I am fourteen years old. I’ve been experiencing severe depressive symptoms with terrible suicidal thoughts for weeks now. I have also been experiencing all symptoms of social anxiety since grade five. I can’t stand it. There are many different physical and mental tasks i must repeat in order to ensure the safety of me and others. I seem to always have the urge to break something or kill someone. I overeat way too much. I eat when I’m not hungry. I have gained fifty pounds in the last year. My academic performance is suffering. Suicide seems like the best option now. I’ll be starting my plan soon. I feel so trapped!
When I am out in public or in social situations, I tend to believe that people know what i am thinking and feeling. To push these people away mentally, I think about death and destruction so that they stop they’re doing. I also have different voices in my head that i have conversations with in social situations. They encourage me to kill all who look at me or read my thoughts. I gain a sudden hatred for all I see in public as I feel they are constantly judging me and planning to do me harm. When everything gets too overwhelming, everything becomes dream-like as if what i sense is simply not there. I believe this is derealization. I think about mass murder quite a lot and i take great pleasure in it. I do not plan on killing anyone, but it gives me a confidence that i can’t explain. I feel I am able to project these fantasies on to other people when they are reading my thoughts, scaring them away and feeling victorious. I am quite paranoid about everyone and everything. To the point of angry outbursts when someone has found out something about me like my full name. It is hard for me to trust anyone.
I am too afraid to tell anyone about any of this. There are people who are much worse off than I am which makes me feel quite pathetic. I don’t want to appear as an attention-seeker or ungrateful. I do want help though, really bad. I just want to know how to go about telling someone. How should I approach my mother and what should I do to make this whole thing go smoothly?
How Do I Tell Someone about My Possible Depression & Social Anxiety?
I see this letter as the first step in your getting help. You have clearly articulated some of the issues with which you are struggling.
Your next step should be speaking to your mother. I don’t know what your relationship is like with her but if you feel comfortable, openly discussing these matters, then you should do it. You want to be as honest and sincere as possible. You might even consider reading her the letter that you wrote to me. It’s incredibly insightful and it will help her understand what’s wrong and how sincere you are about wanting help.
Another strategy is to write her a letter. Sometimes people feel more comfortable writing than they do speaking. Do what’s most comfortable for you.
In cases where parents are not open to mental health treatment, I commonly recommend speaking to the school guidance counselor. Guidance counselors know how to talk to parents about these kinds of issues. Think about which approach would work best with your mother.
There’s no reason for you to feel “pathetic.” Treating mental health problems is a learned skill. Mental health professionals receive years of rigorous training and education to learn those skills. Their training is what gives them expertise. You should have no expectations about knowing how to solve your own psychological problems.
No one feels “pathetic” about having to consult a dentist for a bad tooth or a dermatologist about a misshapen mole. Laypeople don’t have expertise in dentistry or dermatology and that’s well understood but for some reason, many people feel that they should have innate expertise in the field of mental health. Innate expertise in mental health, is no more realistic than innate expertise in carpentry or physical therapy or radiology or engineering. Expertise in those areas involves many, many hours of specialized training and practice.
Consulting a mental health professional for psychological problems is no different than consulting a plumber for a clogged drain or a physical therapist for rehabilitation. With any problem, it’s most efficient and most reasonable to seek an expert.
Your writing this letter and your openness to seeking treatment makes you anything but “pathetic.” It makes you brave and insightful and it significantly improves your likelihood of a good prognosis. All of the problems you described can be resolved with mental health treatment. I hope you are able to receive the help that you desire. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle