One of the things I hear more often than anything else as a mentor for young adults is parents asking for help with their child's school failures, depression, low self-esteem and video game (and/or pot) addiction.
Often the depression seems most prevalent on both the parent's and the potential client's (the young adult in question) mind. What I often say to this is: "Most of us tend to see things in reverse order".
Reverse Memory Syndrome:
When a client has a "discussion" with his or her parent for the bazillionth time about why they stay up so late, the parents tell the young person why they are doing it and why it's wrong. The client tries to explain what is really going on. Neither side listens. Voices raise and finally the client tells the parents to do something that is anatomically impossible. That's when the parents say: "We just tell you how you need to be more responsible about going to sleep at a good time and all you do is shout and scream and curse at us". That is reverse memory syndrome. The escalation and the accusing gets lost as a factor in the final result.
Reverse memory syndrome is often the reason why the depression is foremost on the minds of the people who contact me with the issues stated above. Let's deconstruct the actual order of events for these clients and parents contacting me.
When Millennials were magic.
This generation is the first one that was told that actually everything they did was perfect. They were the best crayoners; the best howlers; the best poopers; and everybody got a medal when they "competed"... (you wonder why they think they're magic).
For this particular group, they were able to pull off acceptable or really good marks out of their butts at the last minute at school and of course, Mumzy and Dadzy told them "they were magic"!!
Until they weren't magic anymore.
Fast forward to the time when pulling marks out your butt (beside being non-hygienic) no longer works for our magic client. What comes next? False epiphanies.
Most of the people I meet have at some time come up to "issues" that blocked them in their lives. When natural talent wasn't enough anymore. At that point, if they come up with "gee, I better learn some new study habits and work harder" I never get to see them. However, if they go for the false epiphanies: "My magic is gone", "I am stupid", "The world is not safe" or "If I choose to fail and I do... then I've won", that's when they are getting into choosing bad coping mechanisms.
What are those coping mechanisms? Self-medication (Video games or pot), anxiety, negative self-speak (low self-esteem) or depression.
Being careful with issues such as depression.
There are thee kinds of depression that one comes across as a mentor for young adults.
1) Situation-based depression where the client's constant failures and inability to find a way out lead to depression.
2) Negative self-speak depression. Where the mind has stopped being a motivational force and has become the worst in-your-head parent constantly leading to you towards self-defeat. This requires learning to retrain the mind through mindfulness-based exercises (meditation, visualization or things like yoga).
3) True clinical depression; a chemical imbalance requiring mental health professionals to do what they do best and help find the best way to get back that proper balance.
When it comes to clinical depression, a Mentor's job is make sure that a good mental health specialist is onboard, chosen by the family and that we help make sure that this label is not all that the client becomes but is a new starting point to help that client find their personal powers.
For situation-based and negative self-speak based depression, we begin with choosing goals, the challenges to those goals and the first indicators of success, creating micro-successes through daily routines chosen by the client and with the client in charge. The Mentor's job is to let the client walk every step of that journey and simply help them out of dead ends in a way that speaks to the client.
We teach the client organization skills that makes sense to them in incremental stages. We help them learn how to pick the best times to succeed in adding studying into their lives when it seemed impossible before and we teach them how to advocate for themselves with teachers, school staff and parents (seeing both sides of the equation).
We work on finding the mindfulness-bases system that best works for them and start with five or ten minute increments expecting them to do the work first with their mentors and slowly be able to do it on their own over time. This is the beginning of self-motivated empowerment.
The big take away.
Everyone tends to see things in reverse. Become a detective, free of judgment and go back and look for false epiphanies, coping mechanisms and most importantly, seek out people outside the family to help Mentor the child and the family to find that person's true magic. It is there, waiting to be found.
Interested in mentoring Millennials? Check out www.MentorsProfessionalWorkshop.com
Know a Millennial in need of mentoring? Check out www.MentoringYoungAdults.com
Follow Ken Rabow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Mentor4YouthMPW