I feel worthless

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I hate my life. I find everything difficult now. Before i used to love life and everythings started going downhill since my grandma died 3 years ago. I miss her. My mum and dad always go on about how my results in school are bad and i hate it. So i try do well but my hard work never results in anything and i still get fairly bad results even if they have improved. My sister hates me too. And she prefers her boyfriends sister to me. They go shopping and to the cinema and on holidays together even though i would be willing to do that. My sister is also very clever and her hard work pays off so my parents compare her to me alot. Which makes it harder for me. My sister is also very skinny but i’m not obese but im fatter than her and my friends. And i hate it. I try to lose weight but nothing ever happens. Its like im stuck. Sometimes i punch myself in the head because i hate my life so much. I cry alot in bed. And i pray so hard but God seems to have left me. I want to leave because everyone in my family are against me. And the only time i’m happy is when im with my friends so i try get out alot but my parents have realised that im out alot so they restrict my freedom. I don’t know what to do. Please help me. I feel like killing my self or running away but running away won’t help me. Please help:’(

A: I’m very sorry you lost the person in your life who was so important to you. You lost your grandma just when you were leaving little girlhood and entering your teens. It must be especially hard not to have her support when life is so confusing and bleak. You’re right. Running away won’t help. For one thing, wherever you run, you will take yourself with you. I hope the following ideas might give you another option.

I’m concerned that you have gotten yourself into a negative and painful cycle. You are unhappy with yourself so you act unhappy. Unhappy people don’t do very well in the world and are difficult to be around so your parents and your sister criticize you and your parents try make you be different – which only makes you feel even more unhappy. Around and around it goes. Negativity only produces more negativity.

If you really want things to be different, you’re going to have to take more charge of your life and make some changes. You can’t make the people around you change but you can change yourself.

First, dress up for school. Believe it or not, people who get up early enough to dress well and to eat some breakfast do much better in school. Your self-esteem will also get a lift if people compliment you on how put together you are. Then go see your teachers and ask for some extra help. Most teachers are happy to work with a motivated student. Invite your friends over to meet your parents so that your parents will get to know and like them. Finally, in my country there’s a saying: “Fake it until you make it.” That means that sometimes the best thing to do is to pretend you are happy and pretend that you are the gorgeous person you want to be and to pretend that you are the most interesting person your parents will ever have a chance to meet. If you pretend long enough and hard enough, it often becomes something close to reality. It’s hard but it’s certainly no harder than thinking about killing yourself.

Please remember that your grandma is always with you in your heart. One way to honor her memory is to work on yourself in ways that would make her proud. If you need a little extra support, use one of your country’s hotlines. One I was able to locate is run by the Samaritans. Their number is 08457-90-90-90 or you can try their website. Counselors are available 24/7 for people to talk to if they are feeling desperate or low.

You made an important first step by writing to us here at Psych Central. Now, please take the next steps. Reach out for more help if you need it. Work on showing the world the person your grandma always knew you are.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Aug 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). I feel worthless. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/08/14/i-feel-worthless/