a significant difference in helping you to find a manageable and sustainable way to improve the quality of your life and relationships.
Joining a young persons’ psychoeducation group can be a scary idea and perhaps initially might feel too much or emotionally overwhelming. Acknowledging these anxieties is important, but remember that everyone is in the same boat and sharing these anxieties could help you to recognise that you don’t need to continue to feel like this and to struggle on your own.