Oh, Those Mood Swings: She's Not Bipolar, She's 16
It's a daily thing now. Not knowing what I am going to get when the T-Rex in the thong and Grateful Dead t-shirt wakes up in the morning. Or should I say afternoon.
No one prepares you for teenagers. Or, shall I say FEMALE teenagers.
When I was pregnant 16 years ago, the only parenting book that was worth anything was What to Expect when You're Expecting. Which is a tortuous hell trip laying out every bad thing that can happen to you while you are in bump mode. So begins the psychosis -- it's just yours.
Then comes a time, when they are toddlers, and babysaurus has just had a meltdown in the cookie aisle of Publix that most of your girlfriends with teens say, "Just you wait until they are teenagers." I was under the impression that by 16, with a drivers license in hand, busy high school schedule, and preparation for college I would have a ton of freedom. Less worry. Yeah, right. What was I smoking?
I was totally unprepared for the hysterical mood swings that start at 12-13 and apparently do not cease until they are 20 plus. Maybe not even then either.
Especially if they are ADD, or are a lot like their mom -- ME.
One minute, I HATE SCHOOL. The next, I LOVE my friends, I can't leave school. Then, I am SOOO FAT! Then 5 minutes later -- Can you go to McDonald's and get me a double cheeseburger? Mom, what are you so pissed about? All you care about are grades! I don't feel good, I am going to run away, my life sucks, I wish I were dead, I hate my hair, I hate my clothes, I am an atheist now, I want to dye my hair black... Lock her up, please.
And the universal rant we all hear : Mom, you have NO CLUE what's like to be a teenager these days!
So, in the midst of these swings and my total gullibility, I am talked into taking her to a therapist. And dosing out anti-depressants, and lying awake at night wondering what I have done to create this psychotic human being.
Then I research Bipolar Disorder on the internet. That was not a good idea. Because if you do, you will convince yourself that you have a BPD teenager right there in the upstairs lair just waiting to kill you in your sleep.
BPD is a real disease. It affects many people old and young. A good doctor will be able to diagnose and treat this disorder. But YOU are not a professional. Do not self-diagnose your teen. Get off Google now dammit!
The first thing I did was break my own rule: Do Not Be Afraid of your Children! Uh, self, this includes teens, by the way.
If she had a bad morning -- I was worried all day long. I would return panicked texts. I would believe just about all the stupid crap that was going on -- mean girls, mean boys, crazy teachers, counselors giving her the side-eye, crowded hallways, etc., etc.& I bought most of that with a gold American Express card -- hence my gullibility. Suddenly it dawns on me -- am I the one who is bat shit crazy or is she?
In most cases -- it's ME. I wasn't afraid of her, I was afraid of her moods. An insecure parent will create an insecure child. Guess what? I am insecure. Always have been, am working on becoming not so. Her happiness was becoming the focus of the household. Not MINE. We let it revolve around the moods. Then, the teenager figures out that they are running the household and that is not good. Unless they can pay the mortgage...
I would not want to be a teen these days for all the shoes in Nordstrom. Yes, it is different. In my high school days, if you wanted to bully someone you wrote it on the stall in the girls room. Today, with social media, it's commonplace for girls to bully on Facebook and Twitter. Recently, on Instagram, the flood of pics of teens in bathing suits, on beach vacations you were not invited to, parties you didn't know about, showing off new cars, acrylic nails, and new clothing are just another way to brag, but in a way, they are cramming it down their throat with public pictures with hidden meanings.
So I get it. But that doesn't mean your daughter is crazy. She is dealing with all that crap in a much more public way than we did. And that is hard, really hard. And it's hard for moms too.
Today, T Rex wakes up unhappy, in a sour mood, and sunburned from working yesterday:
T Rex: I hate lifeguarding. I'm going to get cancer from all this sun. I want to quit.
Me: Just tough it out a couple of more weeks until school starts. Besides, you like the money.
T Rex: I guess, it's just so boring. And I'm tired, and I'm hungry. I might give my notice.
Me: (No comment because finally I have learned that if I get into this with her, it's a lose-lose conversation so I keep my trap shut.)
Ride in silence until I drop her off.
(One hour later after a small amount of worrying from me that she has given her notice I receive a text -- Oh shit, she's quit and wants me to pick her up)
T Rex: I'm having a better day because the other lifeguard is HOT
Me: Well thank God for that (smiley face)
T Rex: Too bad he's going to be a sophomore in college (crying smiley)
Me: Older men are great! LOL
T Rex: He's blonde (winkey smiley)
All is right in her world, for now, in The Land of the Lost. Nothing like a hot male blonde college sophomore to turn your day around. Cost me a hundred bucks but it was worth it!
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Photo Credit: ableman.