Ask Julie: Depression, ADHD, Self-injury, & No One Cares
Q: Hello, I am a 16 year old Sophomore in high school. For the past 5 years I have struggled with addiction to self injury, depression and ADHD.
My parents refuse too believe anything is wrong with me and every day scream at me and break things as well as insult me about how useless I am and how I am always ruining their lives! My friends all say that I’m amazing and such a good friend but I have a hard time believing them when my OWN parents seem to hate me…My grades have gotten a lot worse because my parents deny that I am ADHD even though my doctor has said I need therapy and medication.
I failed three of my classes and the fights and insults got worse, my parents took away nearly everything I had and I almost committed suicide twice, My doctor finally told my mother I NEED to get therapy so she did reluctant, and told me the entire way about what a failure I am.
I went to therapy for about 3 months and stopped, my therapist was ignorant and treated me like a little kid. She blew off how I was upset about my parents and my hair falling out due too PCOS and being diabetic. I hate my parents but I love them at the same time… they always yell at me and get angry and things I don’t do and forget… I have ADHD and it’s not my fault! but they just yell a me about how I use it as a crutch. Right now I am not allowed to go out with friends and am constantly threatened that if I don’t start getting straight A’s they will take away my desktop and my books… I’m scared because I just keep hating myself even more! I can’t sleep at night and I can’t concentrate in school, I keep having mental break downs and freaking out and am nearly ready to start cutting again because it makes me feel amazing, I’m scared but my parents don’t care! I’m tired of working my butt off just to get yelled at and I really don’t know what to do anymore…. My school even won’t do anything when I talked to my teachers, I am really lost.
A: Thanks for reaching out for help to figure out how to manage your feelings of loneliness and hopelessness and stop your self-destructive behavior.
It’s not uncommon for adolescents to love and hate their parents at the same time when they feel invalidated or misunderstood. It sounds like you and your parents aren’t sure how to help you. My guess is that they’re very scared and are trying to motivate you by grounding you from friends and threatening to take away privileges, which in turn makes you feel punished and hopeless.
Don’t let the fact that you didn’t connect with your therapist before discourage you from seeking therapy again. If you don’t want to go back to the therapist you’ve seen previously, ask your mom, your physician, or a school counselor to help you find another therapist who you feel more comfortable with. Self-injury, suicide attempts and failing grades are all signs that you need professional help as soon as possible. Please don’t wait. To find specific therapists in your area, please click the Find Help link at the top of this page.
In addition to individual therapy, I highly recommend family therapy. Your family can learn new ways of relating with each other and dealing with conflict, and healthier ways to manage emotions. The therapist can also help your parents learn options to support and motivate you other than putdowns and punishments, and can help you understand and express your deeper feelings and needs to your parents in a way that your parents are more likely to hear.
It sounds like you’re trying to tell your parents, through your symptoms, that you’re in a lot of emotional pain, and instead of hearing your pain they’re seeing your choices as “bad behavior” instead of as a desperate cry for help. A family therapist can help you and your parents understand what’s going on below the surface for you, and help you understand your parents’ fears and intentions. The fact that your mom was willing to take you to therapy before is a sign that she recognizes that therapy can be valuable, and that is a good sign. Please talk to her and get the help you need as soon as possible.
Take good care of yourself.
Originally appeared in my PsychCentral.com column
Dynamic self & relationship expert Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW loves to make a difference for women. She owns Wasatch Family Therapy and regularly contributes to KSL TV's Studio 5, and her advice has been featured nationally including Wall Street Journal, Parenting, Fox News, and others. Connect on Facebook & Twitter. Her books The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide are now available.