Terrible Home Environment

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi, im 17 year old and I live in what I call a hell hole with my dad, twin brother, step mom, and half siblings. I’ve always had problems living with my dad but it all went south when my dad got married. He started believing that people were trying to kill him with voodoo and so he married this woman a year ago to “protect us”. Then he started accusing me of stealing her stuff, using her stuff without permission, and even trying to kill him. He says that my mom (who lives in a different state) and I team up to put things around the apt to cause harm.

I am severely depressed and I was hospitalized a month ago after I called a suicide hotline and told the lady what I wanted to do to myself. And the only I called the hotline was because I repeatedly told my dad about my suicidal thoughts, and how depressed I am, and he said to leave him alone and if I wanted to continue to cut, I could until I bleed o death and he’ll just take me to the hospital. He moved over this past summer without telling me or my brother (we were at our mom’s house) so I have no one to talk to here.

The house is soo dirty, not just clothes and dirt…its like waste. And food, garbage all over this house, it makes me sick literally…im having stomach issues because don’t want to go to the bathroom, or anywhere else in this place. Im so scared of it..Im a germaphobe and so coming home after school makes me soo anxious and I want to cry. After I came home from the hospital..they gave me this discharge plan and I was put on medication there because of an anxiety attack. theyre antidepressants..welbutrin and because of my mood swings they mentioned mood stabilizers but said i will talk about that with an outpaitian psychiatrist.

The discharge plan said that I was to be placed in an intensive out patient program, and that didn’t happen because my dad says its stupid….2 weeks before my medication was finished I told him that and he just ignored me and so now my meds are done and it’s been a week. He doesn’t seem to care that I need a psychiatrist to monitor my meds. All I get here is threatened like “im gonna break ur neck”, “u’ll see what ill do to you”, “leave and don’t come back” name called like stupid, idiot, useless. I cant stay here anymore, I know im almost out but this is too much..the more I stay here the more suicidal I get and the more I want to cut. i still have mood swings and go into rages and its really bad and thats when i get the most threatened…i just feel like im getting worse…im really jumpy, always anxious..i dont have intense flashbacks anymore but alot of things bring me back and i tell my dad this and he doesnt care..he even said he doesnt
Do I even have any options as a 17 y/o? i really need a psychiatrist…Please help me..thank you for your time.

A. You are a very brave and resilient individual. I am very sorry to hear about the hardships you are facing on a daily basis. It sounds very difficult. I can understand why you feel anxious, depressed, and physically sick given your situation. Anyone would feel a similar way when faced with the same reality. It is clear that you are in need of help immediately. Below I have a list of possible suggestions for you that may help in your situation.

Contact the outpatient psychiatrist via phone or the mental health workers at the hospital who provided you a discharge plan. Tell them that you need help. Inform them about your home situation. Tell them about your father and the things he says to you. It seems as if he may possibly have a psychotic disorder. He is threatening you. He is not stable. He is paranoid. Tell them about your home living environment and how unsanitary it is. They may not know the full extent of your living situation. If they did, then I wonder how or why they would’ve placed you back in the home. If they knew more about what you’re currently going through, then they may be able to help you move out of the environment and into a more stable and clean home. They could place you in a residential treatment facility or related facility where you can gain relief from your situation. Your mental health is not only at risk but so is your physical health. This is a serious situation.

Another consideration is going to live with a relative. Is there anyone in your family you could live with, at least temporarily? If not a family member then what about a friend?

If none of the above options are helpful then I would strongly suggest speaking to someone at your school. You could speak to a trusted teacher, the school principal, the school nurse, or any other individual in the school who may be able to help you. If not someone at the school, then is there anyone you could speak with at a local church? That is also a consideration.

One last option to consider is calling Child Protective Services. I do not know your location or I would provide you with the phone number but you can generally find the phone number to Child Protective Services in the yellow or white pages. You may be able to do an Internet search. Type in the words “Child Protective Services” and the name of your city or state in a Google search and you should be able to find the phone number.

The bottom line is that you need immediate help. It’s not going to be easy to handle this situation on your own. I would not recommend it. You need outside help ideally from mental health professionals. If you are feeling suicidal then you should call a crisis hotline or go straight to an emergency room. Here’s a number for a crisis hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

Please consider making contact with one of the resources mentioned above. Inform them about your current situation. Be certain that you provide details, especially about your current living situation. They need to know that your home, as you have described it in your letter, is a major health hazard. I hope you’re able to find the help you need. Please write if you have any further questions.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Mar 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Terrible Home Environment. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/08/terrible-home-environment/

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