Things have been kind of bad for a couple months now. I have anxiety and depression, and have been working with different treatment options for a few years now, but sometimes it feels like everything slips and I fall back into it. That’s happening right now, and I’ve tried to get through it, but I’m not sure what else to do. I turn 18 today, and even that just feels like something else on the calendar to get through. Generally, I’m a pretty good student and a hard-worker. Right now my grades are falling and everything is piling up and I’m running out of time to make up for it. I got into a college that I’m actually looking forward to, but faculty members at school essentially tell me not to get my hopes up, because they’ll probably rescind my acceptance if I can’t get it together in the next month. I’ve been running on autopilot for so long I feel like I don’t know how to actually just ‘be’. There’s also family stress, but that’s more long term so I’ve kind of adjusted to it. Even so, sometimes it can be the one thing that just takes me under. Most of it is because I’m gay (I come from a religious family), and they spend a good bit of time trying to fix it and force other things on me. It wouldn’t bother me as much if I didn’t struggle with that anyway, but part of me just hates myself for it no matter what I hear from others or what I tell myself. I know things will be different in a few years, but it’s hard to see that when I’ve only ever lived like this. Sorry for being all over the place with this, but I appreciate you reading through it.
You are understandably feeling lost right now. A lot of things are happening in your life, and you mentioned that you have been struggling with anxiety and depression. Senior year is so incredibly stressful. You have worked hard to get good grades and have gotten into college, but the stress and workload continues unabated, and you don’t feel as if you have the time to just stop and breathe. In addition to everything else you are dealing with, your family has also become a huge source of stress, possibly due to a different belief system. It sounds as if, from what you are saying, that rather feeling supported by your family, they make you feel as if they are trying to change you, which is adding to your stress.
Dealing with stress, anxiety and depression all at once can be overwhelming, and it is even harder to deal with when there are differences in world view as well as communication challenges hindering you feeling supported by your family. All of this is difficult to deal with on your own. Please think about reaching out to an adult that you trust to ask for help and advice. If you can’t think of an adult at school, please reach out to an older relative or adult that you look up to. Also, think about finding support groups near you that you could join. TeenCentral.net has a list of state hotlines that you can call for advice and support. Considering reaching out to your State’s hotline to talk to someone about finding a place or person in your community that you can go to for help.
Try not to give up on finding a treatment solution for your anxiety and depression that works for you. Please do not be afraid to reach out to your physician or guidance counselor ask questions and keep seeking a treatment that is right for you. You may have to be more persistent, but your health is important.
Your family does love you and they are trying to do what they think is best. However, it’s not what’s best for you, and it’s hurting you. Consider talking to one or more of your family members to explain how you are feeling and ask them for their love and support while you struggle with your work, stress and anxiety and depression. Think about explaining that their words and actions are making you miserable.
You are a good person, who works hard and you deserve to be happy. Please try not to let other people tell you who you should be. Going off to college can help you to distance yourself from your family and help you to feel more confident and happy about your choices. Getting to the finish line senior year can be so tough, especially when it seems as if getting into college should be the last hurdle. Please try to take the time each day to do something that helps your recharge, physically, emotionally and mentally. Taking the time to support yourself and your needs is incredibly important.
Please stay strong and try to get your work done on time, knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it seems really hard to reach right now. Also, think about whether there is anyone at school you can go to for help with your workload. But always remember to also take the time to celebrate all your many accomplishments, no matter how big or small.
- Who are some people who you might be able to go to for help, who are about you and can listen to what you have to say?
- What are some places in your community you might be able to go to for help, support and advice?
- If you had a list of pros and cons of your current treatment options for your anxiety and depression, what would be on that list?
- If you did try to talk to a family member and tell them you are struggling and need support not condemnation, how do you think that they would respond?
- If you made a list of all the reasons why you should keep working hard to keep up with your work, what would be on the list?
- If you made a list of what you hope the benefits of going away to the college of your choice would be, what would be on the list?
- What are some things you like to do and always cheer you up?