"Dear Carol, I think I might be depressed"
I feel like I’m on a cliff and I’m being pushed to the edge. I’m 13 and find it hard to enjoy being a teenager. Really. My parents are divorced. My grades are bad. I have no real friends. And I feel as though my world is falling apart.
I also cry a lot—what’s up with that? Sometimes I lose sleep and go for days without eating. I feel like sometimes I want to die and be free of the world.
I know you may think I’m stupid and crazy. I have a counselor, but I don’t really want to tell her what’s going on.
I don’t think you are stupid and crazy. I think you are having a tough time, and it’s hard to turn things around when you are feeling lower than lousy. Since you have a counselor, can you try harder to open up to her? (Or find a different counselor?) Believe me, counselors have heard it before—they spend their days listening to people in pain. They won’t think, “She’s nuts-what a whiner!” They’ll think, “How can I help?” and then will help. Just talking it out helps. Can you try to talk to a parent or teacher?
You mention getting free of this world, but suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems, and you want to change your life, not end your life. You want to find your place in the world, not free yourself of it. How? Can you pull up your grades in at least one course? Can you introduce yourself and confide in and listen to one new person, possibly someone whose parents are also divorced? Can you join one after-school group? Can you promise yourself (and me) that you won’t skip meals but will take care of yourself? A few months (or weeks or days) or even once measly unexpected smile really can make a difference. You are more resilient than you think.
READ THIS: 5 ways to deal when you're feeling depressed
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