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CALL US FIRST!
Many urgent situations are not really emergencies. "Urgent" means something you think shouldn't wait until morning or until our next office hours to be seen, or something you need advice about right away, but which does not seem immediately threatening to life or limb. Urgent situations are far more common than emergencies in childhood. 
WHENEVER POSSIBLE IT IS BEST TO CALL THE OFFICE FIRST!
 
One of our providers is always available - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (YES-EVEN SUNDAY) - to give advice or make arrangements for you to be seen, either by us at the office or by an appropriate pediatric specialist at Children's Hospital OR MGHfC, if needed.
 
978-975-3355

 


July 2015
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Dear Patients, Families and Friends,
Welcome to our teen newsletter geared toward our adolescent patients.  With so much happening at CMO, we are trying our best to communicate the most up-to date information. We appreciate the confidence that you put in our practice and hope that you will continue to recommend us whenever the topic arises!

Sincerely,
Children's Medical Office
 
"Shrink's Corner"

 

Teen Self-Consciousness

 

 

So you're incredibly self-conscious but think most everyone else is not?

Did you know that painful self-consciousness peaks in roughly the sophomore year of high school & afflicts the majority of teens?

How do you know when you're extremely self-conscious?

Does this sound like you?

 

Do you...

  • assume almost everyone's staring at you, & not in a good way?
  • assume many kids are talking behind your back?
  • assume that other kids wish you wouldn't come over & join them?
  • avoid making eye contact when you walk through the halls & lunch room?
  • worry that you're blushing; worry that you'll trip; worry that you'll say something really stupid?
  • avoid social situations just so you won't have to worry about all this?  Or...
  • desperately need to be with peers all the time to prove to yourself that you're liked?
  • find it impossible to think of things to say & sit there uncomfortably silent?  Or...
  • speak constantly, at a mile a minute, & laugh too often & too loud?
  • hardly concentrate on school work b/c you want to be reassured that you haven't missed something on your phone/computer?
  • compare everything you do, say or wear with your peers... & feel you don't measure up?
  • get nauseous, dizzy, or headachy before school, (though nothing's wrong medically)?

Ok. So now what??

It may reassure you to know that this is incredibly common, even among the kids that seem to hide it because they look at ease & are popular.  Knowing what it is hopefully is a step towards getting a better handle on it. Self-consciousness gradually fades on its own over the next several years, noticeably improved by about age 19 or sophomore year of college. But until then, & during these next few years, you'll want to have some tools to manage this at-times agonizing stage of life.

Constructive thinking & action involve certain general principles, including:

  • Throw yourself into something, some niche. This can be finding an activity you like & can really focus on; finding a peer you feel more comfortable around; a style you can call yours'.  Notice how different this focus is compared to forcing yourself to fit in with everyone & everything all the time. Engage more selectively on your genuine terms. This is the opposite of avoidance or isolation, which snowballs.
  • Practice handling strong emotions. Emotions run high at this age, & not just for girls. Practice thinking of an emotion as being on a thermostat, & you can learn how to manipulate the temperature a little bit up or a little bit down...by changing your assumptions or actions. This completely flies in the face of your emotional gut, which leads you to think all your emotions are a 10 on a scale of 1-10, & that you are utterly out of control of their intensity. Practicing manipulating the emotional thermostat & other kinds of emotional management tools are a good use of a Consult with a Psychologist at your doctor's office. The Psychologist can help get this process started & help you build some momentum.
  • Build some compassion for yourself. Don't scoff at this. This involves aiming to be "perfectly imperfect" & requires focusing on your strengths, not just your flaws. Such compassion takes intentional effort & practice because you are at your peak self-hating period. Notice & admire someone who seems to be able to "do" Perfectly Imperfect; watch how they go through their day.
  • Know when it's time to ask for help. As independent as you increasingly are, self-consciousness tends to improve when you share the reality of it with someone safe. Let an adult, parent, or Psychologist know if you think you may benefit from some tools & different ways of thinking things through. It's especially important to seek help if you're feeling so down or so angry all the time that it's getting in the way of concentrating, sleeping, eating, causing physical symptoms, you're avoiding a lot of things, thinking of cutting or hurting yourself, using drugs or alcohol as a way of numbing yourself, doing risky things to feel included, or simply isolating a lot.    

Come get some tools.

-PCA at CMO