I’m a 15-year-old female. The past 6 months of my school life and sleep schedule have been deteriorating to me physically, but recently it seems like my emotions have been going haywire too. I used to get 8-9 hours of sleep nightly, but have now gotten 4-5 hours of sleep for the past 5 months and have been holed up in my room doing homework more than ever.
I get irritated with everyone much more easily, and find myself sighing and glaring at everyone and everything. I didn’t tell my friends because I don’t want them to be worried about me either. I think of death almost constantly, and it happens out of nowhere. I’m afraid of death, but have had increasing thoughts of killing myself and how I could do it. I don’t believe I’d act on it, but I still get scared. I haven’t self harmed since I’m too afraid to hurt myself either.
My (12 yrs divorced) parents believe I’m overreacting, and refuse to take me to a therapist or mental health professional. (one of them has bipolar disorder and extreme anger management issues too) I have no money to take myself or get a proper evaluation.
Am I overreacting about this?
You’re not overreacting. Whenever you think something may be wrong, you should take action. Not everyone does, but they should and your instinct to ask for help is a very good one.
Part of why you may be feeling more irritable is a lack of sleep. People are more irritable and emotional when they do not receive the proper amount of sleep. As a teenager, ideally, you should be receiving a minimum of nine hours of sleep. If you’re not getting the amount of sleep you need, you will be less sharp, and more emotional and irritable.
What’s most concerning are your thoughts of suicide. Suicidal ideation is not necessarily a side effect of lack of sleep. It may be exacerbated by a lack of sleep, but it is not generally caused by it. It might suggest that something else is wrong such as depression.
Because your parents are reluctant to take you to a therapist, one way around this may be to consult your school guidance counselor or another trusted faculty member. The more direct you are with them, the more they will be able to assist you. They may also be able to speak to your parents on your behalf and convince them that mental health treatment is the solution to this problem.
It’s good that you are proactive and are attempting to seek treatment. The school guidance counselor will likely be able to assist you with this problem. If not, and you are still thinking about suicide, do not hesitate to contact emergency services. The phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. The crisis text line information is the following: text HOME to 741741 in the United States. They will know how to keep you safe. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle