Last week, Therapydoc posted about a fourteen year old girl who is “physically violent, verbally abusive, self-centered, infantile, and ALD, A Little Different, although I think my friend’s exact words were, ‘She’s very weird.'” (Read more.)
Something about the description of this girl struck a nerve. As a child or teen, I was none of the above. I rarely raised my voice, I didn’t use bad language, I was praised by my teachers, and I don’t think I was considered very weird. Maybe a little different.
So why the struck nerve? This girl gets to have Therapydoc as her therapist! At the age of fourteen! Maybe if I had yelled, said bad things, acted out, behaved so nobody in my family wanted to be with me, I would have been able to start therapy four years earlier and not had to get more and more depressed, and not had to bear more years of gloominess, not have to end up feeling absolutely black and bleak by the time I was eighteen.
I call this the good-little-girl-syndrome. It’s the girl who does as she’s told, sits at her desk with her hands crossed, answers the teacher’s questions, does her homework, doesn’t act out or do drugs or overeat or undereat or swear. But her feelings may be really, really down, at the same time. And of kids who feel bad, she’s the one who’s least likely to get the attention.
Last week, someone posted this on one of Frumhouse‘s posts:
Why do these stories keep getting swept under the rug? The frum community has a substance abuse problem. Wake up and address it!
Or is everyone waiting until it happens to MY child?
I happened to be walking home from shul with my friend who is an addiction therapist. She specializes in people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. She agreed with me that addiction is a problem in every community. But in the more right wing religious communities, there is a big problem of denial. No one wants to admit the problem exists. She told me she was asked by our rabbi to be on some kind of task force. In addition to other rabbis, there were psychologists and social workers. But she was the only one had training in addiction. She said the first thing one must do in cases of addiction is to take away the addiction.
One of my therapists once said that people who take drugs or alcohol are self-medicating. In other words, the painful feelings are there, and they are masking those feelings with some substance.
In my own reading, I get the idea that some families have a gene for addiction. For example, some families that have members who are addicted to sugar often also have members with a tendency toward addiction to alcohol.
My gut, layperson instinct is there is not a consensus among professionals on treating addiction.
I read this: Girl that Overdosed Passed Away
Interesting, that the title calls her “a girl”, when she was 28. But perhaps at heart she was just a little girl. I know nothing about her, but the article calls her “kind-hearted”. Why does the good-little-girl-syndrome come to mind?