I’ve recently been feeling really overwhelmed and just overall down especially about myself. Anytime anyone says a bad thing about me, I feel insanely guilty and burst into tears either right there or later by myself. I’m constantly worrying about everything even if I have no control over it and tonight, I cut myself. I’d thought about it for a while, but tonight was the first time I actually did it and, to be honest, it felt good. I’m worried, but I don’t want tell my mom. She’s always stressed and has to deal with my two brothers who both have issues and are seeing therapists which are expensive and we don’t have a lot of money. My mom is also seeing a therapist. In my personal life, my dad’s getting remarried to an uber-Catholic woman (I’m agnostic, leaning towards atheist and both of my brothers are atheist) with four other children! We’ve recently moved into their house and now my mom is suing for full custody, so they’re fighting even more. I’m in a rigorous school program and I am constantly worrying about grades and whether I’ve turned in my work even though I know I did. I just don’t know what to do anymore.
The prospect of moving into a new home with your soon-to-be stepmother and her four sons sounds stressful. Your parents are involved in a custody battle, and both of your brothers and your mother are struggling with their own problems. No wonder you’re stressed. That is a lot for anyone to handle.
Everyone experiences life stresses. What’s most important is how one handles these stresses. What seems to be lacking in your life is guidance about handling stress. Without guidance, you have resorted to cutting. The proper guidance, via mental health treatment, can help you to solve this problem.
People sometimes cut themselves when they are overwhelmed with painful or strong emotions. Though it might provide a temporary reprieve it provides no real benefit to your life. If you stop and think about it, cutting is literal self-destruction. You are physically slashing your body in an effort to ease your emotional pain. Under no circumstances is it healthy or necessary to harm yourself in order to feel better.
You can feel better without cutting.
There are many ways to decrease painful emotions that don’t involve self-harm. These include journaling, engaging in physical activity, playing with a pet, talking with friends, among many other activities. These are not replacements for mental health treatment but can serve as healthy outlets for stress reduction.
Don’t be afraid to tell your mother about these issues. Ask her to assist you in finding a counselor. You should have access to the same types of services that the rest of your family has. You deserve help, too. Counseling is the ideal place to learn healthy coping strategies. They will help you during stressful times, now and in the future. I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle