“I Hate You”; Why Teens are Mean pt. 1

Dear Reader,

Think back to a time when your emotions were so strong that you had to act on them- maybe you got frustrated and yelled out in anger, maybe you were feeling afraid and began to cry. Re-read that sentence and really think about it for a moment.

For some of you, this memory may be from when you were very young, still a child. For others, this memory of intense emotion may be from your teenage and young-adult years. For ALL of you reading this, it’s also possible that you experienced this just recently! We are human, after all. Emotion is what enriches our lives and also complicates it.


Teens and Emotions

Teenagers experience a wide range of emotions multiple times a day. Flooded with neurotransmitters, the teenage mind is in a constant state of rapid change. You may remember what that felt like or you may have witnessed it first-hand as it happened to your own child. The fact of the matter is that teenagers have a lot going on in their heads and it affects their behavior and understanding of the world more than they may realize.

There’s been a heavy weight on my mind and my heart recently. I know a couple of teenagers right now who are going through rough transitions into young-adulthood. One in particular is my little brother. I feel the pain he’s in when he acts out. I recognize the patterns of anger, sadness, insecurity, self judgment, and emotional numbing that I went through when I was his age (and still go through when my mind is not balanced). My brother and I share a tendency to bottle up our feelings and have subsequent outbursts of intense emotion. Sometimes we say things we don’t mean, whether intentionally hurtful or not, as an emotional reaction to how we feel on the inside. It’s not a fun place to be. It’s actually pretty fucking scary.

As a third party in the lives of both of the teenagers I know, I realize there is truly only one way in which I can help them through this tough time: understanding them. Trying to tell them what I’ve learned and how I learned it will do them no good. In order to grow, you must learn things in your own way and on your own timeline.

There are many ways in which a person copes with intense emotion. Two natural ways of dealing with emotion are through emotional outbursts and emotional numbing. Outbursts are caused when emotions aren’t fully expressed and bottle up over time. Numbing happens when a person becomes so overwhelmed by their thoughts and feelings that they become desensitized and experience a disconnection with all feelings.


Cause: Bottling Up Emotions

Even though we may not enjoy these emotions -anger, sadness, insecurity, etc- they are all natural emotions that we feel as humans. If we don’t express them, they can bottle up. Sometimes it happens in such a subtle way that we don’t even realize it.

Example: Adults Bottling Emotions Example: Teens Bottling Emotions
  • Your roommate stayed up all night and kept you awake, but instead of knocking on the door and asking her to keep it down, you laid awake in bed thinking about how rude she’s being and reconsidering living with her.
  • A kid at school made fun of you and everyone laughed. Instead of telling the kid to leave you alone and that you don’t care what they say about you, you avoid the kid and all of their friends.
  • You get jealous when your partner spends time with other people. You trust your partner, but you are unable to shake the feeling of jealousy, so instead you hide it. Instead of expressing the feeling, you pretend you aren’t jealous and think negatively about yourself for feeling that way.
  • Your parents are divorced and speak negatively about one another around you. Next time one parent does or says something unfair to you, you remember what the other parent said. Instead of expressing how you feel about the unfairness, you talk to the other parent about it. Your attitude becomes negative around the “unfair” parent and you naturally spend less time with them.
  • Your coworker tells you the boss is writing employees up unfairly and you feel compelled to stand on your coworkers’ side. After all, camaraderie is important. But instead of getting the facts straight, you hold a grudge against your boss and over time you develop a sour taste for your job entirely.
  • You hear from one friend that another friend is mad at you. You feel betrayed and question all of your mutual friends to see if anyone knows why. Overwhelmed with all of the opinions, you decide it’s easiest to be mad at your friend too. Besides, you didn’t do anything wrong. Why should they be mad at you?

Effect: Emotional Outbursts

Over time, we bottle up so many little things that are seemingly harmless, but actually take up a big majority of our energy. Once we reach our max, we have to release all the pressure in the bottle. Some people learn to release the pressure gradually, but many of us have a tendency to explode.

We’ve all seen this happen. Your partner blows up at you for something small and seemingly insignificant. Later on, you realize they have been hiding their feelings out of fear, embarrassment, insecurity, or a number of other reasons. Your boss had a bad weekend and takes it out on you and your coworkers.

The teenage brain, already overloaded with thoughts and feelings, explodes more often and sometimes more violently than an adult. Teenagers can be especially hurtful to others during these intense explosions. Sometimes they cuss, yell, slam doors and say things like “I hate you.” It’s important to understand that these intense outbursts are a reflection of their inner feelings.

How To Help

  • Don’t mirror their behavior! If someone is acting out, the worst thing you can do for them is reinforce their destructive behavior by responding in the same way. Take a deep breath and put yourself in their shoes before you start yelling back.
  • Don’t take what they say personally. Remember how toxic those bottled up emotions can make you feel. Remember the desperation you felt to express those toxic emotions in an attempt to get them out. Every outward reaction we have to one another is just a reflection of how we react inwardly within ourselves. Think of the skin as a window, not a wall.
  • Give them time to cool off. After any intense emotional reaction or interaction, it’s best to back up a few steps and recenter yourself. Emotions can be complex and take time to work through. If you are able to communicate calmly, you’ll get much further in resolving the issue.
  • Be open and calm when you talk again. Try to express how they made you feel without blaming or attacking. Ask questions! Most of us have questions, but for fear of judgment or of “sounding stupid” we keep them in. It might be uncomfortable at first, but if you can ask just one question that requires depth and starts a productive conversation, you’ll be glad you did.

 

In my next blog, I’ll talk more about emotional numbing and why it happens. Emotion can be powerfully overwhelming if you don’t know how to effectively express it. Instead of bottling it up and exploding or letting emotion flow through you naturally, some people cope by cutting off emotion entirely.

Until then, I’m off to do some yoga and ground myself after the momentous rain storm that just hit the entire West Coast at one time. I spy a few cracks of sunlight through the redwood trees.

Always with love,
xoxo
Dee

Curly Hair Care

As a curly girl, I get comments on my hair a lot. People ask me what I use, how I get it to be so curly, has it always been this way? So I decided to document one week worth of hair care to share with y’all. On average, I only wash my hair once a week. This has not always been the trend. In the past, I’ve washed my hair multiple times a week, sometimes even every day. When I’m pushing hard at the gym every day, it’s hard not to want to wash my hair. I get sweaty and my scalp feels gross. Here lately, I haven’t been working out at the gym, plus it’s been so freakin’ cold so I haven’t had issues with my hair feeling dirty. In the summer, my hair lives in a messy bun more frequently to keep it clean and off my shoulders and neck. When I do workouts that I know I’ll get sweaty from, I put my hair up and wear a cotton headband to catch the sweat before it gets all up in my do.

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Wash day! On day one my hair is super soft and tangle-free. I take the time to comb through it with a wide-tooth comb in the shower while the conditioner does it’s magic. I usually get a FAT wad of hair in the comb at the end. I shed more than some of the dogs I groom- seriously. As much as I love having fresh and soft locks, I typically don’t wash my hair the day of a special event. The top is pretty flat, plus it takes all dang day to fully dry!

 

 

 

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I’ve changed my products a couple times lately. Being a house guest sometimes makes establishing a routine difficult. I don’t use anything with sulfates or dimethicone. Shampoos usually have sulfates that strip the natural oils from your hair and skin. Think of “de-greasing” dish soap. Many conditioners contain dimethicone or other “cone” ingredients- this stuff coats your hair to keep it from drying out after stripping away the oils. The problem with dimethicone is that it can only be washed away with sulfates. So if you’re using sulfate free shampoo, but your conditioner still has dimethicone, you will over time get a filmy, greasy build up that can only be removed by using sulfate shampoo again. It took my hair a while to adjust to sulfate and dimethicone free cleansers. At first, my hair would overproduce oil, having been used to the harsh stripping from sulfates. After a few months, my hair was regulating oil production on it’s own. This is how I get away with only washing it once a week. My hair stays soft, shiny, healthy and smells good all week- no hippie head over here. Lately I’ve been using Avalon Organics Nourishing Lavender shampoo and conditioner. I like it because the first ingredient is aloe (that’s what the Rastas use for their gorgeous, full locks). This brand does have coco-sulfate in it  (just the shampoo) which isn’t as harsh and doesn’t strip as much as laurel and sodium sulfates. My favorite shampoo is Tea Tree Tingle by Trader Joe’s. It’s $2.99 here in California and the ingredient list is beautiful: Water, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Nettle, Thyme, Birch Bark, Chamomile…. the list goes on. Very good stuff!! The conditioner is pretty good too, but I find myself wanting more softness from it. This is where oils come into play.

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Days 2, 3, and 4 are my favorite. I consider these my “good hair days.” On day two, my roots soften up and give my hair a little more volume. Here comes the lion’s mane! Day three is when my hair starts to tangle. I usually finger comb it at this point to save my full curls for another day. Around day four I brush, oil and braid it.

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Argan oil is my favorite, but I’ve used coconut and jojoba as well. I drizzle some oil on my brush and start from the bottom, working my way up to the roots as I tackle the tangles. When I was a kid, we used biosilk (anyone remember that stuff?) and I cried when it was time to brush my hair. It’s much less traumatic now (also I’ve gotten quite hard-headed over the years lol). Argan oil smells amazing and gives my hair a nice shine and smell for the rest of the week, not to mention the buttery softness ❤

 

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Sometimes I sleep in my braid, sometimes I don’t. Just depends on what I’m doing. After I oil and brush it, I like to put it in a braid for the day or at least a few hours. When I take it out, the result is usually beautiful beachy waves.

That’s about it! Day six and seven I either brush it out again and keep it slick, or throw it up in a bun. I know it’s time to wash again when my scalp starts to get sore. Sounds weird, but as my hair weighs down throughout the week it starts to part funny and if I run my hands through to break up the part, it’ll feel a little bit sore. I’ve been tracking these photos for a week to write this post, which means today was a wash day! Feeling so soft and clean and fresh and like I can tackle the damn world. 🙂

Always with love
xoxo Dee

My Supplement Regimen

Alright ya’ll. I posted yesterday about my withdrawal from antidepressants, but I want to follow up with some ways that you can manage the symptoms and jump start your brain so that it starts to produce and reuptake (I’ll explain this later) the neurochemicals (Serotonin in my case) that it needs to function.

Oftentimes people mistakenly believe that if you take antidepressants, it’s because your body is unable to produce the correct amount of neurochemicals needed for healthy brain activity. Sometimes this is the case, but for me specifically, my brain needs a boost to help it more slowly absorb the serotonin that it produces naturally.

Science Speak: Reuptake is defined as “the absorption by a presynaptic nerve ending of a neurotransmitter that it has secreted.”

Simple Speak: When a neurotransmitter is created in the brain, the nerve endings absorb it and use it for healthy brain function.

Many antidepressants work to inhibit, or slow down, this reuptake. These medications fall into the category of SRIs (Selective Reuptake Inhibitors)

Science Speak: SRIs “inhibit the reuptake of a neurotransmitter from the synapse into the presynaptic neuron, leading to an increase in the extracellular concentrations of the neurotransmitter” SRIs Information

Simple Speak: SRIs are used to slow down the absorption of neurotransmitters so your brain can swim around in yummy fluid for longer before being processed.

FUN FACT:
“Although serotonin is well known as a brain neurotransmitter, it is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract. In fact, altered levels of this peripheral serotonin have been linked to diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.” Gut Health & Serotonin

This quite literally means that gut health and a balanced diet is the #1 way to promote healthy brain function.

When I decided to quit Sertraline cold turkey, I did a lot of research on different natural supplements I could take to help with the short-term withdrawal symptoms as well as long-term benefits. Gotta throw in there that I’m not a doctor so don’t take my advice, blow it out of proportion, and hurt yourself then try to sue me. This is California after all. Most of our laws exist because somebody sued and ruined it for the rest of us 🙄

St John’s Wort:

Commonly used in Europe to treat depression naturally, St John’s Wort is a wild plant that can be bought in pill, herb, and liquid form. I use the liquid form and put it in my water bottle in the morning that way I’m getting a good dose throughout the day.

Note: St John’s Wort can make other medications less effective, especially prescription antidepressant medications and hormonal birth control. It’s also possible to overdose on serotonin production so do your research y’all.

Check out this link for more info: St John’s Wort

GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid):

GABA is a naturally occurring amino acid and neurotransmitter created in the brain to regulate the nervous system and can help with anxiety, depression, insomnia and addiction. GABA is most effective when taken in the morning on an empty stomach for optimal absorption.

Check out this link for more info: GABA 

5-HTP:

5-HTP is a chemical by-product of L-tryptophan and works to increase serotonin in the brain. It has been proven as effective for treating depression and possibly effective (not tested enough) as a treatment for anxiety, sleep disorders, migraines and PMS.

Check out this link for more info: 5-HTP

P.S. If you’re wondering about my beautiful pinecone candles in the photo, they are made by my friend Lindsey. They are 100% beeswax and smell like delicious honey. Check out her etsy shop here —> Redwood Coast Mercantile

Always with love- xoxo Dee