Diagnosis: Sick of It

Boundary issuesThere are a few common themes with young fibro patients, and this is one: Weak boundaries. They tend to be very caring, very empathic with their friends, siblings, parents. They are the family peacemakers, the one the other family members count on to be solidly supportive at all times. Parents see them as very intelligent, caring, hard working, intense. This is the child who cannot let it go. Often the phenomenon of adolescent onset illness can be attributed to a specific stressor; SATs, death of a loved one, illness or absence of a parent; the teen is unable to stop the stressor at the surface and allows it to penetrate her actual physical being. It can also be triggered by an upcoming event; adulthood. This sounds oversimplified. More often than not, however, I see a young woman, 17 years old, in the prime of her life, bright, talented, friendly, pretty, now lying in bed for months at a time. This is simply not a coincidence. The responsibilities of adulthood are daunting enough; for the particularly sensitive adolescent, the competition and drive required to succeed can be so emotionally overwhelming that they manifest physical symptoms. A child will not achieve his developmental task of individuation while lying in bed, needing his parents’ care and attention! This is a complex psychological and medical picture. If your teenager is so stressed out that she is making herself sick, CBT is a good place to start.

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