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August 18, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Mental Health

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Time Bomb

Question:

Lately I've felt very alone and that no one completely relates to or understands me. My father killed himself when I was very young, and a few years ago I became very suicidal - both attempting with sleeping pills and writing essays about it. One day a teacher happened upon one of the essays and sent it to my counselor who called my mom suggesting I go to a group therapy class. I refused this treatment saying that the essay what the essay talked about was "just a phase that I was going through" and that I was fine. But I'm not, and I know it.

When what would be little things, such as break-ups, to other people are what crash my world. If someone is mean or acts without respect for me I take it as a direct insult and it makes me feel like everyone hates me. While on the phone recently I tried cluing my boyfreind in on how I was feeling, but when he displayed any sort of caring reaction I hung up on him. I have retreated like this many times saying that nothing is wrong, keeping my true thoughts and feelings to myself only to be let out when I cry and yell them out at myself in the privacy of my room. When I purge these feelings I get very depressed and that is when I become suicidal. It's like another person is controlling what I'm saying.

I know that EVERYONE doesn't hate me, that I'm not too bad a person or terribly ugly, but during these times when my emotions are running high, I scream and cry telling myself over and over I'm ugly, that I don't deserve my friends, and that I'm a terrible person, and I cry myself to sleep. When I wake up in the morning I feel fine. But when my feelings are getting close to the point of explosion I feel like a timebomb. I can't have heavy conversations with my freinds, or when I do I end up lying about how I really feel and I act out on them by ignoring them or getting angry at them for no apparent reason at all. What will start out as joking around or acting I will turn into "real" anger.

I feel like a time bomb. When my feelings are building inside of me I can't have heavy conversations with my friends, and when I do I end up lying about how I really feel and I act out on them by ignoring them or getting angry at them for no apparent reason at all. My brain hasn't been working to what I think is it's full potential, either. I know I have low self-esteem and have been told so many times before, but it feels like something else is really wrong with me. What is wrong with me, and what can I do to make the other part of me want help like the rest of me does?

18 year-old woman

Answer:

I wonder why you keep turning down caring and love in your life? Why it even infuriates you sometimes, like with your boyfriend... and why you haven't gone to a therapist yet even though you clearly know that you had to lie your way out of it in the past (the essay)...?

You didn't really say much about how you were taken care of by your parents, but of course the fact that your father killed himself says a whole lot. When someone tells me that they get furious whenever someone shows that they care, I ask them: "So who was it in your life who hurt you terribly when they were being caring, or when they at least should have been caring toward you...?"

In your case at least one of these people is known. Your father. It was his job to take care of you, and he left you instead. You might fully understand as an adult that he did this out of his own reasons and complex issues, but as a child all you knew is that someone who should have taken care of you abandoned you at a young age when you needed them. Depending on how old you were when he did this, you might even have blamed yourself. (Kids tend to blame themselves for nearly everything, because they are so centered on themselves that they actually believe they are both the cause and the effect of everything around them!)

Even though caring infuriates you, you need it a lot! We all do, of course, but you definitely need someone to help you fight these horrible name-calling sessions you put yourself through. The "purging" you refer to is more like a ritual of self-loathing.... and of course you feel bad afterwards! If you would allow yourself to put just as much energy into directing your anger at others, especially people who hurt you when you were very young - even if you did it alone in your room the way you do these other things - you would almost certainly feel quite good afterwards.

You definitely seem to be depressed. And I want you to understand that depression is almost always a cover for anger - and that when we think we hate ourselves we are actually showing that we have a lot of anger at others. Anger is an "external" emotion, not an internal one. While we can "think" that we are angry at ourselves, we really never are! Anger is always about someone else or some thing else, not about ourselves.

Now I want to talk to you very directly about suicide. I want to give you a statement - called a "no suicide contract" - that I want you to read very, very closely. Here it is: "I will never, under any circumstances - on purpose or by accident, by doing something or by failing to do something - kill myself! And if I ever figure a clever way out of this contract I'm making with myself, I will not take it."

You need to make such an air-tight contract with yourself soon. You've sort of got the cart before the horse because you are wanting your daily life to get better BEFORE you make this kind of an agreement with yourself - but the truth is that we all need to give ourselves a guarantee that we will never kill ourselves BEFORE our lives can improve very much at all!

Think about it this way. You've been walking around all these years with someone who is threatening to kill you! (That's YOU!) How good of a life do you think I could have if I had someone with me 24 hours every day who said "Maybe some day, if things don't go well, I will kill you!"???

You will actually find that when you get yourself to the point of really MEANING every word in the no-suicide contract, your life will almost automatically improve in the months after that. You may feel really light-headed and maybe even a bit confused the day you make the contract with yourself (from a newfound sense of freedom that you aren't at all used to...), but in the days and months that follow you will see a lot of positive changes in your daily life. I want you to know that these good things are LIKELY to happen although they are not guaranteed, and I also want to remind you that your contract with yourself needs to mean that even if things don't go better and even if they actually go badly in your life you still won't commit suicide!

There is a lot of information for you at my "Self-Therapy" site about depression. I hope you'll read this information and that you'll write back to me about what you think about what you read, etc.

By the way, it's a good idea for absolutely everyone to make that no-suicide contract. Most of the people who haven't made this kind of agreement with themselves are very unhappy, even though very, very few of them would actually end up killing themselves. We all need to know at the very least that we value ourselves enough to never, ever kill ourselves!

Thanks for writing and for this chance to help!

I sincerely hope you will use my comments as a guide of some sort for you as you pursue therapy with a competent therapist. (Remember, if the first therapist doesn't feel right for you, you may need to try another one until you find one that does feel right. Therapists come in many personality types and we all are a good "match" only for some percentage of the people we meet. It's your job to figure out who you match with and who you don't.)

Hope you'll keep in touch!

Tony Schirtzinger

This question was answered by Tony Schirtzinger.

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