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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: Mentally Ill Sister Won’t Seek Psychiatric Help

Q: Hello, six years ago my sister started having aches and pains everywhere. She spends her time running around to hospitals for physical diagnoses. They will not treat her because she has been examined physically and tested millions of times. She is physically fine confirmed by medical Drs. however she still believes that she is physically ill. She says she cannot breathe and believes she has bone cancer. All she talks about is wanting to die but she is not suicidal. She has asked for assistance from myself (I’m her sister) and my father to euthanize her. She was told she had severe anxiety and somatization disorder but she will hear nothing of it. When you try to talk to her she gets very verbally abusive. What can be done to help her get the proper psych help she needs? This has been going on for 5 and a half years.
thanks.

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