Help me make myself happy

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I had a long distance relationship with a guy for about a year. I would see him about every 2 months but I saw him for like two weeks every time. Eventually, my mother became worried since I would spend a lot of my time in front of the computer talking to him and I rarely went out with friends. She took me to a psychologist soon after I admitted to having hurt myself.

After some testing I was diagnosed with severe depression and some anxiety. However, my mother didn’t want me taking any medicine. There, the doctor recommended I moved with my father, which I did. I broke up with this guy after I moved in with my dad.

I was sad at first, but I guess I hid it. I dated another guy and we broke up soon. After not finding happiness there either, I moved back with my mother.

Now, I find myself crying and in a very sad mood most of the time, since my ex that I was with in a long distance relationship wants me back and I miss him a lot. He was not only my boyfriend but my best friend. And what got me hurting myself was my mother’s disapproval of him, and I was truly happy with him.

Now, I feel scared starting something with anyone else, because I can’t forget about him. He recently admitted he loves me and I realized that I do too. What do I do? I don’t wanna fall back into a depression, and I don’t want my mother mad at me. However, I really want him in my life.

Im a year away from being 18, and I want to do something to make myself happy but I am so scared of not doing what is right and messing everything up.

A: I’m so sorry you are so unhappy. You are missing out on the fun times of being a teen. Your parents must ache to see you so sad.

You were diagnosed with a significant depression. Your parents tried what is known as a “geographical cure” by moving you in with your dad. But your problems just went along in your suitcase with you. Then you tried the “relational cure”, dating someone else to try to feel better. That didn’t work either. Now you’re thinking about trying to get back together with someone you barely know as the answer. Although it may make you feel a bit better to have his support, it’s not going to cure the depression either. The problem is that you are changing things outside of yourself when it is what is inside you that is the problem.

I think it’s time to try another approach. Depression responds well to a combination of some medication (at least for a little while) and some talk therapy. I hope your mother will reconsider her decision to reject medication. It makes sense that she would first want to try something else. Since the something else didn’t help, maybe it’s now time to try the medicine. But pills aren’t magic and we wouldn’t want you to be dependent on them. A therapist will help you learn new ways to manage your feelings.

I can tell by your letter that you think hard about things and you want to do what’s right for everyone. Please talk with your parents about consulting with a therapist (or maybe going back to whoever made the original diagnosis) to talk about what would be the best thing to do now.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Feb 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Help me make myself happy. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/02/08/help-me-make-myself-happy/