Q. I’ve been this way for all years at high school. I’ve had withdrawal, feelings of inadequacy, unable to socialize with girls, sometimes I breakdown, whenever I get nervous or anxious my abs tighten up really badly, I’ve had thoughts of suicide, I’m usually unhappy, I get intense pains in my chest often, and I feel like I’m losing everything. I’m pretty sure no one would think of me this way because I’ve always been quiet and in the shadow of my twin. I’m always trying and persevering but things only get worse. I try to reason with myself but when I do it just reinforces these thoughts. I really have no one to talk to because I don’t have any close friends anymore that I could talk to. The beginning of this year I was just starting to settle in and thinking better of myself but then everything just fell apart and things if at all have just gotten worse. I want to get better but really don’t know where to start. I tried going to my highschool counselor but he just talks about grades and going to college, my parents don’t understand and already have my grandfather to take care of and recently our grandmother passed away. I tried talking to my priest at my parish and all I’ve gotten was praying and vocations to the priest hood. I used to be really strong with my faith but not anymore. I still am active with my church but I feel I’m not getting any patience or anythings gotten better. My parents said they’d take me to a psychiatrist but we really don’t have alot of money and I don’t want to be such a burden. On top of that I’m always busy because I go to a jesuit school, sports, and other service projects. I do them because I know it’ll be good but I feel theres no time for me or to figure myself out. What should I do?
A. I am glad that you wrote. If I were working with you in person, I would try to rework the inaccurate belief that you hold about yourself. That is, that you are not worthy of help. You mentioned that you feel like a burden and that you do not have time to figure yourself out. Perhaps your belief that you are not worthy of help is the message that has been unintentionally passed along to you by your parents when they were so focused on taking care of your grandparents. Your parents, in essence, ignored your needs. They probably did not do it on purpose but the end result was still the same, your needs were ignored. As a result of being ignored, you adopted the attitude and mindset that you do not matter.
The way to handle this situation is, ideally with professional assistance from a therapist and a psychiatrist if necessary, is to eliminate that message that you are not worthy. You should consider that message as simply not true. It is actually a lie. You internalized this message as a result of your parents not being able to meet your needs because they were needed elsewhere, to help your grandparents. The idea that you do not matter is not real, it does not represent reality and it is a distortion of the truth about yourself. Once you can recognize the truth about yourself, that you do matter and that your needs are of paramount importance, then you may begin to heal and pull out of this depression.
In summation, my admittedly uniformed opinion is that you are suffering from depression that has never been treated. If your parents offer to get you help then it is in your best interest to take that help because you deserve that help and because it is your turn to be taken care of. Finally, if you feel suicidal then you should go to the hospital and get evaluated immediately. Please write again with any further questions.