What’s Wrong With Me? DEMYSTIFICATION FOR BEREAVED TEENS Carol L. Swift, MS.
Objectives: <ul><ul><li>COMPLEXITY OF ADOLESCENT GRIEF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EXPLANATION OF DEMYSTIFICATION </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RATIONALE FOR STRATEGIES </li></ul></ul>
Olivia’s House A Grief and Loss Center for Children OLIVIA’S HOUSE IS AN ORGANIZATION OF CARE-GIVING PROFESSIONALS AND VOLUNTEERS COMMITTED TO SUPPORTING GRIEVING CHILDREN. ITS PURPOSE IS TO FACILITATE HEALING THROUGH GRIEF AND LOSS EDUCATION.
“ Sometimes we assume that teenagers will find comfort from their peers. But when it comes to death, this may not be true. It seems that unless friends have experienced grief themselves, they project their own feelings of helplessness by ignoring the subject of loss entirely.” -DR. ALAN WOLFELT, PH.D.
Grief Affects the School Day <ul><ul><li>DIMINISHED CONCENTRATION </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IMPAIRED MEMORY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WEAK ATTENTION SPAN </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DISTRACTIBILITY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FAULTY REASONING </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ABSENT-MINDEDNESS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DIFFICULTY MAKING DECISIONS </li></ul></ul>
Fake Reality In this fake reality I put on a strong front. Hiding behind my phony smile, pretending everything is all right I act for the camera and never let the real me come out. There are no shoulders to lean on, no ears to hear me scream. Nobody cares about my problems that I keep carefully tucked behind my smile. Laughing and playing, hiding it all away I pretend it’s not there haunting every day of my life. The days go past. It’s slowly killing me. I’m getting sick of living in this fake reality. -ERIC B. ~ AGE 14
Demystification THE REMOVAL OF MYSTERY OR CONFUSION SURROUNDING A TOPIC OR AN IDEA. USED IN MEDICAL, EDUCATIONAL, AND TECHNOLOGICAL FIELDS TO EDUCATE AND EMPOWER.
How Demystification Helps a Teen Who is Mourning <ul><ul><li>ENCOURAGES QUESTIONING </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HEIGHTENS AWARENESS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PROMOTES SELF-DISCOVERY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ALLOWS FOR INDIVIDUALITY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HELPS THEM INCORPORATE HELPFUL </li></ul></ul><ul><li>WORDS AND PHRASES INTO THEIR LANGUAGE </li></ul>
The Bereavement Process : According to Leslie Delp, MA SHOCK AND NUMBNESS FEELINGS ASSIMILATION RECONSTRUCTION “ Zombie-like” physical symptoms including: aching arms and heaviness in chest, headaches and irritability. Concentration difficulties to the point of annoyance. Lack of joy, sleep disturbances and appetite issues are present. Most resembles depression. (The brains way of protecting the body) All emotions; Anger and guilt are most prominent. Positive and negative coping strategies used, negative ones to numb the pain. Drugs and alcohol are common negative coping strategies for teens. Sex can be a typical outlet for young girls. Using negative coping strategies cycles you back to numbness. (You’ve got to feel it to heal it; You must move through your grief by slowing down, turning inward and facing your pain) Who am I NOW? Weave the broken threads of their lives into a firm pattern of meaning, Victor Frankl shared this philosophy after his release from Auschwitz Concentration camp during WWII. Each person will work to assimilate, or take into who they are, the loss and what it means to their life now. (Take the loss into who you are now; making it a part of you – your “new normal”) Tangible way people work through their grief, ie. Working for a cause that holds meaning. They reconstruct their lives to reflect their loss. They begin to reach back in an effort to help others instead of reaching out for help for themselves. (Ready to give back; cancer walks, build a church in the Dominican Republic, volunteer at a charity, etc.) <ul><ul><li>The Bereavement Process is life long, time makes it less intense but there are always triggers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grief is very unique, like a fingerprint; It is related to the relationship you had with the person who died . </li></ul></ul>
“ I didn’t know what was happening when I had my freak-outs, my meltdowns. Now I know they were grief bursts.” -RANDI N. ~ AGE 15
Grief bursts: Sudden, intense feelings of grief that may cause sobbing, anxiety or pain. They often come without warning, and they create an overwhelming sense of missing the person who died. They are temporary and are a natural part of grieving. -DR. ALAN WOLFELT, PH.D.