I started unhealthy ways to deal with stress

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hi, I`m 17, I have started finding a unhealthy way to deal with stress, depression, and loss of my dog too well. I didn`t know how much stress my beloved dog helped me with for soo long till he died this year. When I went to school this one day I got told that I was stupid and pathetic because I didn`t take a phone away in one of the classes I was teaching. I know I don`t have the right to do that but I wasn`t feeling good, I had just lost the dog and the teacher had to take it out on someone about the fight he got into the day before and he took it out on me. That night I went home and used a saftey pin on my wrist.
My mom doesn`t get it I have been regected by my real dad and my step and this is my final year and I have to find money to go to college and she doesn`t know that I don`t sleep my eating is down I do eat somedays but I can go a few days to a week without eating but I can always make it look like I`m eating just so that she doesn`t get on my back. I think that every thing is my fault since I`ve been told since I was little that everything is my fault my grandpa`s death that was my fault, and the dogs death also my fault. My mom is sick so my step dad blames me for that and it puts sooo much stress on my I get really sick to my stomach and don`t eat or sleep. I thought things would get better they just stayed the same I get thoughts about killing my self and tried but never went threw with it I chickened out because I can`t do what my one friend did to her friends and her parents and little sister. I feel like I`m alone I`ve tried to make my parents happy but they just seem to not really care about me. I feel like I`m a no body to them cause my step dad told his friend in front of me shes not my daughter and I feel like I just don`t belong in this world.
I need help!!! I don`t want to feel like this anymore!!!

A: Not every kid gets the family she deserves. Sadly, you are one of many, many people who were born to a family that doesn’t give her the emotional, psychologicial, and practical support she needs. The fact that you have grown to be the sensitive, articulate person you are in spite of it tells me that you have more inner strength and gifts than maybe you can even appreciate right now. Your sadness and distress are too much in the front. You’ve been told so often that things beyond your control are your fault that you’ve started to believe it. You are not at fault for people being sick and dying. It sounds to me that people who can’t cope with their own grief and responsibilities are shifting blame and shame to you.

In the States, there is a public service advertising campaign going on called “It gets better.” Celebrities and politicians are speaking out about how they were bullied for various reasons and how it got better once they got older. The message to people like you is, “Hold on. There’s hope. You’ll grow up and grow away from your current situation. It gets better.” It does. College isn’t high school. The adult world isn’t either. Once out of your family, you can make the kind of family you want.

So hold on! Depriving yourself of food won’t help you. You need your strength. Not sleeping won’t help you. You need your rest. Hurting yourself won’t help you get to a better place either. Instead, turn that self-destructive energy into motivation to get out of there. Go see your guidance counselor. Look for scholarships and grants that will get you to school in a year. Get a part-time job if you can and start saving your money. If your resume is weak, get yourself into some extra-curricular activities that will make you attractive to schools. Grades not good enough? Look for a “gap year” experience away from home. There are exciting, and subsidized, service opportunities out there. You’ll get a year away from your hometown and some money to help pay for school. Colleges look favorably on someone who has done a gap year as well.

I’m glad you’ve ruled out suicide as an answer. Saying “yes” to life is the first step. Now gather your resolve to take charge of your life to make it better. You can do it. You’ve managed to survive this long. Now it’s time to do better than surviving. With some effort on your part, you can be in an entirely different place next year. You can make a new start and a new life. You’re almost there. You can make it better.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Sep 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). I started unhealthy ways to deal with stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/09/13/i-started-unhealthy-ways-to-deal-with-stress/