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What Can I Do to Help Myself?

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From a teen in the U.S.: Thank you so, so much for reading all of this. I’m not at a very good place right now. I get my schoolwork done when I have to, but I waste a lot of time writing poetry because it’s the only place I express my thoughts. I’ve forgotten how to do anything but smile; I feel like I have to act happy and be there for other people all the time. I’m a bit of a hypocrite because I always advise my friends that their own health should come first, but I don’t believe it myself. What I do believe is that I only matter based on what I give to humanity. I just can’t convince myself that that’s not true. I’m so tired, but I sort of like it because it makes me feel like I’m doing enough.

I can think about things like space and nature and feel awed and appreciative that I’m here, but I’m never just happy. Though I don’t want this to happen, but my thoughts keep talking about death and suicide. I have so little emotional response to these thoughts that, if I wasn’t in control of myself all the time, I could see it happening.

My mom can’t handle this right now because my grandma’s terminally ill. I’ve talked to one of my best friends about it, and she’s watching out for me, but she’s started matching my behaviors. I can’t go to my school’s therapist because my family has a history with her from when my dad died and I really need an impartial voice from someone who doesn’t know me and also so I can make sure this won’t get back to my family.That’s part of the reason I’m excited for college next year, so I can go see the therapist there. My question is, in the meantime, what can I do to keep myself safe and as happy as possible?

What Can I Do to Help Myself?

Answered by on -


Thank you for writing. Managing your life right now may be more difficult than you are giving yourself credit for. Your grandmother is very ill, which may be bringing up unfinished grieving about your dad. Your mother is overwhelmed so you don’t have her support. You have reasons to be unhappy.

I’m glad you have writing as an outlet and that you have such a supportive friend. I’m sorry you don’t feel you can talk with your school counselor. I only remind you that counselors are usually pretty good at separating out history from the present.

If you find you really can’t use that resource, then I suggest you call the Boys Town hotline and talk to a counselor there (1-800-448-3000). The Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and staffed by specially trained Boys Town counselors. The service is free and confidential. Don’t be put off by the name. The counselors talk to girls, too.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

What Can I Do to Help Myself?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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). What Can I Do to Help Myself?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 19 Jan 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.