Q: I am a 14 year old eighth grade student struggling with a problem. When I was younger (Ages 3/4 to age 9 to be exact)) I was sexually abused by my “god father,” although he wasn’t My god father he was my God mothers husband. Anyways he abused me for years and I never told. It’s been now about 2-3 years since I finally have told my story. In a way I feel so much better, like a heavy weight lifted off my chest. But then again, I feel fear all the time, you know? What if he sees me? What if I see him? What if he’s watching me? I keep having all these questions that keep me from going shopping easily at stores. Well since I have told I have been feeling guilty, sad, “down in the dumps” if you will. I have thought and almost committed suicide. I often have thoughts of it, almost everyday. Feeling like I’m worthless and that everything is all my fault. I have read articles and things that have said that often times coming with sexual abuse can also come depression. My friends have been telling me that my eyes have seemed empty, sad, and that I have seemed distant. Other friends have said that I “Need to be happier” “Stop being so depressed”. A lot of people have been asking me recently if I’m okay and if something is wrong and that I’m not acting like myself. I have taken some online depression quizzes all saying that I could have severe depression. The thing is, is that I’m scared to ask my mom or anyone to take me in. I feel like they won’t believe me. Could I possibly have depression or am I just worrying over nothing.

A: I’m glad you told someone about your sexual abuse, but that is only the first step. Dealing with it is the next step and it sounds like it is time to do that. You may have depression or something like Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (a condition that causes symptoms based on going through something stressful and traumatic) but labeling it is not as important as getting help. I would definitely ask your mom to help you find a counselor you can talk to. If you aren’t ready to do that maybe you can talk to a teacher or your school counselor and they could help you talk to your mom. I would ask to see someone who works with teens and sexual abuse issues. Talking to a professional will not only help you feel better but it may prevent you from having problems later. You have been very brave by telling someone about what happened to you. Now I hope you will be brave again and get some help for what it is doing to your life. You deserve to be happy and going through something like this can make you sad and scared. But if you find a good therapist to help you through this, you can be happy again and eventually put all the pain behind you. I wish you luck.