I have a lot of overwhelming stress

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

i am 17 and its my senior year and i should be filling out my applications and taking the SATS but i feel like i never have time or money. its so much on me with money because my mom died when i was twelve and my dad is on disablity and blows a lot of it and we often dont have a lot. so i dont know how to fill out my applications or SATs they both cost. money is a big stress issue. which leads to my brother who is fifteen and constantly gets on my nerves, i can not stand him. he steals my money, my dads money, our food,etc. we have to hide everything and if you ask him about it he always says i dont know or get angry and blow up.he also has a lot of anger issues.he stresses me out because i never know what to expect when i come home from school if the house is going to be a mess which is twenty four seven and i have to clean, or what will be missing. me and my sister get along very well but sometimes i just get in these moods and its like every little thing someone or her does gets on my nerves or bothers me. school is so much work and i have ADD so its very hard to concentrate. its so hard to actually sit down and do my work when i want to do something else or get distracted. every little thing is so overwhelming and i have been starting to get less sleep at night especially on school nights.i just dont know what to do anymore i often feel like if my brother left the whole problem will be gone but i know that wont happen

A: For your immediate problem regarding college applications: Most high schools have a guidance counselor whose job it is to help kids figure out how to do those college applications and how to prepare for and sign up for the SATs. Some schools have ways to provide financial assistance to kids who don’t have the money for the fees. Respectfully ask your guidance counselor or principal who you should talk to to get some help.

Meanwhile, it’s no wonder to me that you are overwhelmed and upset. As you pointed out, getting rid of your brother won’t solve anything. Yes, he’s out of control. But his angry misbehavior is a symptom of a larger issue. Your family is falling apart and you are all over-stressed. The central problem may be that all of you lost your mom and your dad hasn’t been able to step up and manage the family on his own. He must be as overwhelmed as you are.

Your dad needs support, not criticism. There is no shame in being unable to cope when a spouse dies and leaves three kids who need parenting. It’s a daunting situation for many people. I hope you have a trusted relative or another adult friend you can take into your confidence and who can help you talk to your dad about getting some professional support and practical help. If not, please consider talking with your doctor, your clergyperson, or your school counselor to get the help your family needs and deserves.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Oct 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). I have a lot of overwhelming stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/10/15/i-have-a-lot-of-overwhelming-stress/