Please bare with me

Hi. First off thank you for taking the time to read this. This may be a tad bit long because I've got a bit to share.

I've been a member on this website for a while and I've never /really/ used it until now, because I'm not sure where else to go or who else to talk to.
There's a lot wrong, so I'm sorry for putting it all in this section of the forum, some of it may not belong.
Though I have never been professionally diagnosed with anything, I believe I know myself well enough to know that there really is something wrong and that it's not just my adolescence at play. I just turned 17 this past monday, and I am currently a senior in high school.
I've been unstable to a certain extent since I was in 7th grade. It started off with eating disorders: starving myself, going days without a proper meal and avoiding eating as much as I could. Though I had no idea what one was back then, I can say whole heartedly I wasn't influenced by anything but my mind. It progressed to cutting, I of course am not proud of it. I don't like to think about it much because that's the first time I really reached out to anyone about this problem, back when it was little, and it turned out to be a big mistake. I was made fun of and called a hypocrite because I discouraged my friends to cut, tried to help them and behind the scenes I was cutting as well.
Around 9th grade depression hit me head on. I hadn't known for sure it was depression, but I had an idea. I thought maybe I was just feeling sad after moving schools.
However days got worse, longer. Suicide was a hair away, I thought about it too often, and I often would have episodes where I would cut too deep. I tried to talk to people again but they didn't take me seriously or wanted to help me until it wasn't fun, so I would go back to step one, or even further back than that. So I cut myself off from everyone emotionally. I stopped trying and I kept everything to myself. The cutting got worse and I slept a lot. I cried in class a lot, I'd make it a point to be by myself so that if I did cry no one could see me, and cried every week if not every other day.
Throughout the years, I've learned to cope better. The cutting has stopped but I feel like I channel it into other things.
As mentioned before I have eating problems. As much as I wish I could love myself, I think I have body dysmorphia. If even the slightest amount of pudge is visible I go into shut down. I work out extra hard, sometimes twice a day. 100 sit ups, 100 crutches, 25 let raises and planking. I cut my meals and sometimes I want to punch my stomach. I know it sounds odd, unrealistic... crazy? But this really is what goes on in my mind. I think I should be skinnier and I will do very drastic actions.

My depression is decent, but I'm not sure of it's because I ingore it as much as I can these days. I do anything to ignore it. Anything not to be left alone with my thoughts. I try to go out all the time and hang out with friends. I binge watch shows, sometimes binge eat despite my body issues, I dance for hours, draw, etc.... All of these things work until there's nothing left to do. I end up stuck with my thoughts again. I sleep too much and I think about suicide. I think about everything wrong with me. Things will be good for a while but then one day it'll all go down the drain. When my friends graduated it go worse because I realized how alone I really was.

As if it couldn't get worse, I have PTSD to group with it all. Growing up I was sexually harassed and assaulted, ever since I was little and up to this 17th year on earth. I won't go into detail.

For the past two years I've thought about how I need to talk to someone or that I belong in a mental hospital. Suicide is still very much an option, it always has been. I think about it at least twice a month. I want to cut still and I still slip up though it's been a while. I do want to talk to someone professional. But I'm so reluctant to take meds because I've heard they can worsen things. That they make you sleep more, can make you more unstable....

I don't know what to do but I feel like if I don't do something I will do something very regretful. I don't want to hurt those people around me that I care for, but being stuck with these thoughts all the time it tiring and makes killing myself sound better the more I think about it. I don't talk to friends about it because I don't want to make them sad or burden them with me problems when they have their own...
I sleep a lot these days, which is bad. I personally don't like sleeping because fatigue is a sign of my depression progressing and me sinking deeper. I don't know what to do anymore and it's getting worse.

Sorry that it's so long.

What have doctors said about your problems?

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I've never been professionally diagnosed in any way. ^^" My mother has an idea something is wrong but she's never gone in depth and I am still a minor so I can't risk letting a doctor know because they will be obligated to report these things back to her. So I haven't told any professional my issues.?

I think the best thing to do would be getting an evaluation by a GP and taking the advice that they give you. Each individual deals with stresses in different ways. Some people take medicine, some visit a therapist, some do both, etc. I was on medication from the time I was 16 until about 20 and it did wonders for me. Your doctor will know more about what will be beneficial to you.?

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How would I go about doing that? As I said before I'm still a minor and I live with my mom. We don't really /talk/ about mental illness in the house so I'm not sure how to even tell her I would like to see someone to talk about everything going on with me.

It doesn't have to be brought up as "mental illness". If you can't get one on your own because of your age then I would just figure out which type of doctor you think would be able to provide the most help (I suggest just a regular doctor first) and tell your Mom that you want to make a do tor's appointment. If she pries then I would just tell her that you're having a little bit of anxiety lately and think it would be helpful to see a doctor.?

Thank you for posting. It does sound like classic symptoms. I am personally familiar with the depression part. Cutting is just a symptom of severe depression. Most people don't understand it. It sounds ludicrous to normal people, who have no desire to cut themselves and have difficulty imagining how anyone could actually want to do that to themselves. The people who will understand are other patients who've been there themselves, and their psychiatrist doctors who treat these types of disorders, usually successfully.

I too was initially afraid to try medication. My doctor talked me into giving it a try. I tried a whole lot of different medications and none of them really worked for me, but we kept trying, and one day we tried another and I quickly could tell we had found a winner. Life just slowly got better and better. Full recovery took a whole year. Now I'm pretty much symptom free and don't really think about it anymore. The only time I think about it is if I stop taking my medication, then after a few days or weeks I'll go downhill again, and I'll keep sliding downhill until it gets really bad again. I can turn it around by restarting my medication. Then I slowly get better again.

The medication doesn't make me happy. It just fixes me so I can be happy.

I asked my psychiatrist doctor why antidepressant medications now have a "black box" warning that patients may kill themselves. Well duh, they're super depressed and suicidal. I get that. But the black box warning seems to indicate the medication itself might cause someone to become suicidal. My doctor says he's never encountered a medication which actually caused someone to become suicidal. That would certainly be the opposite of what we hope the medication will do.

Another theory is that very depressed patients are too depressed to actually commit suicide, but once they get on an antidepressant medication it lifts them up out of the depression just enough so they can actually act out the suicide, which they weren't able to actually do before the medication because they were too depressed. So key is to hang in there during the recovery period and keep hope that it's quite lilkely there's a medication out there that will help tremendously, but it takes time to work, the progress is slow, but keep it up and after a couple months you'll feel well enough to not have suicidal thoughts anymore, and you'll continue to get better and better over the next year.

I'm not as familiar with eating disorders. I've read one theory is we have a map of our bodies in our brain, and it might be that map of our body says our body is very fat, when in fact it's very thin. The brain's map of our body might not match up with our actual body. (People who lose a limb may have "phantom limb" syndrome, where the brain's body map still has a limb there even though their actual body no longer has that limb. It can work the other way too. A stroke can damage the brain's body map, erasing a limb. The patient will then no longer recognize the limb as belonging to them. They may ask the nurse to "Please take away this lunch tray I'm done eating; and please take away this limb that's not mine.")

The hopeful news is the brain is "pastic" meaning it can literally rewire itself. Thought exercises can literally heal the brain by forcing the brain to rewire itself. A brain body map that's too fat might possibly be shrunk simply by setting aside time each day to consciously think about shrinking the body map. By thinking about shrinking the body map, imagining the body map shrinking, one may be able to shrink the body map so it properly represents one's actual body more accurately.

There are two books on brain plasticity by Dr. Norman Doidge. (2007 and 2015). If you're interested you may have a look at those two books. (Chapter 1 of the 2015 book is especially useful.)

A psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in treating these types of medical disorders. A good psychiatrist will be able to help you.

PTSD is also treatable. One tidbit of knowledge is "recalling a memory rewrites the memory." Memory recall isn't a "Read Only" thing. The brain actually "re-stores" the memory when you recall it. So the trick is to be in a calm relaxed state, then tell your story to someone who listens, and the story gets rewritten with a calmer emotion attached to it. The story itself of what happened doesn't change, but the emotional signifiance we attach to the story is changed and becomes less emotional. In this case one approach is Talk Therapy. We tell our story to someone else who listens, and that somehow rewrites the memory itself. (I've also read there's a blood pressure medication that can be used to enhance this treatment. Look in Smithsonian magazine for an article on PTSD from about 5 years ago.)

The other approach is to purposely forget the memory so it fades. Thinking a thought strengthens and reinforces that thought. Recalling a memory strengthens and reinforces that memory. If there's a memory we'd rather forget, we can consciously not think about it, and whenever we find ourselves thinking about it, we immediately force ourselves to switch to thinking about something else. (One way is to "return our focus to the present moment". This is the meditation approach.)

So I understand you have eating disorder, depression, and PTSD. Plus sleeping disorder which is probably just a side effect of all that.

So far it actually sounds common; that is, all the symptoms sound common. I don't mean that to belittle the problem. It's definitely a real and serious problem. I only want to convey if you were to tell a psychiatrist doctor all these symptoms they would immediately recognize all of them as the type of symptoms they commonly deal with. I'm a patient and I recognize all of the symptoms described as ones I've either had myself or I've read about.

I'll end with a link to a story that may be of further help:
http://www.wingofmadness.com/depression-as-a-medical-illness-19

The last bit of suggesetion I can give, to help deal with feelings of isolation, is Google "Conversation Starters" and memorize them. (Some places call this a "Question Bank". A list of questions one can use to help facilitate a conversation. I've been studying them myself and have noticed some success with them. I'm still no expert, but I keep studying. I also now notice when others are using Question Bank questions on me to help make a conversation go.)

Best wishes. I hope some of this helps.

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I can't thank you enough for replying. I apologize for the late response.?Your reply definitely helped me realize and think rationally about a few things.
Though I am still wary of medication, you did open my mind to it being an option. I really would like to see someone professional asap, but as I stated above replying to NocturnalMistress, since I am still a minor I have no idea how to bring this up to my mother. She doesn't know about any of this, the closest shes gotten is seeing my scars and that alone caused a minor ripple. It upset her, and she didn't know what to do. I honestly am very reluctant to bring any of this up because I'm not sure how it will effect her. I've considered writing a letter because that would be easiest and less stressful for both of us, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea.?
I'm sorry for the trouble, but how would you recommend I bring this up if you have any recommendations??

Thank you so much for the help.?

You're welcome. Glad it was helpful.

Telling parents may not be the easiest way to go. It depends on how knowledgeable the parents are.

Sometimes depression runs in the family and they are already very knowledgeable about how to treat it and they're already watching out for it in their children, because they understand it and they know what to do about it.

Then it's just like treating any other illness. Child gets ill, you take child to doctor, doctor makes child well again.

Mental illness is just like any other illness. But it's not always recognized as such. Child gets ill, scold child for being ill, tell child to stop being ill, pray to deity, tell child to pray to deity, make sacrifice to deity,... basically parent has no idea what to do, and they "freak out" because they are in way over their head on this one and have no idea what to do (hint: take child to doctor).

This is when it's great if you can find someone, anyone, some adult who actually knows something about mental illness, who can take over the job of explaining it to the parent for you. Often other patients make the best allies. They've been there, they have first hand experience with it, they know what to do.

Finding this adult who can help you educate your parents may take a little effort and searching around.

One thing to look for, look for someone wearing a safety pin with green beeds on it. See:
http://www.dbsalliance.org/imhere

Another thing to know is clinical depression is actually a lot more prevalent than I once suspected. I've been surprised. I bet as much as 10% of the population has first hand experience with depression, or knows someone who does. So chances of finding someone may actually be a lot higher than one would initially think.

Check out NAMI website and see if there's a chapter near you.
http://www.nami.org
They have a NAMI Helpline which says they can help? local support groups and services. There's also a "Find Your Local NAMI" locator on the support page.

Other resouces may be asking a pastor of a local church. Look for a liberal church if you can. (Unitarian church is usually a good choice. Congregational may also be a good choice.) Pastors may know of someone who can help.

You could try dialling 2-1-1.

Try asking any random officer, police, sheriff. Try asking the school nurse (if there is one), or school front desk, (say it's for a friend, or because you're just curious).

Sorry I wish I had a perfect answer. Maybe your city has a local "Mental Wellness Center", or some similar thing. If you have a college nearby, they likely have services for college age students, since it's becoming recognized as a big thing that tends to develop by college age, so they may have some resources, which could connect you with someone who actually knows something about the subject.

You could even try your local Planned Parenthood. They specialize in helping underage kids. Go in on the pretext of getting birth control. Then tell them the real reason is you are looking for someone who knows something about clinical depression. Likely they will know. After all, they'll have a doctor on site, and a bunch of other nurses and health professionals and volunteers, and likely someone there will know something. Just brainstorming ideas.

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Okay, thank you. I'm sure it may not be the easiest but I'm willing to give it a try and if things don't work out I'll make sure I have someone to support me adult wise.?

I appreciate all the help and I'm most grateful!

 

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