Depressed, Angry & Shutting People Out

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

In the last 2 years I’ve developed depression. Recently I’ve been having nightmares/daydreams that remind me of a past experience of abuse I witnessed and I’ll wake up crying, sweaty, and terrified. Also, lately if feels like I have a literal heart ache and I’ll always cry for no reason, I know it’s not heart problems because I’ve been to the doctor about it and my mom just thinks it’s a “phase”. I’ve also been super irritable and I feel angry all the time even when I should be happy and enjoying myself. I’ve been having thoughts that maybe I should just die, not kill myself but if a car were to be in front of me I wouldn’t move out of the way, I would just let it hit me. I tried to get my mom to get me a therapist and she keeps saying she’s going to but she hasn’t yet. I remind her at least 3 times a week. I’m just wondering how I can get her to actually get me a therapist.

A. Depression is a concern, as is your anxiety. Waking up with a “heartache,” experiencing sweating and being terrified, associated with earlier memories of witnessing abuse, may indicate that you are having panic attacks. A panic attack is an intense period of fear and overwhelming anxiety. Panic and anxiety symptoms are quite unpleasant.

The panic might also be indicative of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is another type of anxiety disorder. It can develop after an individual experiences or witnesses a traumatic event.

You mentioned that you went to a doctor and he or she ruled out heart problems. If not heart problems, did the doctors think you might have anxiety problems? It is the next logical possibility, after health problems have been ruled out.

Your biggest challenge seems to be convincing your mother that you need to consult a mental health professional. You can return to the doctor and ask him or her about the possibility of your having depression and anxiety. The doctor should recognize your symptoms as being potentially those of depression and anxiety. If your mother doesn’t believe you, then she might believe your doctor.

Another idea is to show her the letter that you wrote to us at Psych Central and my response. It confirms that you may indeed have depression and/or anxiety and that it should be considered a serious matter. Mental health disorders are not “phases.” They require professional treatment, especially in cases where someone expresses passive suicidal ideation. Anyone who experiences suicidal ideation needs to be immediately evaluated by a mental health professional.

My third suggestion, for convincing your mother that you need professional psychological help, is to discuss these matters with the school guidance counselor. Hearing about the seriousness of your mental health concerns from the school guidance counselor might get your mother’s attention.

You are quite insightful for recognizing the need for professional help. So often, people experience psychological distress but never consider seeking professional help. Part of their hesitancy involves their erroneous belief that they “should” be able to handle these problems on their own. You’re very wise not to see it that way.

You are doing the right thing by asking for help. I would encourage you to continue to ask your mother for help. Don’t stop asking until she complies. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Apr 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). Depressed, Angry & Shutting People Out. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/04/21/depressed-angry-shutting-people-out/

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