Don’t Know What’s Wrong with Me

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From New Zealand: That heading kinda said what was wrong but you might need a few more details. A couple of years ago when I was 17 my doctor put me on anti depressants as I was depressed for what I know of 2 – 3 years. Early the following year 5 days after my 18th birthday I attempted suicide and I had no reason for it. I just felt like I deserved to die. 2 years before I started getting depressed my grandfather died and we were close. I don’t know if it’s related. During high school I was teased a lot cause I am really shy. I wouldn’t call it bullying. But I don’t have friends, I never really have. My family laughs at me all the time when they know it hurts me. They used to joke about my depression before they knew how serious it was. My mother always yells and puts me down and she doesn’t really realise it. When I was younger my father used to verbally abuse me. He also hit and burned me as well. I know you are probably busy and don’t have time to answer this, but if you had a minute or two I would like to know your opinion. I’m always scared and hurt and upset. I cry all the time for no reason. I have no self worth/esteem or confidence. I really wanna know what’s wrong. I have no idea. Also a few years ago I got treated for an eating disorder, because I was restricting my food intake. I don’t think I had one. I just didn’t want to eat. And I also get insomnia at times.

A: It sounds to me like you’ve been living in an invalidating atmosphere for much of your young life. Your grandfather, the only person who loved you as you are, died on you. The rest of the family and your classmates have put you down, hurt you, and undermined your sense of worth and your self-confidence. You’ve become so used to their negative opinions of you that you are now treating yourself as they have treated you. You don’t nurture yourself with food or with self-love.

Sometimes people aren’t born into families they deserve. You might find it helpful to read an article I wrote some time ago because I was getting many letters like yours.

You are now 19. I hope you are doing the planning you need to do to get out on your own and build an adult life where you can find the friendships and love you deserve. The way you’ve been treated throughout your childhood doesn’t have to dictate the way you will live the rest of your life. A healthy place to start is to look for people who share the best attributes of the grandfather who loved you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Feb 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Don’t Know What’s Wrong with Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/02/14/i-dont-know-whats-wrong-with-me-4/