I am sorry that you are experiencing a difficult situation. You want help but you don’t know how you can get it. You asked your mother to take you to treatment and she refused. I can understand why you feel miserable.
You described having difficulty with social interaction for most of your life. You also described some repetitive behavior, which you identified as echolalia. I wonder if you have ever been evaluated for a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). One type of PDD that may match some of your experiences is Asperger’s disorder.
Asperger’s disorder is considered a mild form of autism. The hallmark feature of the disorder is severe and sustained impairment in social interaction. Other diagnostic features of Asperger’s disorder include:
- Development of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests and activities. These disturbances, according to the DSM-IV, would cause clinically significant impairment in social and occupational areas of functioning.
- Possible failure to develop peer relationships and appropriate developmental levels.
- Lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests or achievements with other people.
- Lack of social or emotional reciprocity.
- Problems with nonverbal behavior such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expressions, body postures or other gestures that may interfere with social interaction.
- Inflexible adherence to routines or rituals.
- Stereotyped repetitive motor mannerisms (hand or finger flapping).
- Above average intelligence.
Several aspects of your letter led me to believe that Asperger’s disorder may be a possibility including: repeating what others said (as a child), picking at dead skin (as a child; now hair pulling as an adult), difficulty with social interaction and above average intelligence. Again, please understand that I cannot diagnose you over the Internet. You may not have this or any disorder. The only way to know for certain what, if any, disorder you may have is to be evaluated by a trained mental health professional.
Here is what I would suggest that you do. If your mother is not willing to take you to treatment then speak to someone at your school who may be able to help. This may include a school guidance counselor, a principal, a teacher or the school nurse. You can also ask a trusted family member for help.
My two main concerns about your situation are that you have attempted suicide in the past and your mother is unwilling to help you seek treatment. If she is not willing to help you seek treatment, you should try to access it for yourself. This is not an ideal solution but it may be necessary. Your goal should be to find a mental health worker or therapist who can help and support you. I would strongly encourage you to reach out as soon as possible for help. Please do not give up until you find someone who will help you.
Asking for help from a school counselor is free. Community mental health centers also offer free and low-cost services to individuals on a fixed income. There are inexpensive ways to access treatment.
One phone number you should have in your possession is the national suicide hotline, 800-273-8255. If you’re feeling upset call this number and speak to a professional counselor.
If you’re feeling suicidal go to the hospital immediately, no matter what your mother says. I understand that she is religious and believes in the power of God. Faith in God can greatly enhance one’s life and personal well-being but after all God created many therapists of various kinds. Mental health symptoms should be treated by mental health professionals.
Please do not hesitate to ask for help. Thank you for your question. I wish you the best of luck.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on May 19, 2010.