From an American teen:
Recently I have been very depressed about life in general. I started treatment for severe depression 2 years and 6 months ago, seeing a counselor and taking anti-depressants. 3 years ago, I lost my dad in a car accident. He had moved 300 miles away from our home to work a job and support my mother and the family. I remember the day like yesterday that I was pulled out to my grandmas and told he was dead… just like that. My grandpa, who I have lived with for the past 2 years passed from cancer about 5 months ago, I live with my mother, an unmarried aunt, my little sister, and my grandma. Ever since that funeral I have been having reoccuring memories of my father, which is beginning to upset me.
I have had alot of trouble sleeping.. What is upsetting me most is that for the past 4 months I have been having these nightmares, at least twice a week about my dads death. When I have these dreams, I am in the place of someone else…. watching the car fly off the road and watching my father torn to pieces… and its like I cant look away… and then I wake up and its like the whole thing happened over again.
I also find myself in what you might call a trance… Its like waking up… since both the deaths we have moved into a new house, and I constantly “wake up” holding the phone to my ear, having dialed my dads old cell phone or our old house number, I dont even realize that I am doing it. Everytime that I hear the machine say “We’re sorry, this number has been disconnected or is no longer in use”, I break down. And then I do it all over again…. Its like a habit, I dont know how to stop it.
I want all of these things to stop so bad… I feel like I am trapped, like there is nothing that I can do. I hate it, and for the past few months, what little I used to think of suicide has started to become real. I cant take my eyes off the pills once they are on it…. I have dropped from a 3.8 GPA to a 1.2 GPA, I feel like a failure. please help me
A: Let me first be absolutely clear: You are not a failure. You were traumatized by thoughts of how your dad died and you are grieving the deaths of both of the older men in your family. On top of that, you have lost the stability and comfort of your old home. Please don’t blame yourself for finding it all hard to handle. Anyone as sensitive as you are would have the same trouble.
Right now, you need more help or a different kind of help than you are getting. You didn’t mention whether you have told your counselor what you told me. I certainly hope so. A counselor can only be helpful if he or she has enough information. If you and your counselor have talked about your trance states and your suicidal thoughts and you don’t feel helped, it may be that this counselor is not for you. Not every counselor can help every patient who comes in their door. You need to feel you can trust your counselor and that you are understood. Of course, your part is to give it an honest try. If you’ve done that and it still isn’t working, it may be time to get a second opinion. I encourage you to talk to your mom or another trusted adult about what your options are.
Meanwhile, there are hotlines you can call any time of the day or night when you are having a hard time.
The Boys Town National Hotline is 1-800-448-3000.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273 TALK.
Counselors are available 24/7 to help you through a crisis and to give you advice.
You took an important step by writing to us here at PsychCentral. Now please follow through and reach out for the help you need and deserve.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Jul 2008
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). I can’t handle losses and feel like a failure. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 6, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/07/07/i-cant-handle-losses-and-feel-like-a-failure/