Saturday, September 22 , 2018, 4:49 pm | Fair 67º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Prevented from Reaching a Help Line, Drinking As a Young Adult, Getting Over an Ex

Question from Morgan

So Weezy, here’s my dilemma. I am still in recovery after many years of cutting and heavy depression. I am medicated, in therapy, and really working hard.

But those things don’t really help me late at night when I’m left alone with my thoughts on bad days. I would love to text a help line, but I can’t. My parents have blocked EVERY SINGLE HELP LINE. Every last one. And if I text or call those numbers it sends an alert to their phones. And then they get super pissed. Primarily because they don’t understand and they try to do everything they can to help me.

It’s also because they link help lines to losing me to suicide. But sometimes I need to text a help line. If I bring up anything like that my mom will just suggest that we up my medicine dosage. She doesn’t understand that medicine isn’t really a panacea in this case.

What do you suggest that I do? There’s no way that they’re unblocking those numbers or having them not alert them. They’re just worried.

Weezy

I recommend that you see a therapist with your family so that a professional can explain to your parents that help lines will help you, not harm you. Sometimes you just need someone impartial to listen.

I see this as a control issue. Your parents want to be in control of all aspects of your emotional health. The counter-intuitive reality for them may be that in order for you to get well, they will need to let go just a little bit.

I don’t believe that you are capable of impressing this upon them. Only a mental health professional will be equipped to help them understand. If you are not able to see a therapist, go visit your school counselor and explain the problem. It is very difficult for parents to strike just the right balance in terms of both being there and letting go.

It’s entirely possible that that your parents’ controlling natures may be at the root of your depression. This means that your emotional health issues may not be biological. They may be more situational. Once you are older and freer to make more of your own choices, you may feel much better. Have hope. This will get better.

I also suggest that you watch the exceptional Netflix series 13 Reasons Why with your parents. This can open up an important dialog about the issues faced today by teens.

(ONE Media video)

Click here for more information about 13 Reasons Why.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Bianca

How can I get away with drinking? OK, I know this sounds ridiculous, but I’m 22 years old and I live with my parents and they do not want me drinking. I go to a great university, get good grades and I’ve never done anything stupid as a teenager.

On my 21st birthday, I went out with a couple of friends and had a few drinks. When I got home my parents were furious and they gave me this big talk. Then a few days ago I got a little drunk, and my parents found out and they told me they would take away my car keys if I ever drink again.

I’ve tried talking to them about how I’m responsible and can be independent while making good decisions, but they just won’t deal with it. I’m invited to a party this weekend but I know I won’t be able to go and have a few drinks.

I know this might not be the best question but, please, what can I do to make it seem like I haven’t been drinking? I won’t be drinking a lot, maybe a few drinks. The whole talking thing doesn’t work, and I know I won’t be able to move out any time soon because of college and everything.

So, short term, how can I get away with drinking as a 22 year old?

Weezy

Have a total of two drinks. Space them out. Anything more than a couple of drinks in one evening is too much alcohol. You will go beyond the optimum pleasant feeling and into a state of mind where harm can come to you. Since you are a female, your parents are going to be especially worried because an inebriated woman is at far greater risk of becoming a victim of sexual assault.

With a drinking age of 21, good kids often go from no drinking to excessive drinking. There is no learning curve, and college culture is often not a friend to responsible drinking. You are going to need to teach yourself.

Space a maximum of two drinks out over a four-hour time frame. This not only keeps you safe and aware of your surroundings, it also gives your body an opportunity to naturally absorb the alcohol. You will not smell like you’ve been drinking. However, I am a big fan of full disclosure, and I think you should talk with your parents and tell them that you had two drinks and a nice time.

When you drink excessively, bad things happen. You make really horrible decisions. One drink may get you buzzed enough to believe that three more or seven more drinks or beer pong or chugging or other drinking games are a great idea. That can lead to falling, blacking out, unsafe sex, getting into a car with a drunken driver or even rape.

Your parents want you safe. Decide ahead of time. TWO DRINKS. That’s it. That is the best you will feel. Stop there.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Jessica

How to get over ex when you thought you had a real connection with him even though you’re 12? It’s been four months since our breakup and I’m still crying over him. Please don’t focus on the fact that I’m 12. My feelings are still real.

Weezy

I know they are. Love feels like love at every age.

It’s actually harder to get through a breakup when you are young and around the person every day. The mind and body react to love much the way they do to a narcotic. You feel a high when you are in the throes of romantic love. When you are removed from that person you go through withdrawal.

The only cure is prolonged restraint and avoidance of that substance or of that person. That is hard to accomplish when you see the person every day at school.

So, as difficult as this sounds, keep your distance. Don’t accept morsels of his attention that make you happy for a moment. Don’t look for signs that he is still into you. Don’t seek a smile or eye contact. Don’t look for him on social media. Just break yourself of this habit. Love is only an acceptable addiction when you are loved in return.

Bear in mind that the connection you had with him WAS real. But most loves do not last. This hard truth detracts nothing from what you shared and from what you feel. It’s just that it is time for you to move on and see who else is waiting to know you better.

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals Network, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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