From a teen in Australia: I have dealing with quite a few issues. I cannot for the life of me give myself a particular disorder, but I appear to carry traits and symptoms of many, mainly depression-related disorders. A few of my friends think that seeing a therapist would be beneficial to me, and I have come to reluctantly agree. However, my problems are very quiet ones, and are usually buried beneath my louder “outside face” which does not clearly display any of my inner turmoil. This means that instead of it just being obvious to my mum that I need help, I’m faced with the terrifying task of confessing my feelings to her. My mum and I are not friends, she is my parent and I am her child. This doesn’t necessarily mean we’re not close, but it does mean I have never found it easy to open up to her like I would a close friend. I find it difficult to articulate my thoughts alone, but to explain it to her seems almost impossible. I’m not sure where to begin. I have no one else to turn to as my father is not included in my life, it is just me and her in our household and I don’t have any other adults I trust with this sort of thing.
My avoidance of this task is one of the few things holding me back to what could possibly be a much better lifestyle. I am just incapable of helping myself, and my friend’s support and advice, while appreciated, hasn’t worked either. I hate being the way I am, and I desperately want to change. At the same time, I’d rather lay in bed and sulk my youth away. I have no faith in myself, no hope for the future and my behavior and thoughts make very little (if any) sense to me. I would really like to know how I can start this conversation, what I can do to provide evidence on my needs (since I worry mum will be in denial) and what to expect. Thanks a ton, if this ends up answered!
Thank you for writing. It’s the next step in taking care of yourself. The first step was talking to good friends who know you well and who gave you some good advice. The second step was acknowledging to yourself that you do need some help. Now it’s time to go forward with the next important step — talking to your mom.
I suggest you share your letter and this response with your mom. You did a fine job articulating your concerns and feelings. Wait for a moment when things are calm between you and you both have some uninterrupted time to talk. Then ask her to read the letter. Follow up with an honest explanation of how you are feeling and a request to see a mental health counselor for an evaluation.
A counselor will help you focus on ways that you can manage your feelings and develop the life skills you need to have the lifestyle you want. With your permission, the counselor will also include your mother in some sessions to help you be more comfortable talking with each other. This is especially important during the teen years while you are going through significant growth and changes.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
How Do I Tell My Mum I Need Help?
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). How Do I Tell My Mum I Need Help?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 14, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/09/24/how-do-i-tell-my-mum-i-need-help/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.