One other reason why teens have tried drugs is to numb the pain they often feel…whether that be from bullying, parental ﬁghting, parental pressure, parental neglect, abusive relationships, school stress… there are many causes.
But instead of dealing with the pain, many teens want to numb it. Being in pain stinks! Who wants to be in pain?? So, it is understandable why someone would want to try to numb the pain. But is it a good idea?
Pop quiz: Be in pain or numb pain?
Duh. For most teens that answer is easy.
But, in reality, the choices really are more like this: Be in pain (a.k.a., continue current patterns) or numb pain (a.k.a., do drugs, alcohol or act out) or heal pain (a.k.a., deal with emotions).
So what exactly is the pain that people need to heal?
When you peel the onion back to get to the core reason of just “why” anyone does drugs (why they are trying to numb the pain), it has to do with fears about the self. For example, “I am not good enough, not worthy, unloveable, scared about what may happen to me; escaping just seems so much easier.” Not feeling good enough is a pervasive (common, widespread) problem found among youth today. Many teens feel that they simply are not good enough at anything or that they may not ﬁnd success. Pressures overwhelm them, and as a result they create an internal negative dialogue that causes damage.
With that negative internal dialogue, people then try to soothe themselves. They turn to: shopping, drugs, sex, food, alcohol, gambling etc.
They use those things as a way to try to numb their feelings. But you can’t numb one feeling and not the others. You can’t suck out “I feel like poop” and not suck out “Life is awesome” at the same time. Numbing numbs both good and bad feelings, and so numbing doesn’t do anything to solve the problem in the long run. And, most times, it will make it worse.
Therefore, that internal dialogue is the ﬁrst thing that needs to shift if teens are going to begin to feel better about who they are and deal with the “poop”. (Sorry if the word “poop” is offending you.) If you need help with that, read the Your Psyche and Your Emotions chapters in Discover Your Self.
But, how can you face that poop when facing the poop is so painful (and stinky) that you just do NOT, under ANY circumstances, want to go THERE?
You have to go THERE. That is why people go to professionals or turn to others they trust for help. Sometimes teens (and adults!) are in pain but they don’t really know why. In addition, many ways exist to manage the source of pain, but often people need help ﬁguring out how. A professional can help you uncover the source of the pain and then help you to heal.
Simply ask yourself this question: Do I accept myself for who I am?
If your answer is yes, then we know you are going to make great choices in life and do really well.
If your answer is no, then please ﬁgure out how you can begin to shift your mindset to positive thoughts about yourself.
Post Question: Do you ever feel good enough? Are your friends good enough? What messages do you think teens are being sent about themselves in general?