Hello dear readers,
Today I want to talk about isolation in adolescence. My experience with it, how to recognize someone starting to pull back, and how to realize if you are contributing to it with a child in your life. I want to talk about this because the first time I actually thought the world would be better without me was when I was 14. When you’re in that preteen to the early-teen stage, you start feeling some very adult feelings. Only, they’re new and you don’t know how to process them or even verbalize it not to mention as a teen they’re all heightened. So, the first time you feel a new emotion… it’s a pretty memorable experience.
The first time I realized that no one, other than my family, actually liked me was in 8th grade. I was in what had been my favorite class, and the only one I was passing, and we were listening to songs from artists that had dark lyrics. Two of my favorite artist happened to come up, and he mentioned how Nickleback had started out as a Christian band. It blew my mind. I was thinking “No…” while playing through their songs in my mind. I didn’t realize I was actually talking out loud. The teacher snapped, “Yeah!” at me, and I realized what had happened. All of my classmates were laughing at me and the look on the teacher’s face was… between anger and annoyance. To my 14-year-old mind, it solidified my place in the school- as an outcast. No one wanted me there -even to the teachers, I was a burden. It was the first time I wanted to die. I had expected to die, but this time I desired it. That feeling never went away. I stopped trying in school. My grade in his class dropped, along with my other classes. I stopped listening to the teachers. I pulled away from everyone. Every time I tried to reach out, I was ridiculed and made into a joke. So, I stopped reaching out. I never attempted suicide. I tried cutting, but I didn’t like the pain. Plus, should anyone saw any of the scars, they’d say it was for attention. I just stopped trying.
So. Things to look for, as adults, in teens is when they suddenly go quiet. If they’re talking and enthusiastic, then they stop. NOTICE! Pull them aside after class, or if you notice other kids are laughing at them, stand up for them. TEACH them. Don’t let them figure it out, or punish them for things that aren’t a big deal. For kids at that age, something as small as a harsh “yeah” could cause a piece of them to shut down. They may never get it back.