Hey, my parents are really hard to get through to. When I was a little bit younger, I used to share more with them, but as I grow our relationship becomes more and more strained.
I have always struggled to fall and stay asleep. Even when I was in preschool, I would wake up with nightmares of my family and I dying in a house fire or me dying alone on a semi-regular basis. As I’ve become older I struggle to fall asleep enough to have or remember dreams (this will also affect my ability to maintain daytime memories, as well). I have had a few minorly traumatic incidents in my life, including having a trusted adult take their own life, a small car accident, and being hidden from my parents by my grandmother (she believes their parenting is awful and unfair to me and that she is in charge of fixing it). I have not ever talked to anyone like a psychiatrist or therapist about getting a diagnosis, but I and a few close friends believe that I likely have anxiety and insomnia linked to that.
Unfortunately, my parents are both strongly against the idea of mental illness or the idea that some mental problems can be helped with treatment. When I was in 6th or 7th grade I approached my father about getting a natural treatment that I had found with chamomile and melatonin. I was given a curt reply about the idiocy of people who believed they needed that and how I didn’t have any sleeping issues anyway. I have never talked to them about anxiety, which I discovered the existence of later. I have other problems like panic attacks or stress headaches, but my main issue is the insomnia.
I keep things to myself. I once kept a journal, but my parents discovered it and discussed everything I had said that upset them. I don’t journal or write down my thoughts day-to-day anymore for fear of them finding it and being angered by my thoughts, ideas, and problems. I pretend to sleep at night and go through everything in my head because that is the only way I feel safe. None of my family really knows me or are in a situation where they could help me out on this. Some major trust issues with adults have kept me from finding a grown up that I trust to help me, but I am trying. I have a few very close friends who I have been able to reach out to, but COVID has made it virtually impossible to be free of my parents enough to feel safe talking to them again (we don’t all go to the same school). I know that my issues need to be addressed and that my thoughts and feelings matter, but I don’t have a clue as where to start without my parents shutting the whole thing down or tearing my family apart.
- We are really grateful that you made the decision to share your story with the TeenCentral.com community. Although it can be hard to open up and trust others with what is happening in our lives, we completely agree that your thoughts and feelings matter! We encourage you to take some time to browse through the Stories on TeenCentral.com to see how other young people are tackling some of the same issues that you are facing.
- Although it may be tough to convince your parents of the importance of your mental health concerns, we hope that you are not discouraged from reaching out for help. Whenever you are feeling stressed, try texting “HELLO” to 741741 to reach somebody from the Crisis Textline to get some additional support. The awesome thing is that they are available 24 hours a day, so they could even help you during those nights when you are struggling to get a good night’s rest!
- We get that it can be difficult, but we are so glad that you are committed to identifying some trusted adults in your life who could offer you some additional support. Sometimes when we share our tough experiences with others, everyone tends to become overly focused on trying to “solve the problem.” Oftentimes, the real value in talking with somebody is just having a person who will listen to us without judgment. Perhaps thinking about simply finding somebody who can be available to hear what is happening in your life will help you feel a little more comfortable about opening up to adults.
- If we are not able to sleep restfully, it will be extremely challenging to be at our best for the remainder of our day. Have you ever heard of the idea of getting in synch with your natural Circadian Rhythm? The What’s New Blog of TeenCentral.com has a great post entitled “How to Sleep Better” with more information about the importance of sleep and ways that you can try to develop a routine to help you achieve the rest that you deserve!
- After your negative experience with the privacy of your journal being compromised, we can understand your hesitancy to use this type of tool as a means of self-expression. Instead of just waiting until nighttime to review your thoughts, have you ever considered using an art journal as an alternative? By drawing, painting, doodling, or creating collages, we oftentimes can achieve the same therapeutic value that a traditional journal offers, but in a way that may be a little less obvious to others. Check out the post entitled “Art as a Coping Skill for Stress” on the What’s New Blog for more tips on how to get started!
- Are you able to identify your body’s warning signs that you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed? If so, what are the coping skills and calming techniques that you can use to relax and feel a little more prepared to confront these tough moments? If you want some additional tips on how to try to address some of the issues you have identified, try checking out the sections about Anxiety and Relaxation on the Learn Tab of TeenCentral.com.