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Ask A Therapist: Talk Of Parents’ Divorce Causing Depression

Q: My life was fine until I was in seventh grade, my parents were alright and I had amazing friends, until one night my parents told me and my siblings that my mom was thinking about divorce and how they were constantly fighting that single night brought everything down since then my parents were fighting all the time, my father would get drunk and start talking without knowing he was hurting my feelings, one night he almost hit my sister and my mom that marked my whole life, I almost didn’t make it through eight grade because I would just think about my parents and how their marriage is gonna end. Is not very pleasant to see your mom and dad sad 🙁 Now in my freshman year everything got worse I started to get sad, cry without a reason, I get stress more easy and stuff like that.

Also I’ve been distancing from my friends and I know many people but I’m just used to them being my friends, two of them have boyfriends and they just stick to them like glue and its kind of annoying because we made a promise that no boy will interfere with our friendship but I guess isn’t validate anymore, for them I don’t exist anymore because they also have new friends and they leave in a corner alone. I guess that is also part of my sadness I guess and I also lost interest in things I used to like for example writing, photography, fashion and reading plus I’ve been thing about self-harming but I know that isn’t gonna help. So please answer me. take care 🙂

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Ask A Therapist: Who Can I Tell About My Depression and Cutting?

Q: I’m pretty sure I have depression, I mean I have most of the symptoms. But I have nobody to talk to me and my mum aren’t close. I cant see a doctor without my mum finding out. So I think I should go to one of my teachers but I don’t know how to start the conversation and what to say. I think I really need help because I’ve been self harming for over 2-3 months now. Please help. (13 year old girl)

A: Thank you so much for writing in for help. You are wise to recognize that you need to talk with someone about your pain and reach out for help.  If you have a trusted teacher at school, or a school counselor, they may able to help you find a way to talk to your mom about your struggle with depression and self-harm.

If it seems a little easier to talk to your mother about physical health concerns you may want to try asking your mom to take you to your physician by saying something like, “I haven’t been feeling well for a while. Will you take me to the doctor?” Your doctor will be able to do a depression screening, rule out any physical illness, and give you some recommendations for therapists in your area.

I would recommend individual therapy to address your depression and self-harm, and family therapy to help you and your mom communicate better.

If you can’t talk to your mom, please talk to someone soon. Depression is treatable. You don’t have to continue to suffer.

Please, take good care of yourself.

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask A Therapist: I’m Angry AND Sad. What’s Wrong With Me?

Q: I’m 15 years old and I have been getting angry for sometime no reason at all and then becoming sad.  I am sad for a long time (10:30a.m.-9:00p.m.).  I don’t know what to do and people ask what’s wrong and i just snap at them and feel even worse and I think I’m losing some of my friends.  I used to be the funny guy but now I’m just the guy that sits in his chair quietly and doesn’t really talk to anyone anymore.  I don’t feel like myself and I’m actually just avoiding people anymore. Please Help, Thank you.

A: How confusing to be having these overwhelming emotions and not know where they came from or why you’re getting upset. I’m so glad you wrote in for help. I’m always relieved when adolescent young men write in for emotional help because so many suffer in silence and don’t know how to reach out for help.

What you’re describing sounds like some kind of depression. You might be surprised to hear that irritability and anger are often signs of depression, especially in adolescents. The changes in your personality and your social behavior also point to depression. Does anyone in your life know how sad you’re feeling? Do you have parents you could talk to or another trusted adult, like a school counselor who could help you find a therapist and set up a medical evaluation?

I urge you to talk to your parents, let them know about your feelings, and ask them to help you find a therapist to meet with. Also, please go to your MD and get a physical to rule out possible medical conditions that might be contributing to your low moods. Click the Find Help at the top of this page to find a therapist in your area who specializes in working with adolescents and depression.

I am so glad that you emailed “Ask the Therapist” to reach out for help and guidance. I am hopeful that it will inspire other young men to pay more attention to their emotions and ask for help when needed.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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I Feel Like A Failure. Am I Depressed?

I just feel like there’s nothing I can do right. All I want is to be good at something, but there is always someone better than me. I’ve cut myself hundreds of times because I just hate myself so much. I’ve tried to lose weight and lost it, and then gained it back. I’m so mad at myself for gaining it all back, I’m mad at myself for  not being able to show people what I can do when it matters. I feel like a loser. I get angry all the time too, and have no patience with people.  I’ve always told myself to never lose  hope, and right now I have no hope. Sometimes I pray at night, hoping I’ll die in the night and not wake up in the morning. I’ve told my Mom that I want to see a therapist and need help, but she took it as a joke. I don’t know who to turn to and I don’t know what to do with life (15 year old female teen).

A: Thank you for writing in for help. It sounds like you have an illness called major depression. While I can’t diagnose you in this forum, you do need to be seen and evaluated by a physician or mental health therapist ASAP.  How brave of you to reach out to your mom for help, and I’m sorry she didn’t take you seriously. Did you tell your mom about the depth of your hopelessness, your self-harm, and how much you hate yourself? Please reach out to her again and be completely honest with her about the depth of your despair so she can feel the urgency. Sometimes parents don’t know how to handle a child’s emotional pain. Please go to her again and tell her in firm way, “Mom, I need to see a therapist as soon as possible. I am very depressed, I’m hurting myself, and having thoughts of wanting to die. I’m scared and I need your help. Please take me to the doctor or therapist.” 

If your mom doesn’t understand depression or mental illnesses, you may want to have her read some of the resources on PsychCentral so she has a deeper understanding of what you’re going through. If your mom still doesn’t respond to you, please reach out to a school counselor or another trusted relative for help. There is help and treatment for the symptoms that you’re describing. Please continue to be persistent so you can get the help you need.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

 

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My Best Friend Is Depressed and Suicidal

(15 year old female) For as long as I can remember, my best friend has been depressed. She has a history of self-harm, however, the school guidance counselor and her parents know about it. She recently attempted to take her life more than once. She told me about it and said not to tell anyone because her parents didn’t know. I know she needs help so I told the school guidance counselor and the Crisis Center, both of which got involved and talked to her. She lied to them though so they’ve now dropped the subject and act like it never happened. I don’t want to wake up one day and her not be there, are there any other agencies or help centers that I can contact for someone under the age of 18? Please help!

A: I’m so glad that you wrote in for help, support, and resources to help your friend. Did the school guidance counselor and crisis center counselor contact your friend’s parents? If not, I suggest that you go to the counselor directly, tell them exactly what your friend told you about her depression and suicide attempts, and ask them to contact your friend’s parents so they can be aware of the situation. From what you’ve described, your friend needs treatment immediately and her parents are the one who can get her a psychiatric evaluation and treatment.

While your friend asked you not to tell anyone, this is a situation that is serious enough that it warrants breaking her trust for her own safety and protection. I’m guessing that, as a 15-year-old, it’s difficult for you to know what to do with this kind of heavy information. I encourage you to talk to your parent/guardian about your friend’s depression, and how scared you are that one day she may not be here one day so you aren’t carrying her burden. Your parents can help you and can contact your friend’s parents about your concerns.

Take good care of yourself!

Warmly,

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask A Therapist: How Do I Talk To My Parents About ADHD?

I’m not sure where to start. I am a 14 year old freshman in high school and I have been constantly noticing that I might have ADHD or something, I can’t pay attention and am always confused along with other symptoms. Anyways I’m not completely sure how I would bring this up with my parents to get help. I’m afraid they are going to laugh at me and tell me I’m useless like they always do. What’s the best way to ask someone for help in a situation like that?

A: Thank you for writing in. If you’re not comfortable talking to your parents about your concerns, you may want to talk with a school counselor or your physician to see if they can help you bring up your concerns to your parents. Watch the entire answer in the video below…

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

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