Dear Dr. Archer,
I want to be happy. I crave the feeling of being alive and normal, and my life has been anything but that. I want a routine, with everything being the same every day unless I decide to do something different.
My whole life, I've never had a choice. Even now, my family constantly puts me down and ignores my thoughts. If I dare speak when not spoken to or express an opinion, I'm brutally yelled at because I'm stupid, at least according to them.
I was diagnosed with depression when I was 15, and I question that because I'd say it's very situational. I think my family has a history of mental illness, though it's mostly undiagnosed.
Presently every day is the same: Wake up, go out with my sister and walk on eggshells and hope she doesn't yell at me too much. If I don't want to go with her, she gets seriously offended and I don't want to do that to her. I can't take her abuse, though. It's ridiculous and I don't want my life to go this way.
She's my older sister, and I'd do anything for her -- but if I can't, she makes me out to be some sort of monster. She takes such tiny things and blows them out of proportion just to get angry at me.
There was a time when I was investigating my own sexual abuse, because my abuser is long dead. I talked to people who knew him, went to visit his wife, and to the place where I was molested.
I felt like I needed a picture of him, so I managed to get one. My sister refused to help, so I did it alone. I was on my way home, alone, when my neighbor exposed himself and wanted to have sex with me. Seriously. On that SAME day. I'm asexual, by the way. I reported it to the police the next day, but didn't tell my mom.
Weeks later, when I did tell her, she was so angry at me for involving the police! I was convinced to drop the charges, because if I didn't she was going to kick me out of the house and never talk to me again. The neighbor was on probation, and his mom and my mom were friends.
The point is, my family is broken. I don't even know my dad. He popped up earlier when he was released from prison. I don't know him, but he called me Baby Girl and talks to me like I'm a kid, even though I'm 20.
I go through moments of suicidal thoughts; I'm tired of being bullied by my family, but they're all I have. Where could I go to be free from everything?
I was on medication which helped initially, but when it stopped helping I stopped taking it. I'm in therapy with an awesome therapist; it helps. My goal is to be independent, to have my own job and apartment so I don't have to speak to my family again. I don't want to be suicidal and I don't want to cut; I hate the way I feel.
I want something for myself, something to live for, but don't know anything that's worth it. I cannot be happy here. The only thing holding me back from being a thriving human being is my family. I could be so much more than what they allow me to be. How do I move on from this?
Everyone deserves the right to be happy. And while family usually offers support to each other, unfortunately that's not always the case. Words spoken can oftentimes be more deadly than a gun, and harsh words can be devastating to your self esteem.
It is awful that your family has put you in such a position. I am glad you are in therapy; you need to stay there and get the most out of it. I am sorry that you were prescribed medication that you stopped taking.
Too often a patient is prescribed medication, only to take it, feel better and then stop because they think they're fine, only to either relapse or feel worse. If your therapist does not know you have ceased your medication, please inform her immediately. Just because it stopped working doesn’t mean a med cannot work for you.
Only you can control your life. You are 20 years old; you have the power to control your own life. From this day forward, work towards being the person you wish to be. Focus your brain and force yourself to be that person. DO NOT let your family or anyone else talk down to you again.
Today can be the first day of your new life. Shake the fear of being lost; imagine yourself the way you want to be and then take action. If your family refuses to treat you as an adult and with respect, then move out.
Live with a friend, live in a shelter, find a distant family member who can put you up temporarily until you find employment, but get out of that house. There are options, Jude, but sometimes they're not obvious…..or easy.
Once you gain employment, you can either find your own place or seek a roommate to help with the expenses. But you need some place where you can grow and get away from all the negativity.
You say you want routine, but your present routine is destructive. Humans are creatures of habit, and it is normal to be fearful of change. Yet change is exactly what you need; it will help you grow and become a better person.
Please take my advice, Jude. We cannot choose our family, but we can choose to distance ourselves from them if they are unhealthy for us. You have only one life; make the most of it. I wish you a very successful future.