She thinks she is crazy
In all my years of counseling teen girls there comes a point when I can sense what she is thinking. I can see the struggle. It usually occurs after an epic fight with someone she cares about. The tears begin to slowly fall and I will say to her 4 words that offer tremendous relief...
you are not crazy.
I have yet to encounter a girl who does not think she is crazy, especially if she is battling depression or anxiety at really high levels.
ALL teen girls are experiencing chaos with their emotions at some point. Some more often then others. It leaves them feeling like a freak, crazy and broken. I have found the more educated they can become about how they experience emotions, the less crazy they feel and thus less crazy they act.
She is not crazy.
It's important to keep this perspective. Be careful to not call her crazy as this can validate false beliefs about herself. She will internalize this and it can become a way of thinking that is very unhealthy and can lead to behavior that is dangerous and risky.
She needs you to help her understand...
- her emotions feeling out of control and all over the place... normal.
- her crying for no reason.... normal.
- her not knowing why she is so angry... normal.
- her crying, then laughing... normal.
- her feeling confused... normal.
ALL teen girls are going through significant emotional development. She needs help and guidance to understand her emotions. To identify them and accept them. She needs your help in verbalizing them and learning not to be afraid of emotion.
How you can help
She is watching you and learning how you respond to emotion. She is watching others as well. She will learn to be afraid of her feelings if the emotional environment is toxic. The first thing you can do is work on your own emotional health. The best example is yourself. Teach her to be OK with emotions. Teach her not to let them rule her life and rule her decisions.
The next step is to have a list of emotions easily accessible (fridge, bathroom mirror, car, etc...). When you see emotions rising and she is having a hard time finding words, allow her to use the list to see if she can identify with any of the words. This is building her emotional muscle. You are investing in her emotional future.