Miserable and without Help

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Recently, I have been feeling anxious over things that are out of my control. I tried to tell my parents and that did not turn out well. Instead its just made me feel worse about myself and what others think of me. I don’t have a lot of friends and that makes my parents mad, especially my dad who always is getting on my case about how i should try to make friends and call my friends. Of course i tell him that i will try harder, but the truth is how can you try harder if you have already tried your best?

Last year i got sent home by the school nurse around 12 times towards the end of the year because i was dizzy and was having trouble breathing. I feel as my life is being controlled by things and i don’t even know what.

At age 11 my mom passed away and i moved in with my dad while my sister went into foster care. Its hard to live everyday being compared or hearing put downs on how my mom supposedly told me mean things to tell my dad. I talked to my school consular about this and she called my dad. Im not really sure who i can talk to that wont just call my parents and make my life more miserable at home and school.

A: I’m very sorry you lost your mother so young and that you are having such a tough time. There is more to this story than you were able to share in a short letter. I have to wonder why you and your sister were separated. I imagine that everyone in the family has feelings about that chapter in your family life that complicates relationships with one another.

Although your dad may mean well, scolding you for not having friends isn’t going to help you at all. If you could do it, you would have done it already. No one likes to be lonely. The pressure seems to be making you terribly anxious – which may explain the dizziness and trouble breathing.

I suggest you stop trying to make friends and instead focus on getting active in doing something you like that happens to have other people involved. Sharing an activity with others is the surest way to start to find potential friends. Even if no one becomes an actual friend, you’ll at least be less isolated. The activity can be anything from a club to a sport to a part-time job that brings you into contact with other people your age. Some people like chess. Some like a gaming club. Some like more active sports or theater or a community service club. It doesn’t really matter as long as you genuinely like it and there are other teens involved.

I’m sorry your counselor called your dad without providing you with some support. I’m sure she meant well but I understand why it makes you reluctant to talk to other adults. For now, I suggest you call the Boys Town Hotline when you need someone to talk to. Counselors are available 24/7 to talk to young people who are in any way confused or upset or just wanting to talk things out. Their number is 800-448-3000.

If you get involved in some activities and still find it difficult to relate to others, it might be helpful to talk to a counselor for awhile. Since your dad is so concerned about you, he may be supportive of you getting some therapy to help you solve your problems.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Aug 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Miserable and without Help. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/08/18/miserable-and-without-help/

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