In this episode, Roy explores a form of depression that many adults are unaware young people are experiencing: existential depression. This type of depression is often a of psychological and spiritual experiences in which matters of life and death, freedom, intimacy, and ultimate meaning weigh heavily on a teen.
As Roy explains, existential depression was believed to only be experienced by 'gifted' teens who are creatively or artistically talented. Roy shares his belief that the label 'gifted and talented' is a misnomer as all teens possess gifts and talents, some of which are not as easily recognized as others. Roy has also worked with many teens who would not fall under the 'gifted and talented' category but who are still experiencing existential depression.
Roy delves into why some teens experience existential depression, including factors like tragedy, betrayal, a lack of faith, and sensitivity to the injustices of the world. Finally, Roy explores the signs that indicate teens are experiencing existential depression, like a preoccupation with matters of mortality and the meaning of life, loss of interest in religious or spiritual participation, and sudden loss in the rest of life, among others.
Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.
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In this episode, Roy explores the surprising way that anxiety manifests among many teens today: perfectionism.
The teen who has to do most things absolutely perfectly, like homework with little point value or getting upset when not making a perfect score on a test are teens struggling with anxiety-driven perfectionism. Roy explains that while these many not seem to be related to anxiety, they very much are and result from increasing demands on teens from almost countless social and personal pressures, many of which are tied to our Western society's concept of perfection.
Roy suggests that adults cannot help these teens without first reflecting on their own definition of success. Knowing this definition will enable adults to ask teens about their own ideas of success and then begin to address those definitions and their implications. Roy offers a list of questions adults can use in these conversations as well as other useful suggestions for initiating a conversation on the topic of perfectionism.
Roy suggests the following blog entries as resources for engaging teens in conversations on anxiety and perfectionism:
The Art of Listening To Teens
What's Causing The Anxiety Epidemic In Teens Today?
The Importance of Letting Teens Fail with Michelle Hernandez