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  1. It also could have been the change from the norm and the "being locked inside due to snow and now we are free" survival brain rebound 😊 I too an in the PNW and we were completely snowed in for days. The only people that seemed to be able to get to us were door dashers with huge trucks 😂 but I agree, I saw an uplift and sigh of relief as we were able to get out into the world again. It was fun 👍 Your right, happiness is fleeting and contentment can be achieved by anyone. It is a mindset through much practice sitting with all emotions when they come. However, we have somehow convinced a cohort of people that happiness or contentment is external. That it is what is done to you that wrecks it so one must defend their happiness as if defending a castle wall. It is truly odd 🤔
  2. I had another thought here. Survival and wilderness treatment has been a popular choice for teens with various mental health or drug and alcohol issues for some time. I would see these hope filled eyes of parents looking at me as they asked if they should send their child to a wilderness treatment facility. I was always hesitant to recommend if I felt the parent couldn't do what was necessary on the other side. Wilderness centers have huge momentary success rates and then everyone scratched their head as to why it doesn't stick a month out. Putting someone into survival mode does so much 1. Drives discomfort you cannot escape from so gives the brain time to fine tune 2. Removes tech which drives dopamine 3. Creates a sense of belonging to a group with a shared goal 4. Builds confidence when you learn how to manage yourself "you against the terrain" This creates the perfect brain reset. However, it doesn't fix anything. The true mental illness enemy is not the brain per se but the lifestyle and society that maintains it. Therefore teens go right back to their same state shortly after if nothing at home changes.
  3. I have to go shower and get ready for the homeschool morning but I will respond to this later today because I have read through bucketloads of research in this area and coupled with my own work I have many thoughts. 😉
  4. No, they don't. I don't mean just basic poverty in the USA here, because even when poor in the US, that may still include smart phone ownership and access to food, just not the good food. In historical times where survival was the focus, people seem to be more stable. I do think this is very neurochemical. I don't know if physiologically we can get to utter happiness or utopia. The mouse utopia study a number of decades ago remind me a bit of this. The thing is, our neurochemistry taps out at a certain point and then relays into a compensatory response. If you are tapping into too much dopamine and serotonin then our body recycles the receptors to moderate the effect of this. If you are chronically trying to drive those receptors you lose the sensitive discrepancy and when something is ho-hum it can be interpreted wrong and lead to frustration, depression and restlessness. I am sure everyone on here has heard my soapbox discussion of this in terms of technology use. Increased mental health issues in young people? Compare them to a cohort that doesn't use tech and get back to me. Anyway, back to what I was saying, when you are allowed to or you let yourself experience hardship, sadness and pain the way it is meant to, it acts as a brain sensitivity receptor reset. When dopamine and serotonin are allowed to exist in a depleted state without intervention, your body creates more receptors for the small amount of neurotransmitter out there and then when that person experiences "happiness" they can really feel it strongly. It's a delicate balance that allows a person to hone their skills for identifying the full spectrum of emotion and having a sense for when something is truly off. We as a society have started intervening in this system in alot of different ways and have thrown in asunder. We haven't let an entire generation of kids experience any hardship. They are "the beautiful ones" in the mouse utopia experiment. Doing this has led to, as I predicted it would 20 years ago, to much of what we are seeing in trends. To you question about mental illness in modern, plentiful society it is absolutely true. Some of it has to do with plentiful because it creates an expectation in people that they should never suffer because they have never had to. This taps into my description above of neurotransmitters. It also happens in close proximity and the lifestyle of a crowded society. If you read about the emergence of mental illness during the industrial revolution you can get a sense of this.
  5. I completely get your description. There is alot of "meaning of life" stuff and internal restlessness that can happen when you have everything you need and alot of what you want but it feels empty or as though something is missing. That type of therapy is really challenging. Alot of unseasoned therapists or ones who might struggle with this themselves, have a hard time helping the person delayer and think deeply. Many therapists want to "fix it" and they think their job is to help someone be happy. Happy is a feeling in a moment like any other and this pursuit or belief that one should feel happy and fulfilled at all moments can lead vulnerable people to feel terrible when there life doesn't match that. I feel a good therapist helps someone be ok with the experience of all feelings without needing to mask them by momentary happiness. Learning to be ok in those moments when life is so-so, or even appreciating what sadness brings to the table and how allowing yourself to sit with it, ride it out and realize happiness feels so much better when you have experienced this other emotion. This may or may not be making any sense as I am thinking about the neurochemical processing behind this as I type this. Anyway, I think finding a therapist who can help a person reach that other level of contentment in all things is hard to do.
  6. Absolutely agree. With many who have not quite reached the level of self evaluation and metacognition needed for even this (teens, excessive drug users, pretty much anyone who has a brain that has not made those growth leaps yet) getting them to solution focused often requires thought restructuring. Solution focused can be hard when there is no follow through on doing what is needed because they cannot move through the steps to do it. Sometimes breaking it into mini goals works but usually it requires a new way of thinking.
  7. Yes! It is also why DBT and CBT are proven methods of dealing with anxiety and depression. There is something powerful about owning "faulty thinking" traps, learning to recognize them, give them a name and having the tools to work through the moment. I am deeply saddened that counseling has moved more into an affirming everyone's feelings and state of being phase, telling them they are victims and telling them they have the right to feel that way. The last 10 years I have seen my field move into "ecclectic" therapy models that give zero tools and instead just "love on" and "listen" and "affirm" it is useless therapy. It makes someone feel good for an hour and does nothing to truly help that person. I truly believe one of the reasons there has been an uptick in suicide and mental health issues over the past decade is due to overly affirming and providing victim roles for people to wallow in without providing an exit door for them. We are providing teens with external reasons for their puberty turmoil feelings and telling them they should have those issues confirmed by all who pass them, if not, they are victims. There is no quicker way to break a spirit, neuter a response and depress another human than to do this to them.
  8. The way you worded this reminded me of the groups of teens I have historically worked with. An interesting thing emerges when a teen has a reason to assign to why they feel bad. Teens who met some societal norm but felt depressed or unhappy did not act on it most of the time because I believe they did not have anything to assign to the feeling. With other kids who could assign a reason...and it could be anything (adopted, single family, parents didnt like boyfriend, gay etc) they would use that as the reason for all of their unhappiness and depression. It was as if they would manifest it externally as opposed to recognizing it was feelings that come with puberty and growing up and working through them internally. It is a consistent piece of the teen years and is definitely the piece that makes me hope that society never gets too rash about allowing teens full choice in these matters. I think we sell parents short when we say they are not an expert on their child but someone else is. I believe, by and large, parents love and want to make the best, most informed choices for their kids. I do not think all parents should be lumped into the smaller group of parents who are not supportive for more moralistic and fundamentalist reasons. The longitudinal study done in Sweden that shows an increase in poor outcomes for those who transition makes me feel like we need to truly investigate this more. Unfortunately, research is being dissuaded in this area.
  9. My user name is a play on my daughter's nickname and the 5 is my number of kids. Nothing super fancy or creative 😂
  10. I am so excited to hear about your name origin! It is the one I have wondered about the most 😂
  11. I do worry this will move from "one parent says yes and one says no" to "both parents say no and government says yes" and just as cases that can be quoted where a child harms themselves when they haven't transitioned, there is many about people transitioning and wishing they would have waited or not done so in such a permanent fashion. There have been cases of people killing themselves post transition too. I find it odd that we tell kids that they have the mature capacity to make this decision to alter their body at 14yo but then tell a 14yo they are not mature enough to make sexual decisions with their body with say, an 18 year old boyfriend. I do worry about this impulsive leg twitch culture is currently undertaking and I do feel we will see some not great outcomes 20 years out.
  12. As a Christian I happily use the curriculum with 3 kids and there is nothing inherently mormon about it. We like it and find nothing that conflicts with our beliefs except for one geography lesson that took a young earth perspective that we skipped.
  13. I know, it just cracks me up. There are aspects I love about both philosophies. We do alot of Montessori math and grammar because to me it is brilliant. I love children having access to adult items in their size. I do really love the general aspect of Montessori but not the rigidity that was never really meant to be what it was. Waldorf really does a fabulous job with art and nature studies. We tap into that alot for inspiration. I love watching Pepper and Pine YouTube videos because she was a Waldorf student herself and puts together amazing unit studies heavy on the Waldorf. Lots of beauty in it. Then again, I enjoy most things in moderation and when it tilts over into cult status I slowly back away smile-and-wave-boys status 😂
  14. So one of the straws that broke the proverbial camel's back for me when my kids were in kindergarten at our local Christian school was this. One of my k's at the time wore a pikachu sweatshirt. It wa winter and they made him take it off and wear some too small sweatshirt from the office. They then proceeded to tell him pokemon were evil. So not only was my sweet little pokemon loving guy embarrassed and terrified but it sent the message that we as parents could not make adequate clothing purchases for him. It was not in the clothing banned list but apparently an email had gone out early in the year that I missed. When I went in to talk to the principal about what I felt was a mishandling, she said this was too important not to address with him and that pokemon were evil and kids should not have access to them. I was already on my way out of that crazy school but that prompted a pull mid year to homeschool. The best part was when she and I were talking a little kid comes in with a backpack with Darth Vader on it wielding a light saber and I said "what is the evil factor on that?" And she goes "we don't consider that evil at all" 😂 ok check, cherubic electric mouse evil, the absolute epitome of the dark side not evil...got it. 🙄 The day we went in to unenroll I let both boys wear their pokemon sweatshirts and bought them new booster packs to open as I filled out the paperwork in the office.
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