I'm a 16-year-old girl from England and I hate myself. I am getting treated for depression with anti-depressants but I cut myself and I hate everything about me. I see a counselor every two weeks but it doesn't help, her advice just isn't working. It's like everyone wants me to be "Miss happy - love yourself even though you're pathetic". I feel constantly patronized. I recently starting dating a guy and he's so nice but I'm suspicious of him and everyone.
I'm nervous and I'm just full of hatred. I just want to tear myself apart. Loads of rumors and gossip have been going around about me, and my boyfriend heard about them. Now I feel so ashamed even though I have done nothing wrong. I know he doesn't believe me. I sure he's using me because I don't know why else he'd date me. I'm sickening. I guess this isn't a question, but how do I change? How do I stop hating myself?
Suzi (16 year-old woman) from UK
I have all too many young people among my face-to-face clients who feel EXACTLY like you do. Some are boys, others girls. You are a complete stranger to me, but I do know these people very well.
My 17-year-old client Jim has attempted suicide several times. He walked in front of a car a couple of years ago. As a result, he now walks with a stick and is in constant pain. He was referred to me recently, after he overdosed on painkillers. Our first session was in hospital, where they'd pumped out his stomach. His liver is damaged, and from now on he can't drink any alcohol or take any painkillers with paracetamol or codeine in them.
How does Jim appear to me, after four intensive sessions?
He is a nice guy. He would NEVER do anything to harm anyone. He is very self-conscious, and not much of a conversationalist -- but then I was the same at his age. When I get his mind off his troubles, he is good company, enjoys a joke, very likeable.
He has very few friends. Why? Because when anyone tries to be friends with him, he thinks "They don't know me. If they did, they'd hate me." So, he keeps others at a distance out of fear, and they eventually respond to this and leave him alone. And this then confirms his view, that no one could possibly like him.
I detect something like this in your statement about your boyfriend.
Suzi, I am willing to bet a hundred quid that if I met you, I'd find you to be a delightful young woman. I am CERTAIN there are lots of people who genuinely and honestly think so.
The trouble is that YOU don't.
If your current therapist hasn't helped you, then you have the right to change to another one. Get a referral to someone using 'Narrative Therapy' or 'Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy'. If you want to know what these terms mean, go to http://anxietyanddepression-help.com/ and look them up.
Your destructive beliefs about yourself are trying to damage you, even kill you. DON'T LET THEM! Fight back!
I'll be thinking of you,