I dont know how to tell my parents that its serious. I have a very low self-esteem and low confidence. I’m not sure if that is a result of, or perhaps the cause of my depression. But, I have been suffering from depression for a year and a half. For almost two years I have had insomnia issues I barely get any sleep, in fifth and fourth grade almost every other day I would have a sort of panic attacks normally surrounding the things I hadn’t done that day or the things I had done wrong. This last six months my depression has gotten progressively worse.

I no longer want to hang out w/ my friends or family I spend most of my time locked up in my room. I said something that scared my mom and made her think that I’m intending self-harm. It scared me that I meant what I said. My best friend thinks that I need to gain for confidence and get out of my room. She thinks I need a therapist. My parents don’t understand the scope of my problem they joke about me staying in my room. How could I approach that? How can I tell them that I no longer feel any motivation to do anything at all anymore. I don’t think I would ever commit suicide but I feel like by shutting myself off from everyone it’s almost worse.

A. When your parents make jokes about your isolation they are likely indicating that they do not know how to help you or that they are attempting to minimize the seriousness of your problem. There are several ways to approach this situation. One would be to plan a meeting with your parents. Inform them that you have something important to discuss and request their undivided attention.

If you are uncomfortable with a face-to-face meeting, my second suggestion involves writing them a letter describing your feelings. The contents of the letter should contain much of the information you have provided to us at Psych Central. It should also include details about:

  • how serious you believe the problem has become;
  • how depression has affected your behavior in practical ways (i.e. insomnia, loss of motivation, not wanting to hang out with friends, increased isolation, etc.)
  • how you are struggling to deal with the feelings of depression;
  • your fear about them not taking you seriously;
  • the fact that you have had thoughts of suicide;
  • how your friends have noticed your depression symptoms; and
  • your strong belief that you need and want help.

Other important information to include should be the fact that you have written to us at Psych Central. The purpose for relaying this information is to underscore the severity of your depression.

If none of the aforementioned options are feasible, a third option would be to speak to your school guidance counselor. Report your symptoms of depression. Ask for his or her guidance and advice about how to approach your parents. Guidance counselors are trained to deal with these types of situations. The guidance counselor may be able to intervene and contact your parents. Other ideas include speaking to a trusted family member, a family friend, or a member of the clergy, each of whom may be willing to speak to your parents on your behalf.

I hope my suggestions will be useful. Generally speaking, the best approach is to be honest and sincere. Don’t assume anything. Also, don’t let fear prevent you from getting the help that you need and deserve. In order to receive help you must first communicate your feelings to your parents. It may not be an easy task but they can’t help you if they are unaware that a problem exists. I wish you the best. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Feb 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Suffering From Depression and Scared I Need a Therapist. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/02/12/suffering-from-depression-and-scared-i-need-a-therapist/