I am writing this letter in the hopes I will be able to express myself more clearly and will be understood better. My name is Erin and I am 20 years old.

To tell you I have had a rough life would be an understatement. I have been suffering from depression for 5 years now and I am yet to understand why. I have attempted suicide 16 times and have been self-harming for the past 3 years. I know for the sake of my family I need to beat this and, considering that, that there is nothing else to do but to seek proper help. I have seen CPN's and had CBT and have been on 40mg Citalopram for 3 years and nothing has helped. I have tried altering my lifestyle and no matter how much better my home and social situations seem to get, I still get no better. I have tried reaching out to my doctor about this and I am met with pessimism and a shrug of shoulders. The last thing I want is to die. I want to make that clear. But in a way I feel like I am already dead and my body has just been left behind and is suffering.

When I was 15 I was in an abusive relationship and was beaten, raped, sold for drugs and injected with heroin. My family knew nothing about this, and as he lived on the other side of the city, when I was alowed to stay with him, it made it easy to hide. And as my mum and dad aren't together there was no continuity in my life anyway. He ended things with me to be with another girl and I left school and began feeling the way I do now. My mum now knows what happened and has little to no sympathy and wishes I would "pull up my socks and get on with it". She has her own issues (especially with drinking) and I can see that, so I have recently come to terms with the fact that she will be of no help to me. My dad and I speak rarely as he has his own life. My gran on his side passed away last year and honestly she was the only good and decent person I knew. My papa is lonely now, and because my dad was in the army there is no sympathy and alot of control coming from him to everyone. My Nona (gran on my mums side) is very money centred and embodies everything I hope not to be. She is judgemental, manipulative and harsh on everyone and everything they say. Though, my mum relies on her for everything we have and so we cannot do without her. Though I hope to one day. Her husband (my papa) has been like my dad. Though he is an alcoholic and has been abusive to my nona and to me on several occassions.

When I left school I went to college and tried to do my highers twice, but both years I had to drop out because I had to have opperations on my ovaries. So now I'm going to do a course in health care and hopefully go to university and become a nurse, so there's that...

Socially I have a good group of friends I occassionally go out with. Though when I am with them I know I am the person I'm meant to be, but I'm not. I hide behind a mask and lie and pretend I am normal. When I know I'm not.

Sometimes I feel like I'm screaming inside my head, and I feel emotions so deeply it feels like my heart is breaking every time... I don't want to live with this perpetual cloud hanging over me... so please - help me.

11 Replies

  • Hello Erin, I hope you are ok at the moment. I myself am up really late and pretty miserable. But just thought I should respond to you as looks like no one else on here at moment.

    Because of way I am at moment can't really think properly or communicate so apologies .

    My heart goes out to you for what you just said and similar things happened to my ex girlfriend before I met her.

    I'm sorry your family are not much help and professionals too. There really should be more help out there for you. Are there any things like well being teams that can also provide extra help and more compassionate people?


  • Hi Erin,

    I am so sorry to hear about your life and I truly have no words as you have had a pretty yuk start to live and adulthood. You can give yourself so much credit for reaching out and trying to find answers.

    I think that you are going to study in health care is a real positive direction. Helping others puts a lot of things into perspective and gives you a real sense of purpose. Make this your focus point. Have faith in your abilities.

    If you need help now, keep writing. I'm not sure where in the world you are but I know here in New Zealand we have telephone support. Good luck

  • Hi Erin,

    I am so sorry for what you have been through. It will have been a struggle to cope with. However what is normal? We all have an inner life we hide from other people. Even the ones who you might think have perfect lives may have their own problems, but feel unable to share them as they have reputations to keep up. And surviving bad times gives us insights other people lack. In time the pain will fade but the experiences will have made you a better person towards other people who suffer similar problems. This could be very important to you as a nurse. I hope that goes well for you.

  • Reading this back to myself it sounds as if I did not fully comprehend what you have been through. I did read your post, but I do not think the details sank in. I would like you to know that I am not dismissive of your pain, or think that you should just soldier on without getting more help. I try to be positive and overcome my own problems, but sometimes I wish I could be more open to asking for help, as you have. If like me, you find it hard to express yourself in the doctors surgery, maybe you could show him what you wrote. Sometimes it is so much easier to say it in writing, alongside a visit in person. I really hope he listens and refers you to someone who can help.

  • If Erin has C-PTSD it will take a lot more than time to heal from her experiences. There are therapies out there, im a bit in limbo at the moment because im having to wait until a place becomes available for art therapy.

  • Yes, which I why I wrote my second post. I do understand that C-PTSD is not something that goes away by itself, but my point is that with the right help, over time, one might be able to draw on one's experiences when relating to others who have been through similar experiences.

  • Ok thanks for clarifying sorry, GP had me in tears earlier over trying to get my pain meds sorted out.

  • I agree with all of the others. I read your post in the morning and all I could think was who would allow a 15 year old stay with her bf but that's in the past and the past have a way of catching up. But you have reasons to be depressed I used to self harm and you have to stop it cold turkey when you feel like cutting yourself either go for a run or snap a rubber band around your wrist. I tried Oprah's advise to give yourself 30 secs ( for me it was more like 30 mins) of a pity party eating comfort food.

    It's hard when your parents don't understand but despite that you are going into a caring profession which will make you more empathetic to others.

    You are strong and you have good friends and in a little way you have us. there is spring after winter. You have to get help for your condition fight for it. You will get over this . you are young and the youth are resilient. Fight for happiness look for it don't care about what others think do what makes you happy. Volunteering really helped me a lot...... It made a more confident.

    All the best dear

  • Hi Erin, This has been so hard for you and you are not alone in your experiences, although this is how it can feel when you are ill. There is hope for a better future, than your past has been. You have been very strong to get this far, to survive this long. You want to help others. You have friends who care for you, so you must be doing something well even if it is a front. It must be a good one. You have insight into what is going on and for someone, if you forgive me who is so young that is quite impimpressive. I really wish you well. I believe in you.

  • Hello again Erin, I hope you are ok. I thought I would give advice but at the moment am having difficulty ordering my thoughts.

    Yesterday I also wanted to say but thought I shouldn't in case it all came out wrong.

    Hopefully it was a good excercise for you to b able to sound out what you have/are experiencing and also found use in the act of communicating your thoughts for the benefit of yourself let alone others to be able to understand in order to give advice or help in any way.

    Others have given good advice and the one about showing the doc what u have written is a good one as it's hard sometimes to explain and often little time to explain it.

    I was thinking I weren't sure if the professionals only know about your depression or if they knew the full extent of things as the antidepressants and cbt may feel like just a sticking plaster has been applied and left you feeling the root of the problem has been ignored/unresolved.

    As I feel that what has happened to you in the past has left you in trauma and with nowhere to let it out or resolve it.

    You are very resilient and have taken great steps to advance in your life, like many have said you have a huge gift of empathy, maybe you wish u didn't but you have through your experiences and that means a lot in the caring profession.

    You can forge your own path, live a fulfilling life, find enjoyment in things in the future.

  • Have you been tested for complex post traumatic stress disorder? (CPTSD) I have recently been diagnosed with this after years of trauma as a teenager. i am currently waiting to try art therapy and then EMDR.

    In some areas trauma focussed CBT or EMDR is offered for CPTSD.

    i hope you can find some therapy to support you, my mum doesnt understand mental health problems. When i get upset by a trigger song or a trigger quiz question "it's just a song" or "i wanna see if she gets it right" is what she says.

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