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My Parents Don’t Believe that I Have a Mental Illness

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From a teen in Australia: When I was younger (from 6-9) I used to pretend to be sick a lot so I didn’t have to go to school or to seem different,

Now that I’m in my early teens I thought I had anxiety. I waited a few months and after a few minor anxiety attacks I told my parents and they just laughed and said that they highly doubt I have anxiety (my mother then later had anxiety attacks and acted like it was the worst thing to ever grace the earth, telling everyone and still refused to believe that I had anxiety)

now that I am in my late teens I believe that I may have depression, I don’t feel strongly connected to anyone anymore, I feel very isolated even when I’m in large groups at school or parties, I constantly feel like no one wants me around or i’m annoying everyone, I have trouble paying attention in conversations and I don’t have the energy to do anything anymore (it takes me a couple hours to fall asleep), I do not feel suicidal at all so i’m still hesitant on whether or not

I really do have depression, I waited a few months and tried talking to my parents again but they still think I’m just faking it or am over thinking this, am I? I don’t know how to talk to them about my mental health if they don’t believe me, I also cannot speak to our school counsellor about anything because they either only speak to people with diagnosed mental illnesses or can only speak about school-related issues like bullying.

My Parents Don’t Believe that I Have a Mental Illness

Answered by on -

A.

I would need much more information to give you a definite answer. Sadly, the at least part of the reason that you aren’t believed now is a result of pretending you were sick when you were younger. It’s a hard lesson in the long term consequences of lying. On the other hand, you were just a kid then. You shouldn’t be held accountable now for something you did 10 years ago.

I’m most concerned about your report that you aren’t sleeping. Yes, that can be a symptom of depression. But it can also be a cause of at least some of what you are feeling. A sleep disorder can have enormous impact on energy, mood, and the ability and willingness to interact with others. Keep a sleep log for a couple of weeks. If you aren’t getting an average of 6 – 9 hours of sleep per night, it’s likely that sleep deprivation is at least part of the problem.

I think your first step should be a talk with your medical doctor. Share what you have told me. Show him or her your sleep log. It is possible that there is a hormonal issue as well as a sleep issue. If so, you need treatment for those issues before deciding that you have a mental health diagnosis.

If your doctor thinks that you do have depression, he or she will also make an appropriate referral to a mental health professional for an evaluation. That will lead to a better conversation between you and your parents.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

My Parents Don’t Believe that I Have a Mental Illness

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). My Parents Don’t Believe that I Have a Mental Illness. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/10/16/my-parents-dont-believe-that-i-have-a-mental-illness/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 16 Oct 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.