Vajra Blue

Mindfulness and Compassion. Understanding trauma in young people.


Depression: When your teenager sings the blues?

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It has been said that one of the reasons that teenagers in the western world struggle, is because there are no clear rites of passage to mark their transition from childhood to adult responsibilities. No cattle jumping ceremonies, no circumcision rituals, no going walkabout.

Instead, there seems to have been the almost random selection of a particular birthday to mark the start of adulthood.  The age at which this happens has changed over the years, from celebrating the twenty-first birthday in my parents’ day when we were given the key to the door, to the eighteenth birthday in my youth – where I was among the first group of 18 year olds able to vote in Britain. At the moment there is talk of reducing this age of transition even further to sixteen.

One of the reasons for this long period of transition is the long period of education and training necessary for young people to learn all the knowledge, and skills, required to function in the modern world. This has become necessary because of the move away from a traditional, predominantly rural, hand-made world – one where there were clear boundaries between child and adult – to the modern industrial and digital age, where adolescence has become a long, drawn out affair, stuck in a twilight zone between the two.

In a world where many of the old certainties have gone, young people are struggling to develop a strong sense of identity and to grow to maturity in a world of rapid change. A world where technologies become obsolete almost as soon as they are introduced.

Most seem to cope well with this period of adolescent development, but a sizeable minority struggle, threatening to drown in this stormy sea of change and uncertainty. It is this group of young people who are at the highest risk of developing a depressive syndrome, with all the problems that this can bring to their future emotional, social, and personal development.

It is this group who would benefit from extra support and help in negotiating the transitional process.

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Don’t pass me by – you might just save my life.

“On the parable of the Good Samaritan: “I imagine that the first question the priest and Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” 
Martin Luther King.

The parable of the Good Samaritan is a teaching from the Christian faith about kindness. More importantly, it is about everyone being a part of the same world, and how, as social creatures, we cannot afford to be indifferent to our fellow human beings. Status, rules, or any other artificial barriers that we place between ourselves and others, are often the excuses that we give to ourselves for not getting involved.

It is their choice, someone else will stop to help, I don’t know what to do, I am going to be late. Similar justifications may come to us as reasons to explain our choice not to become involved.

When the immediate risk of suicide is high, getting involved saves lives.

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Suicide: Taking up arms against a sea of troubles…..

The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card of some delay
So this is all I have to say
Suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
I can take it or leave it if I please
And you can do the same thing if you please.

The theme from MASH

As a teenager I loved the programme MASH.

The adventures of the staff of a mobile army surgical hospital in the Korean War.

I particularly liked the theme tune and used to hum and sing it to myself. 

One day my mother heard me singing the words of the chorus, and became angry with me. It wasn’t for several years afterwards that I fully understood why.

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