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Under the Noise: With the Volume Turned Up

In today’s interview I talk about the struggle of teens, but in a way that equally applies to adults.


Teens live a lot of their days feeling insecure, weird, overwhelmed, consumed, or let down by life, themselves, or other people. Just to name a few.


They also spend a huge amount of time feeling alone. Alone in their problems because everyone’s busy solving their own problems. Alone because nobody, even their closest friends, can fully understand what they’re up against. Nor can anyone really save them anyway.


They also feel alone because it looks JUST LIKE nobody else seems to struggle like they do.


But if you’re an adult reading this, chances are you’ve felt some, if not all of these things in the past month or week. Or maybe today.


The difference between teens and adults is that for teens, the volume is turned WAY up. Every feeling is loud. The good feelings and the bad.


If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, go to any rock concert. Teens get so swept up in their enthusiasm they’re crying, screaming, and fainting. Nobody does a rock concert like a teen.


But for teens, the intensity and volume is higher because they’re hormonal, which supercharges everything, and they haven’t learned things like restraint, composure, or how to regulate emotions.


As a result, they do look like a different species. At first glance, it does look like adults are human, but somehow teens are made from a different set of pieces.


So parents, the general public, even practitioners in the mental health field can get focused on how extreme, moody, and messy teens are, and start seeing teens as different. As separate.


And there’s two problems with that:


  1. Teens pick up on the theory that they’re different, they’re malfunctioning, there’s something wrong with them, that they’re separate from adults. Which scares them.

  2. Adults start to FEEL separate from them, and like there’s something wrong with them. And when parents feel that disconnect from their teens, they start living in feelings of worry, judgment, fear, despair, or feeling isolated themselves in their struggle. And that creates more struggle for both the parents and their teens.


But because I spend all day listening and getting to know the vulnerable and real side of both teen and adult clients, I have a unique vantage point.


I easily look past the intensity, the mess, and the loud volume of teen emotions, and can clearly see how teens are, in almost every way, EXACTLY the same as adults.


So I share with teens how an adult client from last week, at 54, is in a free-fall of hopelessness because she’s suddenly divorced and has to start a new career, new relationships, and a new identity. And has zero confidence or inspiration.


And how I myself was frustrated, blame-y, and doubting myself just a month ago because of a trivial and ridiculous painting project mishap.


Pointing to how we’re all universally the same in the way we’re built, the way we get lost, the way we always ALWAYS find our way back is, in my view, the real truth.


Yes we’re definitely different from each other and from teens, but we’re more the same than different.


And that’s what brings reassurance, hope, and openness to my clients. Not just the teens and/or parents I work with, but all of my clients. The message I’m pointing to, of course, is what all clients ultimately need to connect with when they get lost.


That’s what I talk about in today’s interview.


To listen to today’s recording, click here or below. You’ll be taken to the podcast series called Under the Noise. This podcast is hosted by my colleagues Wyn Morgan and Kate Roberts.


Hope you enjoy.


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