My life at home is really really stressful and my relationship with two out of three siblings is TERRIBLE. School is a pain and I hate to admit that I actually feel SCARED to go most of the time or even think about it because I’m just feeling so confused about it and all the amount of work that I have to do for it is daunting. I also have AP exams and school exams coming up soon and am feeling totally lost about it all so the stress in that particular area of my life is seriously mounting. Friends? Lets just not get into that. I can’t sleep either and am getting five or so hours a day lately.

I feel like complete and utter crap most of the time and I really want to stop feeling like this nearly 24/7 but I don’t want to TELL anyone including friends or parents that I’m having such a hard time. Call it a pride thing, be being stubborn, or just plain stupid. I honestly don’t care. I just want to fix this problem on my own but I don’t know how.

A: OK. You have already made the important first step of admitting there is a problem. The first thing you can do on your own to make yourself feel better is to work on your sleep. Human beings, especially adolescent human beings, are not wired to function on only five or so hours a night. You really need more like 8. Read up on how to turn your sleep around. Set up a schedule. Make sure to get all stressful things done and out of the way long before bedtime. Don’t drink coffee or caffeinated soda after lunch. Get some exercise in every day. Give it an honest try for at least a week. If it doesn’t iimprove at all, that it could be that the sleeplessness is a symptom of depression. But my first guess is that it’s a bad habit. Let’s at least start there.

Next, have a serious talk with yourself about whether you really want and need to do AP work in all your classes. Are they required for your eventual goals or have you gotten caught up in something that really isn’t necessary? I know this is heretical talk in some circles but it isn’t necessary to have straight As and all AP courses to get into many very good colleges. Admissions officers are looking for people who do other things besides studying all the time. Have a clear discussion with your guidance counselor about how to reduce your stress.

Still feeling terrible? Get a checkup if you haven’t already. There are many medical problems that show up with the same symptoms as depression. You may have a vitamin deficiency, for example.

Still no good? Sigh. Now you have to rethink your position about not telling anyone. Ask your doctor if she or he has a suggestion for someone to talk to who has experience working with teens and their families. In the meantime, you can try using the Boys and Girls Town hotlline as a place where you can remain anonymous but still get some support and practical help with your problems. Their number is 800-448-3000.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jun 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). How are you supposed to stop feeling so depressed if you don’t want to go to/tell anyone?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/06/06/how-are-you-supposed-to-stop-feeling-so-depressed-if-you-dont-want-to-go-totell-anyone/