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Ask A Therapist: I Hate Myself And I Don’t Know Why

I hate myself and I don’t know why. How do I learn to love myself? Even though I believe I’m a daughter of God, I feel like believing and knowing is different than feeling. I don’t FEEL like that. I have urges to cut myself and sometimes give in, and I make myself throw up off and on. I hate being like this. I was sexually abused by a family friend for about six years. Even though he stopped when I got older, I never said anything to anyone. I feel like this might contribute to my feelings of hatred toward myself. Sometimes, I even think that my life has no purpose and that the world would be better off without me. I hate myself for doing things like spending money on a nice haircut. Every time I treat myself nice, even if it’s something like a bubble bath or chewing a stick of gum, I feel guilty. I treat other people well. I give people more energy than I have and it’s not fair to them or me. I know that if I treat myself better, I’ll have more energy to not only give to myself, but to others too. However, every time I try to do this, I end up cutting or throwing up because the urge to do so is overwhelming. How do I learn to treat myself well? What is your advice? Is there something I can do without therapy? I don’t have a lot of money and am out of a job.

A: Thank you for writing in and trusting me with your story.  I want to suggest to you that you look into the mental health resources at your college and so you can start on a path to healing. Many schools offer free or reduced fee counseling for students. I want you to know that you are not alone. You are not crazy. You have suffered years of sexual abuse. I’ve worked with many young adults who’ve been sexually abused and who’ve expressed similar feelings of self-loathing, cutting, eating issues, and emptiness.  Watch the video for more suggestions on how to start healing from your trauma.

Take good care of yourself,

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask A Therapist: I’m Not Happy. I Want To Be Rich And Famous!

Q: I just cant seem to be happy. Im married and have a baby. I work, have a house, car, family and friends. but nothing pleases me. I want to be famous/rich/popular. When I was younger I wanted to be a actress/singer/writer/director but nothing became of it. I just seem can’t to please myself. I know I sound spoiled and selfish because I have been gifted and beautiful life, but nothing seems to make me happy. Please Help.

A: Please get a screening for depression from a mental health professional. Sometimes even mild depression can make a full life feel unfulfilling and empty. The good news is that depression is very treatable through psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

You may also want to consider pursuing additional creative outlets. Your dreams of expressing yourself through acting, producing, etc. may be a signal that you have some gifts in this area that deserve attention.  While becoming rich and famous is a rare occurrence, pursuing creative outlets can provide an emotional richness and joy to life that may be missing in your current life.  Look for opportunities in your community to do what you love in the creative arts and see if that boosts your enjoyment of your life.

I can relate from personal experience to the need to express and create. As a performing songwriter, when I feel an emptiness in my own life, I usually sit down at the piano, or pick up a guitar to discover more joy and meaning again. Please write back and let me know how your mental health screening goes, and share what opportunities you can find to express yourself creatively.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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