Monday, October 04, 2004


While procrastinating this morning, I stumbled on an article about NYC teens abusing prescription medications. While I have to confess that reading this article merely confirmed the numerous reasons why I would never want to live in the city, a part of me felt for these kids a lot.

Personally, I thought being a teen was fun, despite all the ups, downs and uncertainties that come with the territory. But, given teens' propensity toward melodrama, I do pity parents. How do you know if your kid actually requires professional intervention or if adolescence is just rearing its ugly head?

I think there are two primary indicators of severity—persistence and degree. Being a teenager is like watching The Real World on MTV. Dramas happen and they seem like the the most important event in the history of mankind, until next week, when something new comes up.

Illness is different. It's that extra ten pounds around the middle that just won't go away. It's that inexplicable shadow hovering over success. It's seeing the full glass as half empty.

But you know, this article makes me mad in some ways because these kids are fucking around with serious medications and illicit drugs and such, and then they seem surprised when their brains get all whacked out. I guess this can become a chicken and egg question; were their brains messed up by the drugs or did they turn to drugs because their brains were messed up? Either way, I'm never as sympathetic as I could be toward any mentally ill person who is using some hardcore drug. I mean, if you're doing coke and complaining to me about being paranoid or anxious, I'm not going to cry a thousand tears for you.

I suppose my caveat to this is that I actually do feel bad for people who are untreated who abuse drugs and alcohol. I guess the distinction I draw is that some people, like the priviledged teens in this article, have access to quality mental healthcare. They can afford it.

For so many ill people, a constant supply of beer is a helluva lot cheaper than regular appointments with a shrink and adequate amounts of psychiatric medications. And I feel bad for them because they genuinely can't afford it.