I’m 15 and struggle with depression; its become an issue thats affecting my performance in school& ability to function properly. My parents are divorced but I have no choice but for there to be more of my mom’s time & she has more control over my life in general. a few months ago i tried to talk to her about the fact that im depressed and most likely need medical attention, she dismissed it as me just being a lazy hormonal teenager who feels sorry for myself. i said i needed therapy and she said i need to solve my own problems and not rely on a therapist. even if its not a case of mental illness i have no way of knowing this because i cannot get help. its taken a horrible toll on my grades and the only thing keeping me from considering the possibility of suicide is that i have friends who need me. i feel like i cant go on much longer and i have no way of finding out if i need medical attention let alone getting any. my dad would be more understanding but he doesnt have much control and i really feel like i cannot go on much longer without therapy or medication which i cant get. please help.
I am sorry that this is happening to you. I get letters from teenagers who are in similar predicaments. They ask their parents for help but are disappointed when they don’t get what they need. There are other things to try. Suicide is never the answer because once you are dead, you will not be around to enjoy the good things that will occur, when your life turns around, and it will turn around. Psychological studies show that to be true. Survivors of suicide attempts, are in general, glad that they failed at suicide. Again, psychological studies, case histories, show this to be true.
You can do several things. Speak to the school counselor or another trusted faculty member. Tell them what’s going on. They can also speak to your parents about the importance of mental health treatment. Even if your parents are not willing to listen, the school counselor can provide direct and immediate assistance to you. They are trained professionals and know how to help.
Another idea is to show this letter to your parents. It might help them to understand how you are feeling. It might underscore your desire for wanting help and force them to take your concerns seriously.
Are there other adults in your life who can help? Is there an uncle or a parent of a friend with whom you can speak about these issues? If so, they might have better luck in convincing your parents to take you to treatment. Mental health treatment is what you need at this time.
Sometimes, parents forget how difficult it can be to be a teenager. They might think (or hope) it’s “just a phase.” Perhaps they don’t know how to acquire mental health treatment for you or fear they cannot afford it. In any event, the ideas above might be enough to convince them of the seriousness of your suffering.
In the meantime, if you feel that you might harm yourself, call 911 or go to the emergency room. They will help you to access mental health treatment and prevent you from harming yourself. They will ensure your safety. Good luck and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle