Hello it’s been a while (like since early 2020). I used to write to you ALOT. And I want you to know your replies keep me alive and helped me a lot through a really tough time. I don’t know if it’s the same people who responded, but THANK YOU.
When I was 10 or 11 I used to write almost every week. I lived in the UK in a slightly abusive household with homophobic parents. I was the best in class at almost everything, but when it came to secondary I was home schooled. I had no friends and was so lonely. My only friend was my cousin. My mum (who was supposed to teach me) basically neglected me and I forgot almost all the basics. This did ALOT of damage to my mental health. And then my grandfather got sick, very sick. Seeing him like that made me worry so much. And he had to stay in the hospital. Then corona virus… And I never got to say goodbye to him. Idk if you remember me saying, but I felt really guilty about never seeing him before he died. I put it off because seeing him sick made me upset. And I’ve regretted it since. After that I spoke to my parents about my mental health. And they basically put it off and said I have ‘anxiety, that’s all.’
One day when I was on my phone, my parents asked to use it and I gave it to them. Then they saw I has a lockscreen of adora and catra (2 lesbians from a TV show) kissing. My dad got so mad and said if I were gay he wouldn’t accept me into the family. It was basically him telling me he would kick me out one day. I began self harming mid lock down, and my mum didn’t help ONE BIT! She decided I was doing it for attention and called my dad. He said I was ‘turning into one of those people.’
I used to be good at SO MANY THINGS! I could sing the highest note and I even taught my sister gymnastics. Now I can’t sing anything since I got a deeper voice and I got a knee problem and I can’t risk doing gymnastics. I feel worthless! And the one thing I love, acting, my parents won’t let me do.
(I’m sorry idk why, but this sounds like I’m writing a story)
That’s when my parents downloaded family link to control my phone and I had to stop using this website. Now I’ve moved to Africa with my parents (which they had planned for a long time) and I’ve never felt so alone. I’m not in school here, and my parents don’t teach me. I have no friends, and my parents argue so much.
They argue to the point there I had to run outside the house late at night. My dad was about to beat up my mom. I was so scared and I want to die just thinking about it. What if he tries to beat me up when I come out (as bisexual) to him? Since then my mom and dad went back to being a normal couple, which DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE!
Back in London my parents put me in acting classes since it’s my dream job. Now they’ve decided that it’s too ‘dangerous’ to be an actor and I have to work in the family business. I’m absolutely miserable. As I said, my cousin is my only friend. We used to talk too much, but my parents cut me off from talking to people since we arrived in Africa. I’ve never felt so alone.
At this point I don’t even care anymore. Its 3:42 am and I was crying for the past hour because I had forgotten the name of this website! I’m SO GLAD I FOUND IT! As I said it’s the only thing I have right now. I still have the family link app on my phone so I can’t use incognito mode. So if my parents see my search history (which I can’t delete) they’ll see this too. Doesn’t matter to me because I don’t really want to live anymore. There isn’t any point since I’m alone anyways. That’s how I feel. I tried not to, but I cut my arm again. My parents told me they would rather send me back to London to live with my grandma because I’m being ungrateful. Yet they say they love me…
I know this probably doesn’t sound believable. Maybe that’s because I’ve left out a lot. I feel like my problems are so HUGE. But when I talk about them or write them down it seems like nothing. I don’t even know what this is. If I’m just sad, or if I have depression. I feel like I’m faking it and I don’t want to do that because some people have real problems.
I also forgot to say that my parents are Christian and so is my step brother. He was always singing Christian songs and playing them on his guitar. My dad is overly Christian too. He seems like one of the kindest people you’d ever meet. One day he forced me to kiss him on the lips repeatedly. I told my parents and they basically told him off and didn’t do anything else.
I’m in Africa where I am now. My younger sister told me that he did the same thing to her. I was disgusted at him.
Then my dad tried to kill my mom after an argument… That’s why I’m not Christian anymore. Christians are HYPOCRITES! They preach about love and do things like that.
Whenever I’m surrounded by men my legs start to shake and I feel like I’m about to vomit. I get so scared. Do you know why that happened? Because I know I’m scared, but it only happens when I’m around men and not when I’m scared in other times.
I forgot to tell you that, so I hope it helps to understand my story a bit. Thanks for reading and I understand if you think I’m making it up. I don’t even know?
HERE’S WHAT TO DO FIRST
- We are so glad to hear back from you and learn more about what has been happening in your life. We are really glad that the Teen Central community has helped you in the past, and we hope that we can continue to be a support for you. Please remember that wherever you go, you do not have to tackle all of these problems on your own!
- Moving to a new location can be very overwhelming and disorienting. We can only imagine that it is even more challenging when you are now living on an entirely new continent! Still, remember that no matter where you are living, your safety, both physical and emotional, is your number one priority! If you are ever in a life-threatening situation, you should contact your local authorities to get immediate help. Wherever you are living in Africa, please make sure that you learn how to reach emergency services such as the police, firefighters, and your nearest hospital. This may help you to feel a little more at ease knowing that there are people who could help if you ever need it!
- Whenever we feel all alone, our problems can feel almost TOO big to manage! If we can find ways to share some of this burden, even if we can just talk about our lives with somebody else, we often start to feel a little more relieved and much less stressed. Try checking out the article entitled “Helplines, Suicide Hotlines, and Crisis-Lines from Around the World” to identify a resource in your new location that you can access to get in touch with somebody who cares. One of our favorite supports is the Crisis Textline (crisistextline.org), especially since you can contact them internationally via Facebook Messenger!
- We are so glad that you made the brave decision to share some of your mental health issues with your parents. Although they may not have responded in the most supportive fashion, we are proud that you have tried to help them understand your thoughts and feelings about the many changes that have been happening in your life. Even if your parents do discover that you have been posting to Teen Central again, perhaps it will be another opportunity for you to start a conversation about how they could help you manage some of your stress.
WHEN YOU ARE READY
- When you mentioned your leg shaking and feeling nauseous when you are around men, it sounds like you could be having a bodily reaction to a past trauma. Given some of your negative interactions with your dad and step-brother, it would not be surprising that being near men may make you feel more stressed. In the TOOLS section, there is a Weekly Mood Tracker that you can use to better identify if there are certain people, places, or situations that seem to trigger some of these negative reactions. The chart can also help you to reflect each day on anything positive that may be happening as you continue to transition to living in your new environment.
- When you wrote that other people have real problems, it almost seemed like you dismissed your situation as being invented or not worthy of attention. Especially when we are dealing with some ongoing issues that are part of our everyday routine, we can start to normalize our situation and think that we may be making a big deal out of nothing. Remember that everyone is on their own unique mental health journey and we each need to take care of ourselves every single day! The What’s New Blog has an article about strengthening your mental wellness that includes some great tips on simple things that you can do to make it easier to manage your very real stresses.
- It seems like you are feeling a little disconnected from the hobbies and activities that you used to enjoy. Instead of focusing on what you may not be able to achieve, perhaps you can try to identify some new talents to develop? Although you may not recognize it, you are clearly a talented writer! Perhaps writing – whether on Teen Central, in a journal, or even creative expression (maybe you could be a future playwright?) – may be the thing that allows you to explore a new interest? Writing also offers the added benefit of allowing you an opportunity to express your thoughts and feelings in a healthy format that may help you to feel a little more at peace with your current situation!