I Don’t Know Who to Tell

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From Canada: I’m 15 and I have a lot of issues which I fail at dealing with them in a good manner. I’m in school right now, but I’ve been afraid to go for the past week. My mom is out of the country but will be back soon so I’m home alone. My dad lives near me in a different house.
I’ve been getting in to a low mood and it’s hurting really bad and I want to tell someone so that I can get some help. I am not always in a low mood sometimes super very happy/excited so I think its not a big deal and it will go away soon?
I don’t want to tell my mom because I’ve told her before about one of my low moods and she didn’t take it seriously, and just said everyone goes through it especially teenagers, and i feel she judges me about it and doesn’t care. Even when i was younger i sometimes self injured and when she found out she said only crazy people did that and that i’m better than that(i don’t self harm anymore) So i started listening to her and thinking that. But now its really getting in the way of my work. I was thinking about telling my dad but i rarely see him, and he thinks of me as this happy go lucky girl. I’m also not super close with him and he’s from eastern Europe and has a lot of ideas in his head about things so i don’t know how he will react.
I was thinking of telling my guidance counselors at school, but i don’t want them to tell my parents and i don’t think they care all that much or will get me proper help. I don’t know who to tell.

A:Your mom is right that most teens go through lots of ups and downs in their feelings but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real. My guess is that finding out you were self-injuring scared her. What you interpreted as her not caring was possibly that she didn’t know what to say. Apparently, you did have some good talks or something because you stopped hurting yourself, but it sounds like you need her to let you know that she loves you and cares about you. She may take it for granted that of course you know she loves you. But sometimes it’s hard for kids to remember that if they don’t hear it. Your mom is out of the country right now which means you are alone with your thoughts and you can’t have a sit down heart to heart with her. I hope she’s returning soon so you can have a serious talk. Please consider showing her your letter and this response as a way to get started.

In the meantime, if you need someone to talk to, you could call the Boys and Girls Town Hotline. Counselors are available 24/7 to talk to teens like you. It’s free and confidential. Their number is: 1-800-448-3000

I wish you well
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Apr 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). I Don’t Know Who to Tell. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/04/17/i-dont-know-who-to-tell/