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Where are we going? - Groups in the Age of Dispair

I am currently running three groups: teen girls, young adult women and 30-something women. The technology is the easy part. Zoom is barely adequate to cover the range of real human emotions during this unprecidented time. Zoom is usually freezing just when I guide the person to be relaxed enough to connect to her inner fears and feelings. Zoom is the easy part.  


The hard parts depend upon which age group you are in. For example, teen girls' biggest complaint? You guessed it: BOREDOM. Sure lots of kids in the 'burbs where I work have many privileges: lessons, country homes, nannies, big backyards. But what of the others? The ones whose parents have double shifts and cannot afford these luxurious freedoms? These kids are in their bedrooms staring at the ceiling. They don't care about gourmet cooking classes or math tutoring or the next iteration of TikTok. Video games, YouTube and snapping is all they have. Day after day they don't leave the house. They don't have vitamin D on their faces and in their retinas. They have screens. This is old news. However, in the pandemic it's a thousand times more isolating. Imagine if you're an quirky kid with one good friend whom you only see at school lunch and now even that is gone? You sit in your room and mope. You feel glued to the bed. You are achy even though you're only 15 years old. You wonder if your friends will even remember you in the fall. You have reversed day and night. This virus is a total rip-off. Time seems to slow down. It's called depression. I can stand on my head over zoom and say pleeeeeeze try bird watching. Just something. But no. And no, they say, "my parents don't believe in medication for depression."

The weight of this crisis is crushing our kids. One large, heavy weight right on the chest area. The only thing to do: BREATHE.


For young adults it's even more devastating in some cases. Yes, bored, depressed, anxious, alone, sad, frustrated. There are so many words; none make sense anymore. Just like the words to describe our president, our world, our economy, our environment, our future -- loss and loss of words. The best word is: BROKEN, fractured, polarized. It's getting more complicated for a young adult to launch. One of my kids, having just graduated from a top college, is working from her childhood bedroom. The other is trying to locate an off-campus apartment just to be near school, if not in it. Hard enough to deal with living at home, no money, job, friends, getting a license to drive, going to a restaurant, waiting at the post office, taking classes online. Sure some kids are wonderfully prepared. They have a sunny attitude and they have the main thing that everyone needs right now: MOTIVATION. Reporting from the group of 20-30yo young adults is a different vibe: I'm too anxious/confused/lost to go out, to send an email, to follow-up, (which, in my opinion, is the key to adulting). The group lets them see that we are all struggling. That is a comfort. But some are struggling much more than others. 

This is serious. SO they get some free counseling. Then what? PAUSE is their mantra now. And PAUSE sucks.


Now introduce the 30 year olds. They want to enjoy their kids, or trying to have kids or settling down or traveling or spreading their wings and finding a purpose. This is their developmental GOAL. And yet. Who can say when you can go to vacation, send kids on playdates, go back to work. Some are dying to go back. Some never want to go back. They are tired of sheltering in place. They need a babysitter. Covid is the triple crown of childcare problems: noone in and noone out, just you. And yet, the boss never said you could work whenever you feel like it. Nope. She never did. I see my neighbors down the block running tag-team, lap-tops outside while kids bike by back and forth, wheeeee! They have no free time; they look like zombies. Time itself is fleeting, receeding back to where we cannot plan even if we're planners. 

My advise? Stay CALM and KEEP it day to day. This is the only control there is. And also, smell the flowers.


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