Since I was in elementary school I use to pinch myself or punch my stomach, as I grew I began to cut in 7th grade and began to think of suicide in 8th and tried to with pills but didn’t work for it didn’t take effect on me or make me sick. Since Freshman year I’ve taken different screenings and at first showed moderate for dysthymia and cyclothymia. In my most recent screening (I take them online) showed I had a very high for cyclothymia and a moderate for dysthymia, I am now a Junior in high school. I would like to tell my parents about it but I feel I cannot for they’re to ignorant to understand. My mother believes that if you self harm, you are a spoiled brat who has nothing better to do and has to much free time. I once told her about how my friend tried to kill herself, my mother said that my friend could not control her emotions. Also, she said about a friends’ daughter who is hospital for attempting suicide told me, “let’s see if she’s really depressed once she takes a chance at the real world working!”  How am I suppose to tell someone who thinks I’m a spoiled brat who can’t control her emotions? (age 16, from US)

A: Thanks for writing in with your question. I’m sorry that you have been feeling depressed for so long. I’m wondering if you have tried talking with your father or another family member, since you feel that your mother would be unsupportive? Now that  school will be back in session, another possibility is to speak to your school counselor. Sometimes they can provide some counseling directly, and if not, they can help you get connected to services. Most states have laws in place that allow teens to seek counseling on their own, without parental consent, at least for a few sessions. This would allow you get some help quickly and the therapist could then help you communicate its importance to your parents.

Either take matters into your own hands to get the help you need, or speak to an adult who can help you, such as other family members, teachers, church leaders, your doctor, the school nurse, and so on. Keep trying until you get what you need.

Many people just don’t understand that mental health issues are real, and not just a sign of emotional weakness. Hopefully, your parents will come around once they realize that it is a legitimate medical concern that needs treatment. If not, I hope you will find the strength to get help anyway. You are worth it, and you deserve to feel better.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts