Monday, March 9, 2009

Teen angst and hope for moms

I have read many blog entries about mothers having trouble with their teenagers. I am not a mother, but I remember well what it was like being a teenager. I was horrible, and regret the things I did on a daily basis. This is my story.

I was young when I figured out that I was different from other kids. Different in a way I still can’t put my finger on. Interested in things they weren’t. I didn’t like the music they liked, I didn’t like the clothes they liked, I didn’t like any of the things they did. I was in all the advanced classes until about eighth grade. I was bright and had high goals set for myself, I had decided that I would change the world.

My parents separated when I was about 11. The same time I was drifting farther and farther away from my peer group. I don’t blame any of my issues on my parent’s divorce. The issues are all inside me. I didn’t know how to handle being so different. Kids constantly made fun of me, and I just pushed myself away farther. I started hanging out with older kids, even though they weren’t much better. I turned inward, and found my dark side.

I had sex for the first time when I was about 12. I was spending the night with friends whose parents worked at night and we would have parties when they left. I also started smoking, drinking, and doing drugs. My thoughts and fantasies of suicide also started around this time. I cried constantly, and turned into one of those kids that only wore black and kept themselves locked in their room. My mom took me to a psychiatrist, and I was diagnosed with clinical depression, a condition I will struggle with the rest of my life. I was prescribed Prozac, which made a difference, when I took it like I was supposed to.

I was about 14 when I started cutting myself. I used razor blades, caps from ink pens, and rubbed myself raw with pencil erasers. I also hit myself. I would punch my arms and legs until they were black and blue. I fought constantly with my mom, telling her I hated her, and that I wished I were dead; I slapped her across the face one time in a crowded restaurant, a vision that haunts me to this day.

When I went to high school, things got better and worse. I started hanging out with a group that was a little bit more like me, labeled the ‘hippie’ crowd. They encouraged more positive thinking, but lots of drugs and partying. I started using hallucinogenics and pills at this time. I would go to 3 day or longer concert events and stay strung out the whole time. I drifted back and forth from that group to what would today be called the ‘emo’ group. I finally found a niche when I was about 16. These are people I am still very close to today.

Things came apart at the seams my senior year when I had a falling out with my group. I’m still not sure what happened. I went away to college for a year, and found it was no better than high school as far as the cliques went. I lost interest, my depression returned full force, and I dropped out.

I made amends with my high school group and we all moved into a house together. There were at one time seven of us in the house, different people would move in and out, but a core group of 5 of us were steady dwellers in the ‘hippie compound’. We were famous for our parties and good times. I still run into people that say “Oh! You lived in the green house! I loved partying there!” I often have no idea who they are. My mom watched all this happening and it devastated her.

My ex was living there with me, and we decided to move into our own apartment. We both got steady jobs, and I got health insurance. I started seeing a psychiatrist again, and got a new cocktail of anti-depressants. This would have been around 2000. I was still using drugs, but mostly pot and at home. I had stopped dropping acid after a particularly bad trip where I saw myself dead, and my mom screaming. One good thing that came from this was I decided I would never kill myself because I ‘saw’ what it did to my mom.

Holding a steady job and taking my meds, I started doing better. I started to see that I didn’t like where my life was going. I started becoming closer with my mom, although I still held her at arm’s length due to my drug use.

One night in October of 2001, a group of people was sitting in my living room getting high. As the joint was being passed to me and I was hitting it, I thought to myself that it was stupid, and I didn’t really want to be doing it. I quit using drugs. My life quickly changed. I began talking to my mom on a regular basis. I had a medication regimen that was working, and I adhered to it. At this point in my life, I realised what a wonderful woman my mom is.

I went to school to be an LPN in 2004. I graduated in February of 2005 in the top five. Unfortunately, I had quit my full time job to go to school and lost my health insurance. I had no meds and no psychiatrist. It would be a year before the effects of this took their toll. In the summer of 2006, I had a mental breakdown. I was having problems finding a doctor that was covered by my insurance provider. The longer I went without my medication, the harder it was to do things for myself. I went downhill fast.

One day I made an appointment with a doctor I had never seen before. Not even a psychiatrist, but a family practitioner. I was about to lose my job and myself. I had to do something. When he walked in the room, I broke down. He said, “I am not a psychiatrist. I will not prescribe you anything. Make me a promise here and now that you will leave here and go straight to the emergency room, otherwise I will call an ambulance.” I went. He saved my life.

My mom met me at the E.R. I was admitted to the psychiatric unit of the local hospital for a week. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. My mom visited me every day on her lunch break. The doctors were able to stabilize me, and the social worker helped me find a psychiatrist in my network. I went back to the hospital as an outpatient 5 days a week for a month.

My new psychiatrist gave me every possible medication combination until we found one that worked. I have been stable since then. Even with everything that is going on in my life, I have found a strength that I never knew I had.

My mom is my best friend now. We talk every single day. I tell her everything. Through everything, she has always been there. She never gave up. When I was younger, I would get upset when people would say I look and sound exactly like her. Now I say “Thank you. My mother is a beautiful wonderful woman. That is a very nice compliment.”


  1. I was a wild one too - the drinking, drugs, sex and aggressive behaviour at a young age. But, I never went to the cutting behaviours or serious suicidal thoughts. But, my parents and I had a very difficult and tumultuous relationship in those teen years. My mom and I became very close after I graduated from college and my dad often told my husband how proud he was of me as a wife and mother. So, it is possible to turn it all around. We just have to reach the point that it becomes a tool for survival. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad it all worked out for you, as well!

  2. Wow! Thank you for sharing your story! It is a true testament to the power we have within us, and the strength we are given by the people who love us. I am happy you were able to turn things around.

  3. Reading your post gives me so much to think about, and all I can do right now is say: Thank you.

    When I was 17 I had a complete breakdown and was hospitalized. I've contended with depression & have been on medication.

    Reading your story...

    ...I know I'm not alone with this. There is still so much stigma out there. "Clinical depression," doesn't even begin to describe the weight of this disease.

    Life is good. I'm glad I read you tonight.


  4. Wow. I am so glad you are one of the lucky ones that survive and blosson after the drug years.
    Drugs have wrecked my 2 baby brother's lives.

    I am sitting here, wanting to hug your mother and rock her. How she must love you. Isn't it beautiful that you and her got a second cheance?

    Good girl - and you are. You are beautiful.xx

  5. Hi, V.A, do you remember a few posts back about the Deep Pink Integrity blast of honour? Well you just got one. ♥

    Thank You for always speaking your truth.x

  6. Most of what you have written I could have written. I only ever went as far as pot, but that was at 13......

    Good on you for sharing this, I was different too (the black clothes etc etc) - but reading this makes me feel like I was actually quite normal.

    Thank you.


  7. As a mother, this breaks my heart. As a woman, I greet you as a sister who has travelled a path not unlike mine, and I think of how lucky we both are. As a daughter, I cry at the thought of your mother's pain, and maybe I understand my own mother's anger and frustration at my younger self just a little better.

  8. Oh Vevay, thank you so much for sharing this story.... it is heart wrenching and terrifying and inspiring all at once.

    I am in the middle of trying to mother those who are rebellious, impulsive, beautiful, clever, angry, hormonal.. the list goes on.

    You give me hope for a light at the end of the tunnel.

    thank you