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