violent teens

Handling Aggressive or Violent Teens

violent teensParenting a teenager is a whole new life experience. Particularly for parents who face aggressive or violent teens when they are disappointed or challenged. If you are one of these parents, believe me, you are not alone. There are many mums and dads struggling, faced with the same behaviours in their teens. It’s an issue that affects families from all walks of life and economic backgrounds. Coming to know these truths prompted me to write this blog. The following paragraph from this article in the SMH explains so perfectly what often happens:

“The first act of violence, parents are so shocked and taken aback they don’t know how to respond,” Ms Howard said. “It escalates to the point where parents are too intimidated and scared to stop the behaviour.”

violent teensThe article says that psychologists and researchers have found this behaviour linked to a sense of entitlement and ‘cotton wool parenting’. While I don’t disagree with that, many other factors can play a role as well. For many, mental health issues and the inability to cope with thoughts and emotions are the cause. I’m writing from the latter angle.

In our case, my daughter, Jessie, went from being a confident, happy kid, to being volatile and unpredictable. Her friendships were becoming fractured. Her tolerance for disappointment or discipline was no longer existent. It was extremely shocking and confronting! I couldn’t understand why my violent teenparenting methods were no longer working. Neither did I understand why her reactions were so intense. I was living on eggshells, afraid to parent and at a loss. Jessie was ruling the roost with anger and violence. (No pun intended!) Things needed to change because it wasn’t any way to live for either of us. With support and learning though, homelife is way more peaceful and connected these days.

As a loving and responsible parent, safety for everyone must be paramount. Our boundaries around safety in the home need to be made clear to our teens. Consequences also need to be made clear, and we must be consistent in upholding them. Physical violence and destruction of property need a no tolerance attitude. Police should be called if your teen is acting out in a way that poses a serious risk to themselves or others. As harsh as that may sound, the fact is that violence and physical abuse isn’t acceptable behaviour, or appropriate coping mechanisms. Those are rules of life. Better our kids learn that before adult consequences come into play.

While we are standing firm on the no violence rule, we need to give another outlet. My daughter punched her pillows and screamed into them. If you’ve got violent teenspace, hang up a punching bag that your teen can take their rage out on.

As parents we can do a lot to help as well. By modelling the behaviour we want to see, we show them how it’s done, as well as demonstrating that we are strong and capable of dealing with whatever they bring our way. Teens feel safer knowing we are their rock.

Communication plays a huge role in dealing with aggressive and violent teens. Effective use of it can de-escalate the situation before things become out of control and police are required. Read my article here about communication holding the power for attaining peace. Like changing any habits, it takes practice before it comes second nature, but the pay-offs are well worth it.

What teens are throwing out to us, mirrors what is happening with them. If we can remember that they’re hurting and/or really not liking themselves, and try not to take things to heart, we can provide the best support. I think it’s important we tell them how their words or action affect us, so they learn about others emotions. However it’s most effective to stay calm and don’t react in the same ways they are.

Try and see humour whenever you can, to give you a giggle on the inside. A couple of weeks ago Jessie came home annoyed and yelling at me. When I told her it upset me when she spoke to me that way, and she replied “well I’m sorry you’re the only one here for me to take it out on!!” I burst out laughing (NOT in the good parenting book), so had to take myself off to the bathroom. I still find it amusing. The apitome of teenage thinking!

If you need help:

ReachOut.com Australia runs a FREE, flexible coaching course for parents to help us help our teens, with whatever the issues are. You need a computer and a phone, and 90 minutes for the first session. You can however make use of up to an additional three, one hour sessions. Click here for more info or to register.

ReachOut.com also runs a forum which is a supportive community of parents needing assistance or offering advice, learned from experience. If you’re feeling isolated, you will find others going through similar things, which can be therapeutic in itself. You can check out the forum here.

violent teens

illness

“Mental Illness Doesn’t Exist”

illness

A tweet from a twit! It blows me away that in this day and age anyone can say illnessthat about mental illness, let alone believe it. But clearly some very misinformed, ignorant people do. This individual’s comment caused quite a commotion on Twitter. Keeping his head firmly in the sand, facts were irrelevant to him though. Unfortunately they seem to be for many. As a result, stigma and discrimination still exists in society.

The human brain is a magnificently extraordinary organ. However things go awry, just like they do with any other part of the body. Mental illness is one brain disorder causing serious dysfunction in behaviour and thinking. Mental illness is the umbrella term under which a group of disorders fall.

Illness of the brain of this type (or any type!) is not demons, as the same man argued. It’s not a virus, or a bug that is contagious like a cold. And contrary to his comment below, NOT something you can cause yourself with a thought or belief. It’s this kind of thinking that creates stigma and discrimination. Consequently, sufferers self esteem, self image and feeling of belonging becomes damaged.

illness

It’s a common misconception that the ‘mentally ill’ are weak of mind and/or intellectually challenged. However both notions are fictitious. The fact is that battles are fought and survived every day, often alone and in silence. That takes incredible strength, courage and determination. And some of the most intelligent and creative people have, or had, a mental health disorder, such as Vincent Van Gough, Albert Einstein, Beethoven, Georgia O’Keefe, Cat Stevens, Stephen Fry, Robin Williams. These represent a mere drop in the ocean of the brains and talent amongst this vast group.

Stigma, judgement, and their repercussions are why so many battle their illnessillnesses in silence. There’s great fear in exposing what others can possibly hurt you with.  The negative connotations around mental illness have a double edged sword, but while they still live in society, they will continue to live in people with these disorders. It’s a vicious cycle. I think the only way to break it is by people speaking up and telling their stories alongside increased education around known causes and effects. We, as the human race, need to change this primevil default that different equals fear, fear equals intolerance and intolerance equals discrimination.

Every one of us has something unique to offer. A person’s worth isn’t lessened just because they don’t fit society’s ‘norm’. Why is the most common lifestyle considered the only ‘norm’? What is normal for each individual should be considered equally.

The only shameful thing about mental illness is the stigma attached to it…

illness

rape

Rape: Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

rapeI’m being brave. I’m sure some of you will wonder why I’m sharing this. Why would I want anyone to know? Your rape and trauma stories aren’t something you share with everyone. A big part of me agrees with you, for reasons I’ll explain, but part of me wants to challenge that. I read so many blogs where amazing people share openly and honestly about themselves. I admire them so much, and I take something away from each one I read. Yet for me, I have a different mindset.

That different mindset is what tells me these are dirty secrets, shrouded in shame, blame and guilt. After the rape in 1994 I believed it was my fault. I must’ve done something wrong for this to happen. My belief was that everyone would think that too. All it took was one person to ask “why didn’t you…blah blah?”, and it confirmed that belief to myself. It was this second assault that cemented the belief, and made me believe there also had to be something wrong with me.

I’d been diagnosed with Depression after the rape. The PTSD diagnosis was given after the assault. In 2015, Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis, due to a colourful mix of things I’d say!

In 1997 I was held up at gunpoint at my front door. It was late one Friday night, after I’d come home from studying after work. My friends dropped me around the corner and I walked home as usual. I lived in a dark, old unit block, with no light in the small entrance-way. As I was putting my key into the lock, I felt cold metal against the back of my head. I froze. I knew it was a gun against my skull. A man told me not to scream and to open the door. We got inside, and he told me he would shoot me if I didn’t *have sex* with him.

I was in a state of terror and panic, but I was NOT going to allow anyone to rape me again. Quoth the Raven “NEVERMORE.”

rapeNot knowing what to do, I spun around grabbing at the gun. I don’t really remember what happened in the struggle, but I was pushed down onto the lounge. I remember him saying to me, “so you gonna fuck me now”, with the gun pointed at me again. Strangely feeling at peace, I told him no, that he’d have to shoot me. I believed I was going to die. I waited for what felt like forever, however probably only a split second, for him to pull the trigger. When he didn’t, I screamed like I’m sure I never have before.

The next thing I knew the Police were there. My upstairs neighbour who I’d never met, had called them when she heard me scream. What she told Police, and told me later, has stuck in my mind. She’d rung because she’d first thought it was me laughing (I can be loud), but realised very quickly that I wasn’t. She said she knew something was very wrong. I’ve always hoped she’s had some fabulous karma come her way. I’ve experienced humans turning a blind eye. I didn’t expect anyone’s help.

rapeI wasn’t in a good way. I’d been sure I was going to die. But I was still alive. I was seeing faces. I was in a state of shock I think. The Police rang a really close friend who lived a few streets up. My dear friend, the Beer Fairy, came and picked me up and I stayed the night there. She sat up and had a few stiff drinks with me before bed. Work the next day was looming. On Saturday’s I managed the clinic that my friend managed during the week, so she was going to come in with me. I didn’t want to go, but she wasn’t going to allow me to fall in a heap.

Sleep wouldn’t come. Every time I closed my eyes I saw faces. The dark was messing with my mind. Fear took over. I was never more grateful to see the morning light. And never more grateful for my Beer Fairy.

To cut a long story short, it turned out to be another close friend of ours from work who did this. Police searched his house but no weapon could be found. I was advised to stay away from him. Rather difficult when you work at the same college and need to interact with each other. I’d freeze with a feeling of fear and dread whenever he came into the office. I didn’t even have to see him, however that feeling would take over and I knew he was there. I loved that job, and was half way through a Diploma of Homoeopathy, but had to walk away.

Not long before I resigned, I also moved out of my unit. I’d begun leaving my blinds down all the time as I was seeing faces in the windows. I didn’t feel safe there anymore.

20 years later I now understand PTSD. I’ve been putting all my symptoms down to being weak and pathetic for a long time. Jessie’s diagnosis started my education. I can recognise her symptoms. I wouldn’t ever say she is weak or pathetic! Or anyone else with it either. And I thank my fellow bloggers for making me think maybe I’m not either! It won’t change how I live my day to day life, but I certainly understand myself a lot better. Maybe I’ll start being a little kinder to myself. I know why I have the mental struggles I do. I know why going anywhere for the first time alone, sees me waking every hour from 3am, freaking out about going. It’s an effort to push through, and something no-one sees.

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” – Edgar Allen Poe

I choose to challenge the Raven, like all the other bloggers I admire. Hopefully Jessie will see that she is a lion too.

A lion is stronger than a Raven… 

rape

sex culture

Society’s Abysmal Sex Culture

sex cultureThe motivation for this article on sex culture comes after watching a USA documentary called ‘Audrey and Daisy’. It tells the separate stories of two young teenage girls who were raped and filmed by their male ‘friends’ while passed out, intoxicated. The footage was then shared around. These poor girls were vilified by their peers and on social media. Audrey committed suicide at 15. Daisy survived her many suicide attempts and now advocates for other survivors. This heartbreaking story really made me think about our society’s sex culture and the major flaws in our legal system.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 21 380 victims of sexual assault, including rape, recorded by police in 2015. This was a 3 percent increase since 2014. 93 percent of victims are female. In 2013, NSW alone saw 3,951 sexual assaults reported to police. In the same year 715 people were charged and 315 were found guilty – a 52 percent conviction rate. Out of those 315 found guilty, only 168 received a full time custodial sentence. That equals 4 percent of assaults originally reported to police.

sex cultureThe United Nations report Australia as having one of the highest rates of reported sexual assault in the world. 92 out of 100,000 people are sexually assaulted. However it’s estimated that 70 percent of assaults go unreported. This is most likely due to the fact the burden of proof has extensive requirements to be met. Additionally, court can be a lengthy and harrowing experience for victims. With such a low conviction rate, it’s understandable why so many keep quiet.

Being raped is a soul destroying experience. It strips you of your sense of self and erodes your feeling of worth. You feel shame and guilt for someone else’s crime. You’re tormented with flashbacks and riddled with confusion.

sex cultureIt was after I was first raped that I also lost my trust and faith in the human race. I was raped in broad daylight with people walking by. Not a single one did anything to help me, even after the perpetrator had gone. Feeling the overwhelming need to crawl out of my own skin, and my sickening instant despise for people, I walked all the way home. The bus wasn’t an option. I felt so dirty but showers weren’t cleaning me, no matter how long they were or how hard I scrubbed. Soap and water can’t clean a stained soul. I didn’t report the rape for two weeks due to shame and the unfounded feeling of guilt I carried, that I have since learned is common amongst survivors.

Sexual assault and rape are about power over another individual. Nine times out of ten the offender/s are known to their victims. Not ever is it the victim’s fault. No means no at whatever stage of the interlude. No definitely means no when one person is in no state to give consent. Sadly, abusers and rapists are part of society’s fabric. They don’t stand out as the people their labels describe them to be. Instead they are family members, friends, or co-workers, and often covert nice people.

sex cultureRape and sexual abuse is not a new phenomenon by any means. But the laws around it need a complete overhaul. As the figures show, too many offenders are held unaccountable while too many victims go without justice. Current laws give too much protection to the perpetrators of these abysmal crimes. Humanity needs to grow a stronger backbone and stop being afraid to stand up and help protect our fellow human beings from these crimes. Silence brings with it culpability – we need to teach this to our kids so they grow into adults who understand this.

This disturbing sex culture is more than alive and well amongst our teens. Asking girls for ‘nudes’ seems to be standard practice for the boys. Education is around teaching our girls the dangers of sending such photos, placing the onus on females to be wary of the consequences. I don’t see responsibility or consequences for the boys asking for these pornographic images of minors.

My daughter hopped in the car after tennis a few weeks ago quite upset. One of the boys in her group had been talking ‘rape talk’ she said. She stood up and told him not to talk like that, that it wasn’t okay. He then apparently said ‘aww you don’t like rape talk? Well you better get used to it.’ She told him she didn’t have to. It’s brave to speak up when nobody else does and I’m so proud of her. It’s disgusting that some boys still believe that sort of talk is ‘their right’, and concerning the lack of respect for females. The whole thinking pattern is faulty. And the sort of mindset that we need to change.

DON’T GET RAPED

 

inspired

An Inspired Jessie Is Hard To Stop

inspiredSeeing Jessie’s comfort zone expand this year is something I’m loving. I’m equally loving the person she’s discovering herself to be. She’s been inspired being in Year 10, and as such her motivation levels have increased. The effort she is putting into her schoolwork is paying off with encouraging grades ranging between 83 and 100 percent. Her English teacher rang last week to ask if Jessie’s poetry could be published in the end of year book. Jessie gave her permissions with a smile. *Proud Mum*

Being strong willed, determined and switched on can be positive traits when used constructively. Jessie is all those things in abundance. For her to catch that pendulum on the constructive side, and hang on to it all term, is a celebratory feat. Being inspired is bringing out her best.

She is making plans for her future and looking at how she can get there. Initially she had decided to do the extra assessment tasks to receive her ROSA. Having completed all but one section of one, she is rethinking that now unfortunately. We need to talk to her career advisor and check what her best study pathway is, as there are many these days. As long as she is motivated and enthusiastic, I’ll be happy with whatever she decides to do. Most of her schoolwork bores her, so she will thrive if she can find something she’s interested in.

Full-time enrolment at her distance ed high school has now been applied for by Jessie’s home school. It was never expected that Jessie would return there, however temporary enrolment was the administrative rule. Being so impressed with her efforts, distance ed are more than happy to grant her upgrade! I’m told that for kids similar to Jessie, her consistency and standard of work isn’t usual.

inspiredThis year has also seen Jessie reconnect with those few who have proven to be her closest friends. Seeing and hearing her relating, sharing, caring, having fun and belly laughing again is heartwarming. There are so many things we take for granted when our kids aren’t struggling! I think I enjoy her friends staying over nearly as much as Jessie does. She has great taste in homosapiens, being a special one herself, and having that energy bouncing around is lovely.

This year has also seen Jessie inspired and return to tennis lessons which is a big move. She has not missed a lesson and it’s a sport she looks forward to each week. The coach tells me that she’s formed new friendships over the term. He’s also impressed with her ‘wicked’ forehand! She’s been playing on and off with this coach for many years now, and I’m so glad it is safe place that she is comfortable returning to.

Despite the fact that she still spends the majority of her time in her room, the changes in her suggest a growing sense of confidence. She’s slowly widening her world again as she’s feeling more like a friend to herself than an enemy.

inspired

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there”

– Theodore Roosevelt

 

dating

Why Dating a Narcissist Is Not For Me


datingUn. Frickin. Believable. I can certainly attract the worst types dating. After the psychopath created havoc with our lives in 2010, I lost trust in myself and in humanity. Not wanting another man in my heart or home I stayed single for 6 years. As I was now dealing with a broken Jessie, as well as my own mind, dating was last on my list of interests.

Then I met the loveliest person. He was smart and had interesting philosophies that I liked, hence I loved talking with Him. He was gentle and warm, seemingly a beautiful, caring soul and a good communicator. I thought finally I had met a genuinely decent guy who I could actually connect with, and who liked me for me. I felt special for a little while…

The other night I was told ‘I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire to put it out’, that I ‘need a punch in the face’, and that he hopes ‘you choke on your words and die’! He wishes me to die for words he spoke. To wish physical violence and death upon someone shows an unhinged mind that I do not want around myself or Jessie.

Not only that, I am ‘just a society shit kicker’. This is coming from someone who still lives with and is supported by his parents! I’m the society shit kicker, but still He needed to bludge off me because He doesn’t work and has nothing! All after a privileged private school education mind you. He has different projects constantly – none of which have ever been followed through with and completed. But this is the mind fuck of a narcissist. Tall poppy syndrome!

Narcissists cannot cope with strong people who question them or do not buy into their crap. Abuse, degradation, blame, intimidation are their go to instincts. Fake crying, manipulation and sob stories of victimisation are then moved on to the next supply source. Taking responsibility for their own actions doesn’t ever come into the equation. Ask a narcissist – they’re perfect, they’re awesome, they see themselves as gods. They’ll tell you it’s everyone else that’s the problem.

dating
…but they need your unquestioning adoration

Communicating with a narcissist is in reality, impossible – unless they choose to play the game. I did learn that He likes to disparage those supposedly closest to him, or share their secrets. Once you are in the devaluation stage communication style follows suit. With me it consisted of disagreeing with everything I said without consideration, constant talk of His ex girlfriends and fan girl dramas, gaslighting, and egotism. The only thing He hasn’t dissed is this website, despite having no regard for its content – but then again, it was His idea. I quickly became sick of trying when He wasn’t, and sick of being in a teenage years ‘love’ pentagon – real or imaginary to him. Certainly the love triangle proved to be real. This checklist describes Him perfectly. Perfectly!!

Being our second time around, His strange need to tell me changing stories about His girls was the start of the end for me. I tried to communicate but was slammed. Then that conversation was shared and belittled which was the final nail in the coffin. Triangulation was used in a very calculated way – a tell-tale trait of a narcissist.

Upon my departure the switch was flicked, killing emotional intelligence. I reverted to the childish behaviour he described of these girls and messaged two of them he whinged about the most, relaying his charming words. Immature I know, and the actions of someone who is a new soul and has a fuck of a long way to go before reaching their goal of a peaceful mind. An old soul would simply have walked away, peaceful and unencumbered. In saying that, if my trust was being exploited, I’d want to know.

datingBut wait! There’s more! The love triangle reared its ugly head again, with the Third Wheel concluding it was her business to contact me to give me a piece of her mind. After questioning my intentions with Him, she then proceeded to tell me about my relationship with Him and tell me who I was, what I was and why He and I broke up. All this, after informing me I owed Him an apology! It was HILARIOUS!

Naturally everything is, was, and always will be my fault, including his words and actions! And of course the two sides to this saga are His and His. Accordingly, he’s made up his story to take crying to Third Wheel who’s cravings have been met by it. And the cycle of depravity will continue – just without me! I’ve been a participant in this too long already.

datingBut I’m free now. Completely free of regret, remorse, confusion and best of all, care. I’ve had enough. I could say I’m not going to make the same ‘mistake’ again. However the term ‘mistake’ infers to me that my choices provide no opportunities for learning and growth. I choose to let go, but I also choose to learn from dating this facet of human psychology and nature. And the lessons are plentiful.

“No matter how shallow the person, they can still drown you if you let them.”

roast me

‘Roast Me’ – Comedy or Glorified Bullying?

roast me‘Roast Me’ is an online phenomenon on reddit started in the USA. People post photos of themselves and ask to be roasted by other users. It is promoted as being comedic, not hateful, yet the nastiest of roasts are rewarded by users voting them up and earning ‘karma’. If people don’t like the comment (or you), they can downvote your comment and you lose karma.

To post a picture asking to be roasted you need to be 16 and must be clearly holding the sign yourself. Users can post photos of anyone, as long as the person in the shot is holding a sign asking to be roasted. Photoshopped photos are rejected. 13 is the required age to participate in the subreddit and be able to roast others.

Opening a reddit account so I could check out Roast Me and find out more about it was my first move. I wanted to learn more about the rules and how the subreddit is  moderated. I also wanted to gather some opinions from the larger Reddit community on Roast Me. AskReddit seemed like a good place to start. As the name suggests, it’s a subreddit specifically for asking the reddit community questions. I posted a simple question – ‘What does the community think of reddit’s Roast Me?’ I also wanted thoughts from the wider community. On Quora, (a question and answer site), I asked if people thought it was comedy or glorified bullying.

I then came back to Roast Me to have a better look around. ‘A primer to how we moderate this sub’ sounded like the right place to go. After the short blurb about the rules on posting a photo, was the comments section and my introduction to Roast Me content. This comment was posted by a moderator of the sub:-

“hat the f*** did you just f***ing say about me, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I’m the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the f*** out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my f***ing words.

You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, f***er. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You’re f***ing dead, kid.

I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your f***ing tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You’re f***ing dead, kiddo.”

roast meWow! I was horrified, shocked and disgusted. What a sad representation of the human race. It made me wonder if our quest for stamping out bullying is even possible. I couldn’t see the humour in it.  A moderator explained it to me: “This is a commonly known satirical copypasta, the comedy being in the vast overreaction to little or no provocation.”  Because it is copypasta, easily found on Google I’m told, it’s acceptable, despite its content.

When asked how they differentiate between comedy and hate, this was the response from one of the moderators: “We work hard to combat ‘unfunny’ or simply mean roasts. The entire premise of the roasting is to do so as if you mean to make an audience laugh – you’re fat and you’re ugly don’t fly over there unless you can phrase it in a way that offers comedic value. For example, ‘you’re fat so kill yourself’ isn’t funny. However, ‘your lard could grease ever McDouble in America’ is a little better way of putting it in terms of comedy.”  I think he means ‘every McDonalds’, not ‘ever McDouble’?

Copypasta or not, I cannot see any humour in the first comment. Other commenters didn’t realise it was copypasta either. One in particular who agreed it was sad, had their comment thread downvoted to the point it was collapsed. I also cannot see any humour in the ‘comedic’ way of writing “you’re fat so kill yourself.” I was told it was a generational thing, but thankfully many people, young and old, cannot see the humour either. 

What does the community think of roast me? My question asked in AskReddit was taken over by the moderators, which is not allowed. Their comments were removed after I eventually thought to report them. Unfortunately they took over after only two legitimate responses, so it compromised my quest for opinions.  But it did provide an insight into how the moderators think:-

roast me“If you can’t handle strangers insulting you on the internet, it’s not the place for you. People post there because they can handle it. Hell, that’s why we have a rule there that says the people in the photo have to actually consent to being roasted with a sign, so we can be sure.

At the end of the day, everyone commenting is just another face behind a computer screen that you don’t know in real life. You can always put down your phone or walk away from your computer.”

I found this moderator’s second paragraph perfectly sums up the whole problematic and faulty thinking in regards to cyber-bullying. The justification that it’s okay because you don’t know them in real life. The thinking that they are no more than a face behind a screen. And sadly, instead of becoming kind and thoughtful humans, if they don’t like your words they can walk away. It is true, people can walk away. But that to me is just an excuse for people’s poor behaviour. Plus conveniently places blame on any hurt or upset caused on them because they didn’t walk away.

roast me

Another moderator said he thought it was actually a good experience for 16 year olds. A good way of determining if they could handle this sort of thing or not in a ‘safe physical environment’. The reasoning being that 16 year olds are adults and can drive a car. Which, yes they can, but not without a licensed adult next to them. And what about the 13 year olds who are allowed to roast others? What is the positive lesson in partaking for them? Not that I think there’s a positive in it for any age.

I was told that I should check out other similar subreddits called ‘Roast_Me’ and ‘HittableFaces’. They are apparently the hate subreddits. I did check them out – neither are hate reddits. They all state similar rules.  Roast_Me actually requires its users to be 18. Comments are no more offensive on either HittableFaces or Roast_me.

roast me

I cannot understand why anyone would want to post a picture of themselves asking to be roasted in this way. But what is disappointing to see in so many of the users is that they don’t post pictures of themselves. Instead they always post pictures of others. I was looking at one profile in particular like this. One post had been rejected two days in a row. Firstly because the person in the photo wasn’t holding a sign. Secondly because in the title he stated his ‘friend’ was 15. Day three, the same photo was accepted, the age had just been changed to 16.

For such a brutal site, I don’t think anyone should be allowed to post a picture of anyone other than themselves. Just looking at some of these kids who haven’t posted their own pictures, it’s easy to see how they could be bullied into holding the sign. Against the rules, one school boy had his high school ID hanging around his neck. This was a boy who wasn’t posting the photo himself. There are so many like this, many that look underage and unhappy like the boy in my main image. Thanks to Google for the photos.

My conclusion

I’m relieved to say that Roast Me doesn’t seem to be big with teens in Australia. In my opinion it is glorified bullying. It is sad that young people are choosing to use such a platform where they invite such comments from strangers. Some get off fairly lightly – others cop the most horrible, hateful and insulting verbal abuse. The belief that it is okay to try and cripple others because they are behind a computer screen, needs to change.

After my experience on the site I found the moderators, who claim only thick skinned people use the site, to be very insecure about me asking basic, open-ended questions of the community. I had no idea of the reaction that would create, nor the trolling it would open me up to, not only on reddit! I closed my reddit account as all my questions and comments were downvoted, as was my website I had posted in a psychology subreddit. It discredits you having a negative rating. I had a -5 after only 6 days!

I don’t think it’s a safe environment for anyone, let alone 13 year olds. From the majority of comments over the site, it seems people are using it to vent and bully. I certainly felt bullied, and was told they would show up wherever I’m ‘spreading fallacies’. That was after only asking questions! I can cope with it, but how are kids supposed to?

One positive thing I will say is that they took up my suggestion and have provided contact numbers for mental health support services in case anyone discovers they can’t handle the comments. I feel that’s a huge win for such a site to acknowledge it’s content could be harmful, and provide these support contacts.

roast me


 

really scared

I’m Really Scared Mum. They’re So Loud…

really scared“I’m really scared Mum. I keep hearing all these voices, like I’m in a big crowd of people talking. They’re so loud and I can’t sleep.”

It’s 2.35am Friday 26th February 2017 and I’d been in a deep sleep. Tired, and voice trembling, Jessie’s standing at the side of my bed.

The voices won’t shut up. She’s hearing other sounds outside and doesn’t know if they’re real or not. Understandably, she’s frightened and confused. I tell her to jump into bed with me as I’m half asleep and dazed myself. In the past it’s always comforted her and given her a good sleep. She’s nearly 15 though, and wanted to go back to her own bed – she just wanted everyone else to go to sleep too.

This week has been a particularly difficult one for Jessie. The high of a sleepover on the weekend plummeted Sunday night although a manic component remained. All scissors had been hidden last week due to powerful urges to cut off her hair being back. Her appreciation of that fact was commented on.

really scaredWhile I was out cleaning my brother’s place, I’d missed numerous calls from Jessie. My phone rang again as I turned off the vacuum cleaner. It was Jessie, bawling hysterically whilst trying to talk. ‘Cut’ and ‘scissors’ was all I could decipher and I FREAKED! *I thought she was saying that she’d cut herself and there was blood everywhere!!! Brain spinning, I had to remain outwardly calm and reassuring while in my mind I was seriously thinking ‘I need a Police escort so I can fly home.’

I asked her if she needed an ambulance then told her to get a towel and wrap it up tight. She must’ve thought I’d really lost it this time, because as it turns out, it was her hair she had cut. We’d missed a pair of sewing scissors. If only I’d heard her first call. But I didn’t. And when things go to shit, you make compost and watch something brand new grow.

So after a big hug, a cry and a talk (or mainly a listen for me), I suggested we go to the hairdresser and have her hair styled. Not only that, we found out where we can donate her hair. It’ll be made into a wig for kids who have lost their hair because of illness. Jessie’s coped so well and willingly made something positive out of what was a devastating experience for her. Beautiful.

really scaredLast night I was in my room and she came and sat on my bed and we talked. She was really scared and worried. The sound of voices was really loud and she could feel someone next to her. The voices don’t talk to Jessie, but the way she described it reminded of the noise in a really busy pub. You know, where you can’t hear the person next to you for all the loud conversation around you? When you’re out with your mates getting drunk that might be okay, but when you’re 14 and at home trying to do schoolwork or sleep it’s a bit much.

With other sounds and voices, not knowing if they’re real or not is making her really scared as well. She said she’s frightened about what is happening to her. Naturally, she needs it to stop.

With her thoughts come fear for her too. As she said, if she can cut off her hair which she really loved, what else could they make her do? We’ve battled cutting her hair for six or more months now. Jessie asks a reasonable question. That she comes to me because I am her rock and hold all the answers is an honour to hear. To have to admit that I don’t have the answers for her on this one, was the regrettable response I had to give. But, I was thinking just now that she already knows I don’t have all the answers. However she does know that I will find out and that I will do what it takes to get the best solution for her. Maybe that’s all she needs…not perfection.

really scaredAll I could do at the time was increase her Seroquel dose and talk to her about the strength of her mind. I really do believe that she needs the antipsychotics to allow her a quiet mind. This isn’t something inconsequential. I do also think it’s worth a try practicing standing up to that noise and those voices. My theory is that it’s somewhat a conquest of power. This may actually be the only circumstance in which I not only endorse but encourage bullying. When the voices are loud, they have the power. Your voice becomes muted. Unmute your voice, take back some power. Get louder and louder, taking back more and more power. By doing that, and bullying the voices into submission, in theory, should quieten, if not mute, them.

Jessie’s going to test it out. We’ll see how effective or otherwise the power of one’s own voice can be in this particular situation.

really scared

*Does your child’s most frightening behaviour remain your default fear and assumption? 

I ask this question after my reaction to Jessie’s state and the only words I could pick out. In hindsight, the cutting of hair wasn’t a new urge. I heard ‘cut’ and ‘scissors’, however didn’t consider the possibility she had cut her hair. I deducted that she had self harmed and frightened herself. Was it purely the level of panic and distress in her voice? I’ve never wanted to be somewhere else instantly so desperately before…

little steps

The Little Steps That Mean Big Things

little stepsWe’ve had a surprisingly positive start to the year. The little steps Jessie has decided to take, mean so much more than just the actions themselves. To read that Jessie had finished her first day of schoolwork, on the first day of school, before I got home at lunchtime that day, doesn’t sound huge. But for us, it is. And we’ve had a few of them.

Getting Jessie to complete all schoolwork – and with some effort – was a bit of a battle towards the end of last year. With only being required to complete 12 weeks work, I had expected that. As contradictory as I know that sounds, it’s strangely not. Over the Christmas holidays she kept saying she didn’t care about school. So I was dreading the start of Year 10. It was such a massive relief to get home and see work completed on day one. I was SO proud of Jessie. Each days work has continued to be completed and I’m loving her sharing what she is learning with me.

little stepsEducation was something we’d talked about a lot on different occasions, for which I was ‘finger waggled’ by Jessie’s counsellor. I have to work out my own boundaries though. I’d explained to Jessie how important Year 10 is to her future. Without it she would find it hard to go to TAFE, which she wants to do next year. But I went on to say that she is the only one who can achieve what she wants out of life. I can’t force her to study, I can’t force her to do the best she can – she is the only one that can make that choice.

Sometimes Jessie needs a reality check. I’m happy with the balance I’ve found with her however it can be a fine line at times. Naturally I want her to have a better life than the life I’ve been able to provide her, opportunity wise. Plus I’d love her not to meet her future partner in the queue at the dole office!

She is busily planning her future in education though, so something got through. The current goal is to do nursing. She’s put a lot of effort into researching how she can achieve her goal, and is communicating with the Career Advisor from school. That’s another little step meaning big things. Last year she refused to communicate at all with her teachers. This contact is via email, but still, it’s contact! So at this stage she wants to do a Diploma of Nursing at TAFE next year. Apparently she needs to be 16 to attend uni, so will apply to uni the following year. She has it all thought out. Here it comes again – the mum happy dance with disco moves!!

Back tracking a little to the start of the school holidays. I’d accepted the fact that we were having Christmas without Jessie. It wasn’t a good sign as to where she was at. I saw it that way anyway. I’d begun to worry that her isolation might go on for years as it does with Hikikomori. In my eyes that would be disastrous.

little stepsBut the first little steps were made early on this year. And they have continued. Jessie had a couple of friends stay over in the holidays. She ventured up to the shops, they went swimming, we went to the beach. She’s even come with a close friend to her Nanna and Pop’s a couple of times. They went swimming there and another time played tennis. It’s the most time she’s spent outdoors in over 12 months.

Jessie is back at tennis, which she is really enjoying and looks forward to each week. I’ve always asked if she’d like to go back at the start of each term, and her response this time was unexpected and definite.

She’s coming out of her room more and more to talk to me. I’m loving her communicating her trust and faith in me. It’s pretty special that my girl, who can be quite unwell at times, puts me on a pedestal. She’s chosen to re-engage with her mental health care team and is proactive in her own daily management of her issues.

Jessie’s growing up and I’m seeing the strong foundations of an incredibly aware, balanced and empathetic young woman building. I couldn’t ask for more.

This has taught me to always have hope – you never know what’s next.

Little steps, one foot in front of the other… 

little steps

my brain

My Brain Review

my brain
What Depression Looks Like in the Brain

I received my brain over 46 years ago. I think I was given a prototype that hadn’t yet had the glitches ironed out. A gift nonetheless. Repairing the glitches and disarming the many self destruct buttons has been my job.

Incorrectly placed, faulty circuit breakers between my brain’s communication ports have seen some erratic and extreme behaviours and thought patterns over my lifetime to date.

My brain first showed signs of irregularity when I was little. Miss Minnie became my alter ego when I got into trouble. She had a purple elephant and drove a mini (if I remember the story correctly) and was quite eccentric, but perfect. This brain of mine holds some strange memories and visions from under the age of 8. I am so certain of them, they are still so clear, yet I have always questioned their reality.

From my teenage years my brain has struggled with addiction, with the effects of multiple traumas, depression, anxiety, self confidence, my weaknesses, my strengths, and the inconsistencies and seeming polarities of who I am.

I have a brain that is intelligent, stupid, knowledgeable, naive, empathetic, judgemental. It is childlike, old, inquisitive, bored. It can be so happy but then so dark. It’s assured yet insecure. It trusts, but has no trust. It can love so deeply yet be so bitter. This brain can be my best friend and my own worst enemy.

But, it has given me the life that I have. And a rich life it’s been. Without this faulty brain of mine I wouldn’t be who I am today. I have a long way to go. But because my brain has my back way more often than not these days, I’m rating it a 3 out 5. There are many glitches I’m still working on. I’ll review in another 5 years and see how the repairs are going.

my brain

What would your brain review look like?

Submissions being welcomed  at https://mindfump.com/2017/02/11/submissions-wanted/

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