“Mental Health in Teens and Young Adults”

“I took out a piece of paper and a pen. I wrote on that piece of paper 1 word of all the things that filled me up and made me feel happy inside.”

“My 1st semester of junior college I bombed really bad. I mean really, really bad. My major was “Interdisciplinary Studies” a.k.a. elementary teaching. I honestly was somewhat culturally biased when it came to all I had to do to attain a degree in elementary teaching. I just knew I loved kids and wanted to help them develop and grow mentally.  I truly didn’t have much conviction, desire, or direction as it was when it came to school and my education. It wasn’t that I was a degenerate nor was it that my parents didn’t do their part in raising me with the tools to succeed in life regarding an education. Some people are just different when it comes to life and education. I was 1 of those different ones. I shuffled back to my dorm room that day with a different sense of purpose and belonging in this world. Ironically, I wasn’t discouraged about life and what was in front of me, for I did not know what was in front of me at that moment. I wasn’t scared, but I knew something had to be done regarding my life and desires for success in life. In my dorm room I sat on my bed and begin to think about many things. I said to myself that I would be working 8 hours a day at least 5 days a week for most of my life. I then thought about family and how I would leave my job everyday and go home to a wife and kids. I also knew that I would have to wake up fairly early in the morning every day to go to this job. I thought to myself that it was important for me to be passionate and happy about this job because even on my worse day I was going to have to depend on passion and desire to make me feel good about the decisions I was making.

Finally, I got it! Now, If I can only think of the perfect job for me. I took out a piece of paper and a pen. I wrote on that piece of paper 1 word of all the things that made me feel happy inside. A few of the things I wrote were “cooking, music, talking, interior design, etc”… From there on, I chose radio. I’ve been in the radio industry for over 14 years now.

At the age of 33, part of the reason why God was capable of defeating depression, depersonalization, and panic attacks was because before it all happened I had a high self-esteem, a foundation, and pretty sound identity. Although not as strong as it should have been, I had a relationship with God through Christ. I knew who God was in my life. A spiritual foundation, self worth, and an identity is a portion of what helped me to get through the valleys and darkest moments in my life.

You know, even back then in 2000 at my college dorm I knew God was with me. I didn’t have a relationship with God at all nor did I know Him. I barely ever picked up a bible. But, somehow He has always found a way to infuse His wisdom in me. I’ve told this story hundreds and hundreds of times to interns, many teens, and even parents. I leave you with these simple thoughts. This pertains to mental health in so many ways. A lost teen or young adult with no purpose or vision can be a dangerous set up of 1 or more of a few mental set backs. There’s a lot to be said about someone whom is on their own path to what they deem as purpose and success. Each teen and young adult is different in those quality of characteristics. A teen and young adult must be filled with “their” purpose and identity. I repeat, “their purpose and identity”. Not yours or anyone else. It is a dangerous thing for someone to live their live according to others or society. Many people find themselves much later in life and even feel somewhat distraught about things not accomplished. Some never find themselves at all. When a teen or young adult is pushed/forced into doing things they don’t want to do or believe in, depression and possibly a number of other mental conditions are lurking around the corner. When a teen or young adult has not developed an identity or purpose for life, that too is extremely dangerous and a set up for dark roads and valleys ahead. It is our job to cultivate life, identity, purpose, and love into our teens and young adults. We must do our part and give them something to hold onto in life so that when those dark days, months, and years come they will be able to battle them with fierce courage, faith, and continued purpose. (Proverbs 22: 6, Ecclesiastes 12: 1-8)

“A complete puzzle glued and hinged together in all the right places is more likely to remain together as opposed to a puzzle unhinged or broken.”

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