In my years as a human person on this Earth, there is one phrase I have heard hundreds of times: “It’s just a phase”. How many times have we heard this used to describe a kid, teenager, or young adult? Often times it has been in reference to a young member of the community, a niece or nephew, or even a son or daughter. The feelings that any kid or teen could be going through, whether a “phase” or not, are just as real as any adult’s feelings and should be treated as such.
When I was at the ripe age of 11, I was going through what appeared to be a phase to my parents. What I was really going through was much more. I was already questioning my sexuality. Why did I like girls? Why did I like boys? I had heard of being a lesbian, but didn’t understand the concept of bisexuality (which I identify as today). I became depressed and started taking handfuls of a prescription medication that I had been using for an illness.
Before long I was hoarding pills and ingesting them all at once so my parents wouldn’t notice. For months I felt suicidal, then years. All the while my parents just thought I was going through something aka- “a phase”. Things got better, after a while. I found someone to confide in. I found ways to cope. But, those few years were, for lack of a better word, hell.
Sure teens go through phases. So do adults! The phrase, “It’s just a phase!” simplifies the real human emotions that these young people are feeling. The oversimplification of what they could be going through is heartbreaking. Many do not receive help because their feelings are passed off as something they will easily grow out of over time, with no effort or help. Many feel too intimidated to even speak up about their feelings. As someone who has been through it, I recognize that young people are all too often brushed off by those four simple words, left to handle their emotions all by themselves.
Please reach out to someone, a hotline/chatline are very helpful when no one near you understands. You are not alone.