Hi. I’m 15 years old, and ever since the beginning of this school year, I’ve gotten progressively more and more depressed and unhappy with life. Although, this has not been diagnosed, because my other problem is that it’s extremely difficult for me to talk about my issues with anyone. For as long as I can remember (especially through middle school), whenever I have a bad day or something happens to me I just don’t talk to anyone about it. I feel worthless, like it’ll just be a waste of their time, and all I’ll be doing is annoying them. I don’t deserve their sympathy. My whole life I’ve been extremely self-conscious. My self-esteem and self-respect are practically nonexistent; I think I’m ugly and dumb and worthless and a failure at everything I do. I really just hate myself, and I don’t know what to do about it. I was sexually harassed by my friend’s dad several times, causing trust issues with basically all boys/men (I even consider the horrible things my boyfriend, who I dearly love, could do to me — I can’t help these thoughts), but no one knows this (my boyfriend is the only person I’ve told, and he lives far away so all I can do is text him). I’ve also come close to self harming several times. My supposed depression has caused a lack of sleep and motivation in me, along with extreme forgetfulness since my mind is so cluttered with everything else. This has been significantly impacting my grades, which are now plummeting. I’ve been yelled at by teachers, and especially by my parents, who now fight often over my academic failures. I’m so lost. I just don’t know what to do with myself. My boyfriend tells me I need a therapist, but the thought of suddenly coming out and telling my parents everything about my issues is daunting. I do think that a therapist would help, but I’m just so bad at helping myself I feel like I won’t ever get there. I don’t want to be sad anymore. I don’t want to fail my classes. I don’t want to be the cause of my parents’ fighting, or hurt anyone else. Please tell me what to do.

A: Writing in with your questions was the first step. Now it’s time to take the next one and ask for some help. I agree with your boyfriend that it is time to see a professional therapist or counselor. I know it can be scary to admit that something is wrong, but your parents and teachers are obviously already concerned about you. Why would they be upset with you for letting them know that you are also concerned and want to make things better? You don’t have to tell your parents every symptom and every thought that you are having, just tell them enough for them to find you the best therapist for what you are dealing with.

Please don’t wait any longer. Depression can be treated and you can turn this around before things get worse. I hope you feel better soon.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts