Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Working with people who struggle with eating disorders can be a challenging task. This story is about a young man who I was helping, mentoring, and adding life skills along the way. He gave this writer permission to share a glimpse of his world with other teenagers who may be suffering from a eating disorder and anxiety. I met him through a referral from a church youth group pastor. The first day I went to his house and visited with his parents. As I was sitting down at the table, I remember seeing a white, iron scale that was in the middle of the table. Then I recall, several note cards with dates and pencil sketched numbers. The young man came into kitchen where we were meeting. He was cold, defiant, and told me, "to get the fuck out of here". I looked at his parents, who were both scrambling for words, and trying to apologize as they were talking over each other. The young man then abruptly sat down at the table. I looked at him, he gave me the deep, dark, stare. Staying in my health, I decided to ask about the elephant in the room, the scale. He then jumped up, and pointed to his stomach, and lifted his shirt up. I could visibly see his pants were almost falling off, and he was frail. At this point, his mother was crying, his father was yelling something, I to this date can't remember the exact details. I then asked if I could open the deck screen door, and gently picked up the scale, and launched it to the back yard. (I honestly did not realize I threw it that far) The teen then started to laugh, and his mother started to laugh. The father was looking like who is this mental health professional in my house- did I get the wrong guy? Scales are only measuring tools for one's weight, right? We need to utilize this tool when we are in a hospital, clinic, or another helping setting. I decided not to make the negative energy about the scale, and the fact that this teen was not eating, and in desperate stages of hospital care- which can be a very good thing, if the client was motivated. The problem, he was not at this positive energy transition in his life. Over the next three weeks, I gleaned first hand how this teen was bullied beyond belief growing up. It was the fifth session that we had a break through, no I did not throw another scale out the back yard! We began to look at the body as a blank CD, and decided we would use his body, and make up songs that he believed were flaws on his body-hence he did not want to eat- but more importantly wanted to loose weight, because of the bullying. Five songs were created, and then the next session, two more songs, or actually lyrics. The next month, he decided to take a music class at the high school. We had to finagle our way into the class, but the school was willing to give him a opportunity. I think it may have helped that I agreed to give a talk to their health class to on addiction education! Over the next few weeks, the family began to see a different kid. I was very eager to see if he was gaining weight, it looked like he was eating again, and he did not purge to my knowledge. He turned 17 last month. I took him to our favorite spot to get milk shakes and play cards. Then something amazing happened. We walked through the mall, and I could see him drift off to Macys. The next thing I know, he wanted to look in the mirror at HIMSELF while trying on a shirt. I grabbed that shirt out of his hand so quickly he said, paid for it right there. He smiled, I was tearing up, but holding it in. Then as we walked out, there was a scale section. "Watch this he said," got up, on, 138 pounds he murmured. I'm going in my own thoughts, this is good right. Gained 9 pounds. Self-Balance-Higher Power-Fun
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Our college mentoring program is one that allows the family to take part in when visiting a prospective college with the future college student. Last week, this writer had the opportunity to head to the mountains of Georgia and visit a beautiful college. Over the last few years I have visited thirty plus colleges with families and my clients all over the USA. Watching a teenager experience what the college tour is all about is amazing. Watching her mom, watch her daughter experience the college visit, is mesmerizing. Parents work very hard to mentor, coach, parent and help provide the vision for their child to go to college. In our program, we assist the family, and help navigate the prospective college student with life skills to achieve a positive educational platform that makes it possible to go to college. As we are walking with the tour group with other students and their families I begin to notice a focus with this teenager. She appears attentive, eager, excited and driven. Then I look back at her mom, and I see the same passion in her. Each building we tour, each panoramic view there seems to be positive energy cloud following us, or a higher power. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.
It was a balmy Saturday, in January across the mighty Mississippi river in Wisconsin. A family session was about to begin. I began to take out my yellow memo pad (many of my teenage clients have jokes about this) and start our session. I begin to start with our goal progress when my teenage client throws, yes throws a old, leather, photo album on to my lap. Her mother started laughing, and I could here her brother in the background going, "oh no not this...". Well, this writer is a sucker for pictures as many of you know reading this positive energy blog. I put my trusty, yellow memo pad down and begin to turn the pages. At that second, literally, I was surrounded by two teenagers on each side of me on the couch, a cat on my shoulder, and their mother at our feet on the carpet helping me turn the photo pages slowly, making sure that their was a story for each photo. Now, how long do you thing this lasted? Two hours later we turned the last page of photos. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.