Wanting to Die


Wanting to Die


your avatar   Kyle, 16 year old man


I'm a 16 year old boy who gets depressed when something seems out of the ordinary. I recently made a promise to my good friend that I would stop cutting myself because I hurt the people around me, but have found myself wanting to cut myself anyway. I have actually made this promise to a good friend, and to the girl that I am in love with.

When she is in an angry state, I start to think that I've done something wrong, and then come up with all these reasons why she should hate me, and find myself pushing her away. I AM in LOVE with this girl and can find no reason why I feel this way. She is so wonderful and special to me, I have no reason not to like her. She also likes to cut herself. We did not get this from one another; we have just discovered this about each other.

I do not want to seek counseling in my area because my dad would think I was a whack job and just basically disown me. And as for the girl I am in love with, I never want to hurt her, so can you help me?

Is this common in a lot of teens? Do I need to just feel better about myself? Is this a self-esteem issue? Could this girl be part of the cause? Can you help me?


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Kyle,

It is possible that your dad might disown you and be abusive to you in other ways if he finds out that you are in a lot of distress. I suppose there are people like that. However, most people I know react very differently.

It is possible that he may react with anger (to hide his shock) when he first finds out. I don't know. That may be his pattern. But, if he is a typical father, once he's thought about it he will want to do everything possible to help you. If you agree with this assessment, you may want to write him a carefully worded letter. If even that is too scary, there are still possibilities for help.

You go to school? There should be a school counselor. Does your family have a doctor? Do you go to church? Doctors and ministers of religion are also potential allies in helping you with your situation.

Now to look at your specific questions:

Yes, depression is terribly common. About one person in five can expect to suffer from it. You are not alone, and it is nothing shameful. One of the nasty ways depression gets at you is to make you believe that you are faulty. But this is a lie. You are fine just the way you are. What is not good is some of the things you do, like cutting yourself, having habitual thoughts that if your girl is angry that must mean that you are no good, and habitually thinking of your father as some kind of threatening ogre (I am sure he is just an ordinary guy, with good and bad things about him, and that if he was asked, he'd honestly say that some of the things you do drive him crazy, but he loves you anyway). So, the problem is the habits you have fallen into. Habits can be changed. You can change yours. This includes habits of thought, emotion and action.

"Self-esteem" is so overused that it's almost meaningless, but yes, you are right. You are constantly judging yourself, and you don't need to. Do you have any cats among your friends? Watch a cat. She/he just IS. That's the way to be. Go to my web site and read the poem on the welcome page. I wrote it for myself, but could just as well have been written for you.

Our job in life is to learn lessons. We are perfectly made for this, with our intelligent brains. So, my approach to troubles is to avoid bashing myself about having made a mistake, and instead to think, "What is the lesson for me in this? How can I do better next time?" These are far more constructive questions to ask instead of "What's wrong with me?" and "Who is to blame for this?"

No, your girlfriend has nothing to do with your problems, and you have nothing to do with hers. We are all responsible for ourselves. You can (and should) be there for her as a helper, and should accept her help. You can do your best to be kind to each other. While you're at my web site, look up the page on "How to break a habit". You'll see that the most important requirement is not to get too annoyed with yourself or a person you are helping when there is a relapse to old ways of doing things.

Kyle, even in your short note, I found out many good things about you. You're obviously a very caring person, who likes to give to others. You have friends, and that says something good about you. You desperately want to do the right thing. And you are intelligent.

Depression blinds us to positives. Defy it by focusing in on them - then use them as tools for your own benefit.

Seek out counseling. When a young man comes to me with your kind of story, they are typically on top of their problem after 3 or 4 sessions. It's not a race - some take 10. But even that is less than 3 months!

There is NO NEED for you to suffer. You can beat this problem.

It's a pity you didn't leave an email address. If you read this, email me at bobrich@bobswriting.com

Have a good life,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com


Feeling stuck? Stop. Breathe. Ask yourself, "What options are available to me?"
"Everyone wants to save the world, but no one wants to help mom do the dishes."
P. J. O'Rourke
Something inexplicable happens when you put aside your own preoccupations and help someone out.