I used to always just joke about being depressed and hating life, but in the past few months (sparked by bad arguments with my mom, having to put down the dog I’ve had and loved for nearly 12 years, and getting put into a class with a very bad teacher in school), I’ve been getting worse and everything I never dreamed I would actually do/feel/think is becoming a reality. I’ve been thinking about self-harm even though I’ve always found it ridiculous, and my mental breakdowns have been occurring more and more often. I’m more prone to crying out of nowhere or at the slightest mention of something even remotely upsetting to me. I’ve been in two relationships and both of them were terrible, one partner forcing me into sexual activities, and one partner leaving me for someone else while blaming me for the relationship failing.
My mom has been switching between being nice to me, ridiculing me, and ignoring me. It makes my already low self-esteem drop even more, and at this point, I’ve learned to ignore her, but It’s still difficult sometimes to tone out her words. My teacher at school doesn’t teach the material but expects us to know how to do it on his level even though we’re beginners (AP Language). He gives everyone bad grades all the time and never praises us when we do good. His lectures to the class are no better than saying we all are terrible students and should be receiving even lower grades. He makes me feel unwanted and going to his class makes me really anxious. I’m currently trying to drop it, but my principal won’t return my emails regarding it.
I want to get help, but the other part of me feels like I don’t deserve it. I’ve been surprising myself when it comes to controlling the urges to harm myself or worse, but the urges have been getting more tempting as of late. I haven’t really been feeling any positive emotions lately, but whenever other people are around I subconsciously smile, even when I don’t want to. I hate the way I am now, and I want to get better, but I also don’t want to cause anyone trouble.
You’ve been going through some rough times lately. As you have described, you’ve been arguing with your mother, you lost a pet and you’re dealing with a bad teacher. When people have bad things happen to them, they have reactions. Reactions to events are normal. What’s worrisome, is how you are reacting.
Your reaction is to consider self-harm. The idea of seeking help appeals to you however, you don’t think you deserve to be helped. Your judgment that you don’t deserve to be helped is another form of self-harm. It’s another way to punish yourself. It suggests that you believe that you are not worthy of being helped. These may be signs of depression or low self-esteem, or both.
People who are oriented towards self-harm and self-punishment often don’t think highly of themselves. Some people even say that the act of self-harm makes them feel better. They might think they are to blame for whatever is happening in their lives and thus deserve to suffer. That line of thinking is not healthy or realistic.
You don’t deserve punishment. You didn’t do anything wrong. You are worthy and deserving of help. Please don’t think otherwise. That is an untrue narrative that you have created about yourself. It needs to be corrected.
That is exactly the type of thinking that could be effectively addressed in counseling. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling that assesses one’s thoughts and determines if they are correct. The thoughts which are incorrect and inconsistent with reality are eliminated and replaced with more realistic and logical thoughts.
I would encourage you to ask your mother to assist you in finding a therapist. It would be tremendously helpful. You might also involve her in the counseling sessions. It might help the two of you to get along better. If she’s unwilling to help, speak to the school guidance counselor or another trusted faculty member at your school. They can help you.
One final thing, you mentioned having a problem with the teacher and that the principal won’t return your emails. Don’t wait for a written response. Go directly to his office and speak to him in person. Having an in-person meeting is much more effective than an email. Also, it’s unlikely that you’re the only student with complaints about this teacher. If he’s given everyone bad grades, then other people are unhappy too. Thanks for your question. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle