Family, Depression, and Feeling Trapped

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi. To start off, a couple of months ago my grandpa died from cancer, and I was really close to him, and loved him a lot. A little bit before that, I was diagnosed with depression, but my parents didn’t tell me. Then, under false pretenses, I had to take another long series of tests, which, again had the same result. They still didn’t tell me, and I found out from my therapist, who I have to see for parents issues. I am adopted. The parent problems have been going on just about forever. My mom especially. She also treats me like I’m worthless, and I’m starting to think I am. She hits me, leaves bruises, scratches me, and hurts me, inside, and out. She has broken fingers, and scarred arms and faces. My dad sees, and does nothing about it. She never does anything to my sister, she just hates me I think. There are only two people I’ve told, two close friends. Recently it’s been getting worse. She has been screaming at me about what an idiot I am, how stupid, fat, and ugly I am, and how I don’t mean anything to the family. She says she wouldn’t care if I was there or not. I’m starting to agree. On top of that, my grades are sinking low, to the C range, which she considers unacceptable, to say the least. Also, I have been feeling extremely down, with the depression I mentioned above. This year it has gotten really bad, fast. I have started cutting and drinking, and even doing some drugs. It makes me feel better for about 5 minutes. Then I feel like crap again. I’ve thought about killing myself many times, and I’ve even tried once or twice. I don’t know what to do. I am sort of thinking maybe I should just run away from it all and kill myself. Or just run away and stay with a friend or something. I just know one thing. I can’t live with this anymore. I’m scared. I’m lost. And I’m trapped. What do I do?

A. I’m sorry about your situation. It must be difficult to feel trapped, frightened and all alone. You mentioned that you have a therapist. Is your therapist aware of your issues? Does he or she know that your mother physically harms you, that you’re thinking about running away or committing suicide? If not, then you are withholding important information. He or she needs to know that information to help you.

Once you have your therapist involved you may want to discuss two possible strategies that may improve your situation. One is a possible move to a residential living facility and the other is family therapy. Temporarily moving to a residential living facility would allow you a break from your stressful environment. You would also likely have access to mental health professionals who can assist you with your family and emotional problems. If a residential living facility is not an option, then what about temporarily staying with a close relative? I am not certain if moving would be an option for you but it is something to be considered.

I also mentioned family therapy. This type of therapy generally consists of you and other members of your family working together to resolve family issues. Many of your interactions with your family are upsetting. Family therapy could help with this.

Ideally, your therapist should be the one making suggestions about how to improve your life. Generally, that is their job, at least in part. Since that does not seem to be the case for you, you may want to bring these suggestions to his or her attention.

I understand why you are turning to drugs and alcohol, running away or contemplating suicide; those are the type of solutions individuals may choose when they are confused. You are on the wrong track but you can change this by asking for help. Talk to your therapist or another mental health professional immediately so you can access the help you need and deserve.

One last thing, be certain to call 911 or go to an emergency room if you believe you are going to harm yourself or someone else. The hospital can keep you safe.

I wish you well. Thank you for your question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Jan 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Family, Depression, and Feeling Trapped. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/01/13/family-depression-and-feeling-trapped/