I’m 15 and am haunted by the question if I am wasting my life. I often question what the hell I am doing, but then I feel like physically hurting myself because I strongly wish I could disappear. My father is an alcoholic and has always been for what I can remember. My mother is a lying, irresponsible woman who abandoned her three children for other men and would come crawling back to my father once they had left her. My father has been emotionally and physically abusive to all three of his children and my mother. My parents do not know of certain traumatizing events that I experienced. My mother is currently living thirty minutes away from me and my family, with her ten month year old son and boyfriend. I see her about every three weeks and again and again only receive disappointment from her. When I was younger, my mother tried to overdose in front of me and she then and now takes medicine for her anxiety. At age 11, I began to cut myself and it is still something I struggle with today, and I am now nearly 16. I was diagnosed with Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder and though in the past two years have deeply contemplated killing myself, I am still here trying to be more than what ever my parents are. I write nearly everyday and work about three days a week to distract myself from the pathetic issues of my parents who try to blame their current suffering on their children. I have a deep, deep hatred for myself. I used to starve myself and still have a distorted vision of my body that haunts me everyday. My anxiety is slowly eating the only sanity I have left, and I do not feel as if I have the energy to fight back anymore. I feel as if I am fighting within myself. One part of me plays the victim, if that makes any sense, and only thinks about how this is all unfair and the other part of me questions my emotions and I tell myself I am only exaggerating. I feel as if I have a hole in my heart and such a lack of love and attention in my life and try to fill it with substances that I have experienced – alcohol, drugs, and I let married men at my work touch me and speak to me because I am taking anything to fill the vacant hole in my heart and soul. I am running out of options and nothing and no one is making me feel any better, and I hate myself for saying that because I know I am the only one able to fix my life, but then again, I feel so alone and need someone, something, anything. (age 15, from US)
I’m sorry that life has been so difficult for you so far, and I know it sounds cliché, but please don’t give up hope — because your life is only beginning. You can’t help what you have been exposed to so far, but you will soon be an adult and fully in control of your own life. I’m assuming that you are in therapy or on medication since you mentioned being diagnosed with depression and anxiety. If for some reason you are not currently seeing a therapist, please do so. With all that you’ve been through, you need some help navigating the next few years. You also need to focus on healthy ways of coping. You’ve been hurt enough, why hurt yourself even more with the cutting, starving and substance use?
I think it’s great that you are working but it is NOT ok to let adult men touch you at work. It might be time to find a new job and start fresh. Since life has been so negative, you also need to try hard to create the opposite and you do this by putting yourself in positive situations and by surrounding yourself with positive people. Some examples might be the local Alateen program or a sports league, or you could volunteer at an animal shelter, tutor elementary school children or find another agency of interest to you. It can be very healing to give to others in need. Many times, we get more than we give.
Finally, it is not ok for either of your parents to abuse you emotionally, physically or sexually (or anyone else for that matter). If it happens again, or if you don’t feel safe, please talk to an adult who can help. You can speak with your therapist, a teacher or school counselor or you can call your local child protection agency directly.
It really does get better than this. Please give yourself a chance to find out.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts