A Circle That Has No End?

Today I sat in a circle during process group with seven adolescent females, all of whom had either tried to commit suicide or were hospitalized before they could carry out their attempt.  They looked around the room at each other and one noted how sad it was they were all there, because they were all “awesome people” and it was sad any of them wouldn’t want to be alive.  They were a quiet bunch, but when they spoke, it was powerful.  They supported each other, they shed tears, they shifted in their seats when they were uncomfortable.  They were seven adolescent females who could have been anywhere.  But instead they sat in a structured day room wearing hospital wristbands, bearing physical and emotional scars.

It reminded me of the book Reviving Ophelia, an incredible book by a child psychologist who writes about the difficulties of growing up female in today’s world.  The family dynamics, the social pressure, the media messages, the issues of sexuality can all mix together and boil over easily.  How much is “teen angst” and how much is a DSM-IVTR diagnosis is anybody’s guess, but the pain these girls felt was palpable in that room.  As was the gravity of the fact that every single one of them would have rather been dead than face whatever it is they were facing.

We’ve all been there.  Any one of us could have ended up in that room.  So what pushed these girls over the edge?  And what can we do to make their burdens a little less heavy?

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