I wish I knew…

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I’m a 19 year old seeking any advice I can receive. I’ll try to keep this limited though, as I could easily write a novella describing my problems. Throughout my life I’ve always had psychological problems. Therapists, psychiatrists, MDs, and psychologists — I’ve seen them all, and not one has accurately diagnosed what is wrong with me, and because of this I’ve lost most of my hope in finding help. I feel as though nobody cares enough to take me seriously. Being 19, society has showed me I’m not old enough to have a “legitimate” say on anything (even my own life). Anyways, the last 2 years have been a psychological struggle, with the last 6 months escalating to a war with myself. Doctors and therapists all have waiting lists that are so long I’ve stopped trying to get in except with my family doctor (who has changed 4 times in under a year). I’ve been diagnosed with major depression, generalized anxiety, bipolar disorder, and plain old regular depression. However, the medications have either only half-worked or not worked at all. I have too many symptoms and family medical problems to bother you with, but I feel as though I lose my mind a little more every day. It seems as though nobody is willing to actually help unless I hurt myself or hurt someone else, and despite my uncontrollable emotions – which have gone up and down multiple times while typing this alone – I’d rather not have to do either of those. Unfortunately I must admit my hopelessness in finding help and years of unanswered problems have driven me to the point of substance abuse. I do have my favorites, but mostly I’ll take however much of whatever I can get my hands on. I just love drugs because they’re the only things that have always been there for me; the only things that have been able to take me away from my hellish reality. I assure you that I am completely sober while writing this. I can’t think straight anymore. An example of how my mind works would be like the alphabet….if you said it in 2 seconds and completely out of order. Channel surfing. 24/7. Seroquel has helped the speed part of it (and some insomnia), but only slightly. I feel as though I’m not in control of myself; stuck in an everlasting haze. I’ve been kicked out of school, gone into terrible debt, have lost my job, and have lost my house in just the last 4 months due to my problems. I’m really a smart person, but my mind keeps me from showing it (ironic I must say). I feel trapped in my own head. I wish I knew what help to ask for, but I honestly don’t. I just need somebody to give me some idea of what to do. It wouldn’t be the first time my search for help has gone unanswered, and with my lack of direction and specificity I’m not sure if I should hold my breath for this or not. It would, however, be the first time it is answered. Either way, I just hope somebody reads this, so I can say I tried and prove to myself that I truly want help.

As simple as the words “thank you” may be, the emotions I tie with them are the sum of all I have left. I can only hope it’s enough, so I say goodbye with my simple:

Thank You.

A: First let me apologize for the care you have received from the health care industry. It sounds like you really want some help, have genuinely asked for it, and have not found it. By the style and nature of your letter it seems that you are both intelligent and in need of someone to assist you in sorting through what needs to be done. Let’s see if we can come up with a plan that suits your needs.

First we need a psychiatric evaluation including medical and psychological testing. I know you said there was a long waiting list, but to try to move forward without a complete evaluation is walking in the dark. A comprehensive evaluation will help maximize the chance that you will be able to find the right intervention. This way we get the best of both worlds; psychological and medical understanding.

In your state there are a number of teaching hospitals and universities with medical schools that sponsor clinics. Please check these university resources out and get on the list for services.

Then I would look for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) groups in your area. Here is a link to these. NAMI has support groups and informtion, as well as online comminities for help. Of course we also have forums here at PsychCentral, which are free.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 May 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). I wish I knew…. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/05/10/i-wish-i-knew/