Q: I’m writing in because I don’t know what else to do. I can’t handle the pain anymore and I’m at my wit’s end. I know I have depression. Lately, I have felt as if I’m not worth anything. I feel horrible about myself and my family doesn’t treat me well either. Well, it’s mainly my sister because I’m a lesbian. She always takes verbal hits at me and makes me feel as if I’m nothing. When I was younger I was emotionally and verbally abused a lot by my father; the abuse he denies and I have to keep in contact with him since he is the only way I can go to university because he is there for us financially. I developed PTSD over 2 yrs ago for a certain incident regarding my heart. I was treated and things went uphill. But during that time I had the most awful time sleeping. Lately, I haven’t been able to sleep and if I do, I wake up a million times during the night. I’m 16 and this is affecting my school and I’m an honour student. I feel as if my mental state is like deteriorating. I cannot pay attention in class and my marks are dropping. I’m worried about myself and I know this is not me. I feel as if someone else has come to inhabit my body.I have been through so much in my life. I have lost a good friend that was like my sister to an overdose. I have dealt with the abusive past from my father. I have had 3 guys this past summer try to break in when I was home alone. I was bullied tremendously when I was in gr 6. I am just sick of everything. I have told my mom about my insomnia and my unhappiness but she knows my sleeping is really bad and she is trying to figure out what to do since this has lasted 2 months. But, she isn’t taking my unhappiness seriously and thinks it’s because I’m a teenager. I’m really depressed and I have thought about just ending my life several times but I have put my mom through so much already… if I was diagnosed with depression I don’t know what she’d do. I don’t want to be a burden or for my 18 yr old sister to think I want attention. I know this is just one more thing my sister would tease me about. She uses everything to hurt me and I’d be known as the crazy one. I just don’t want to be known as the one in the family with anti-depressants. I just don’t know what to do. I tell my mom all the time how I’m feeling and asked her if I could have an imbalance in my brain and she wanted to know why I asked that but I didn’t want to fully tell her how I felt because then she would think I’m crazy and I just can’t tell her. But, I don’t know what to do. I really don’t. I hoped after all this time of me talking to her she would get the point and see I have a problem but it’s like she has this brick wall and can’t see it. My mom is going to book an appointment with my doctor but I don’t think that will help at all. My mom said she won’t give me sleeping pills and she won’t do anything so she doesn’t know why I want an appointment. I have come to my family doctor before about my cutting and she gave me a referral to a counsellor and that was that. It didn’t really help much. But now if she gave me a referral I wouldn’t know what to do with it since I don’t know what is wrong with me or why I feel so shitty. I feel horrible. I get light headed, vertigo and headaches for the last 2 months. I’ve only told my friends. I don’t understand or know myself anymore. I am tired and just want someone to fix me.
A: It sounds like you are really suffering, and I’m sorry for your pain. You have so many things going on right now, and you certainly do need to see a professional before things get worse. Have you spoken with your school counselor, to see if he or she can get you to a doctor for some help? I don’t know what the laws are where you are living, but suspect that you can get help without your mother’s permission. I may be wrong in this.
Please understand, depression is far from being crazy. It’s worse not to get help when you need it. If you’re not sleeping and you are cutting yourself, you need counseling and probably medication. Sleeping pills aren’t going to fix what’s going on, but an antidepressant may. I’m not a medical doctor, but I understand depression. It sounds like what you are experiencing is deeper than typical adolescent issues. Having a friend die by overdose is terrible. Being a lesbian is hard too, and a professional can help you sort out some questions you may have there as well.
Please don’t worry about what your older sister says, she obviously has her own problems, doesn’t she? Tell your family doctor that the counseling didn’t work, tell her that you need more help and need to see a psychiatrist to be evaluated for the best way to help you. Ask your mother to read this letter from me; I’m a doctor who is trained in understanding adolescence and depression, and you need more than the Internet.
I hope this helps,
Dr. Diana Walcutt
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Apr 2009
Walcutt, D. (2009). Depressed and don’t know what to do. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 12, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/04/21/depressed-and-dont-know-what-to-do/