What’s wrong with me?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

i can’t go to a doctor because of my parents and i feel horrible! i need help! WHATS WRONG WITh ME!?! i don’t know wat to do! i feel horrible all the time! i cry all the time! WHATS WRONG WITH ME?!?! my feelings are completely not normal…whats going on?

well, i’m a teenager..suffering from alot of pain. my parents mentally and emotionally abuse me and sometimes physically. it kills me inside to know that they don’t really care too much. and they don’t support me. i don’t really or haven’t heard them say i love you in about 2 years.they yell, scream, swear, and sometimes hit me. i don’t know what to do but just sit there and let it all happen. i can’t call the police on them cuz when they got done being in trouble they would just be the same…its happened before. i try to please them but watever i do i just can’t please them…i’m not good enough for them. i have a brother and a sister and they seem to be just perfect for them. i mean they love me…THEY HAVE TO DON”T THEY? i mean they are my parents…its their job right?

well, enough about them…at school people make fun of me. i’m not so popular but i don’t really care…i mean i can’t stand what they say about me and stuff but i would never wanna be like them. the things they say and do are just horrible. they push me down, call me mean names, and talk behind my back…i can’t stand it…and i try to ignore it but i can’t…

i feel so terrible. its like there is this empty, hollow feeling inside me. i cry all the time! i don’t know wat to do…i have tried to commit suicide 2 times now….and its like this monster or something has taken over me and i can’t gain the strength to win the battle……and when the suicides didn’t kill me…i was really mad…i just want to die!!

with saying that, i have to vent someway don’t i? well, i am a victim of self-harm. i cut myself all the time! and i mean all the time! i can’t help it though. i LOVE IT! i mean i know its bad but i can’t stop! and i just cut everywhere and any where….

sometimes i can resist though. it depends if i am able to dance. well, i forgot to mention this but i’m a dancer! i dance at the best studio in town. and i love it! its my passion…and whenver i getta dance i feel unstoppable and incredible all the stupid feelings go away. i mean i feel awesome when i dance…but when i stop dancing it all goes back to the way it was…sad and depressing…and lonely. i mean i love to write too. when i am sad and can’t dance and am to tired to get up and cut i just write poems. i write poems about the way i feel. its fun..i like it alot …but then again its like dancing once i stop it goes back to the way it was…

I NEED HELP!
i don’t know wat is wrong with me?
please help me! i really want to know wat is wrong wit me!
i dont’ know how much longer i can really last…

A: Thank you so much for writing. You do need help. But the first step to getting help is asking for it. You took that step. Now let’s see what we can do to make things a bit better.

The answer to your question is that you are being bullied both at home and at school. There isn’t enough good stuff going into your “emotional bank.” The only time deposits are being made is when you dance and when you write. That’s a real good thing, though, because the dancing is so powerful for you and writing poems helps you express your feelings. Both activities give you places where you feel good and feel good about yourself.

I’m truly sorry your parents treat you so differently from the way they treat your brother and sister. I don’t have enough information to understand it. I’m very, very sorry to hear that calling the police only made things worse. Since that avenue seems closed to you, we need to figure out other ways to get you the help you need.

First, please understand that you are not alone. I get many, many letters every year from kids who feel like the outcast in their own families. Not everyone gets the family they want and deserve. When that happens, we of course try to make things a bit better inside the family but we also need to create a community of loving support outside the family. Families can be made as well as born. You can make an alternative family for yourself that will give you the kind of support and caring you need.

The dance studio is a place to start. It’s a place where there are already people who share your interests. There are probably people there who admire what you can do. Do everything you can to be a friendly and helpful person there. Volunteer to help out with the classes for little kids and to staff the desk. Help the younger and less skilled kids. Collaborate with the people who are on your level. If there is a dance company, work hard to be good enough as a dancer and nice enough as a person that you will be a welcome addition to the troupe. You might even eventually be able to be an assistant teacher.

In addition, you might be able to find a writers’ group where you could share your poetry with other people and where you could learn more about the craft of writing. Other sensitive people who write are also potential friends.

Meanwhile, work on being your own best friend. You are being hurt enough by other people. It isn’t helpful for you to be hurting you too. Although suicide attempts and cutting may give you a great distraction, it isn’t changing anything and it is giving you scars that will be a problem for a dancer. Cutting is addictive because the endorphin burst that happens when you do it makes you feel better for a little while. However, you can get the same endorphin burst from ten minutes of fast dancing or a run around the block.

I do think that having a counselor who is your own person to talk to would also be helpful. A counselor can give you needed support and also some practical advice about how to change things at school and at home. In many towns, there are free counseling programs for adolescents. See if your school counselor can help you find someone and find a way to pay for it.

If you get so down that you are thinking about suicide or cutting again, please call one of the following numbers. There are counselors available 24/7 to talk with kids just like you who are going through hard times. They are there to help.

Boys Town National Hotline: (800) 448-3000 (Yes – they talk with girls too!)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255

You made an important first step by writing to us. Now please follow through and try out some of these suggestions. You’re worth it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Sep 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). What’s wrong with me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/09/10/whats-wrong-with-me-5/