At age 4 or 5 I was adopted after my mom died suddenly. I was adopted into a new country (England) with my foster dad being a close friend of my real dad. My foster dad and I never get on; we always fight and argue, with him doing most if not all of the instigating. He has always been very abusive towards me. He constantly puts me down and makes me feel inferior and even calls me "crazy". But sometimes he is really nice, although this can change quickly. My foster parents expect me to be a huge success and bring back money to my real family (who are quite poor), but as bad as this sounds I want to forget about them. I want to serve myself. I'm fed up of feeling like I owe the world to people. I feel like everything is conditional, even with some of my friends.
I have become increasingly angry over the past 2 years. The smallest thing can make me intensely angry, but I hold back because I feel bad about the people I show anger towards, especially my foster mom (without her I'm nothing). Sometimes I scare myself with how angry I get, how quickly it happens, and how intense my body feels when it happens. I would never ever hit anybody or in any way abuse them (verbally, for example), and on the rare occasion that I do verbally abuse someone I feel extremely awful and sick after. I'm afraid that my growing anger will soon go overboard. I wouldn't be surprised if I have a heart attack or discover cancer growing in me (God forbid). Worse still, I'm afraid I'll lash out at someone. I also have been depressed continually for a year, sometimes getting extremely depressed and regularly waking up to find myself saying, "Somebody please kill me." Please help me.
As an outpatient psychologist, I see lots of depressed people. One of the most common experiences of depressed teens is the loss of a parent between the ages of two and four, but sometimes earlier or later in life. This sets up a bereavement reaction that usually gets worse, especially if untreated. Having lots of anger that gets worse over time is just one symptom of this - having a damaged sense of self is another. Other symptoms include related resentments (like having demands to earn money and send it elsewhere), feeling rejected/abandoned, and feeling unloved/un-nurtured. Symptoms of depression include sadness, loss of energy, weight gain or loss, social isolation or just withdrawal, lowered libido, an-hedonia (reduced interest or ability to experience pleasure), irritability, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, procrastination, etc. How many and how severe these symptoms are determine how deep the depression is.
The usual approach to your early experience is to start talking to a qualified professional. Don't be surprised if he or she starts talking about medication, since your symptoms are strong and escalating. But the real focus should be going back and re-addressing your early life experience. You're going to have to understand what happened to you, now from an adult point of view, then start meeting your needs as an adult. You probably hold on to lots of very young ideas about who you are, how important you are, what you "should"Ě be doing for yourself and others, all of which are not current to your situation or status. You probably need to "update your personal files," but first you have to know what your basic assumptions are, and how they set you up to feel the way you do.
Anger comes from unmet expectations, wants or needs. Any of these can be big or little, past or present. Make a list of what you expect, want and/or need, starting with daily activities and expanding it to include bigger questions, like how life is treating you and what others want from you. You should know that depression worsens 's sense of not getting what one expects, wants or needs. However, answering these simple questions clarifies issues, and usually lessens depression. One expectation you have is to be treated nicely by your foster dad - nobody thrives in a constantly critical environment. It's not surprising that anger has built up over the years and is now bubbling over the top of your psyche. In counseling, you might have to deal with your foster dad, in session, with the help of your counselor. Learning a little assertiveness will help your self-image, which is another aid in lessening depression (and anxiety). You might have to teach your foster dad to treat you with more unconditional positive regard, a feat that may be formidable considering his long history of verbally abusing you.
This question was answered by Steven T. Griggs, Ph.D. Steven has been licensed in California since 1984 and has three separate degrees in Social, Counseling and Clinical Psychology. He is also the author of several articles and ebooks, available on his website, that instruct people on how to diagnose and treat several issues.For more information visit: http://www.psychologyproductsandservices.com