Stuck in a cycle

I have been feeling low and depressed for a really long time. I'm 19 now and I have been experiencing it since I was around 15 or 16, however I don't feel like I've ever been truly happy. My home life has always been difficult, particularly when I became a teenager. My mum is a single parent and has been unwell for a long time, so looking after me and my two teenage brothers has always been a struggle for her, particularly with money. She was also extremely protective over us all as we were all she had, and when I was trying to find myself and socialise with friends more, she would restrict me which eventually caused me to lie about where I was going so she wouldn't worry. When she found out about this, I feel like I broke her heart and after this, she didn't seem to care at all and literally let me do whatever I wanted to (fun at times, but mostly just made me feel low that I could be anywhere until whatever time and my mum wasn't concerned.)

It is just me and my brothers, always has been, and they are all I have ever had. We have no other family we are in contact with. When it emerged from school when I was younger that there had been reports of me self harming, my mum instantly put it down to attention-seeking. She didn't understand what was making me do it. I'd never spoken to her about it and so I guess she figured it wasn't a big deal. I don't think she ever considered that I found it embarrassing or uncomfortable to consider speaking about it even to her.

In school I had friends and was in the "popular" group, although all it really did was mould me to be shallow and bitchy. I didn't have any genuine friends, everyone just spoke nastily about one another, and I felt like I lost myself in trying to fit in and be liked. I turned into someone I didn't like. Even now I have no contact with anyone I was friends with in school and kind of became a loner for a year, not really leaving the house and being comfortable that way. Up until this day when I feel bad but better than I was, I have never had friends who I feel I really get along with and connect with properly or who understand me, and it leads to me trying to be someone I'm not because I feel it's the only way I can fit in or be liked.

Things got bad at home. I had epilepsy and my fits were frequent and dangerous. I wasn't leaving the house

My plans to go to college were put on hold and I was sleeping in the same bed as my mum so she could monitor my seizures. I wasn't having contact with anyone. Eventually I felt better and started going out again. I felt I had been trapped for so long and now my fits weren't holding me back I wanted friends, I wanted a social life, I wanted a job. I started drinking as teenagers do, just going to parties now and then and my mum DESPISED me. I believe it stemmed from how epilepsy can be worsened by alcohol, and she didn't understand how I could risk it after all the things we had dealt with that had made me so depressed.

My mum was very bitter and sour towards me. I remember things from being younger and asking to go to a friend's house and in the car she made a vulgar comment to me to "keep my legs crossed", I guess assuming I was seeing a boy. I must've been 13, and although I have always been desperate to be in love, I hadn't even had my first kiss. As I got older I felt like she punished me in weird ways - she would tell me I was attention seeking, make nasty comments about my self harm (an argument before school once led to her pushing me onto the floor out of the front door and chucking a piece of glass at me, telling me to take it to school with me because I was gonna need it), just ignoring me in the house, starting arguments with me by making unnecessary comments or creating a little bitching group with my brothers in which they would all sit and slate me for retaliating to their nasty comments, or gang up on me, or laugh at how I didn't have any proper friends or always stayed in my room. I felt very suffocated and alone, not having any friends or any family to turn to. I was stuck and lost. Christmas and birthday presents stopped when I was 16, and my mum started writing down money I owed her for lifts if she took me to school, and it ended up being around £400. She used this against me everyday.for a long time. I genuinely believe these kind of things came from her struggling so badly with money and wanting someone to take it out on. I also don't know if anyone else has ever felt like this, but I feel as if my mum has always been jealous of me, and that's why she is spiteful. She has never given me a reason for her behaviour, but my brothers have always been treated completely different.

Anyhow. I had a boyfriend who made me feel better when I was 17 and he was my best friend, my only friend. I was incredibly insecure and he described me as helpless, that's why he loved me so much, because he just wanted to take care of me. We broke up after a year and I genuinely don't remember what I did. I think I just drank a lot. I came home one day and my stuff was all outside the house. My mum had kicked me out (to this day I'm still not sure why? They just disliked me). I lived in a hostel for a year.

I am now back at home but still incredibly depressed. I am intelligent but I have low self esteem and feel uncomfortable about doing the littlest things. My relationship with my family is strained but a lot better than it has been in the past.

I want to get out from this house, I want to be independent and strong, I want to feel normal and succeed but the truth is since I left school I have been stuck in a permanent viscious loop of sadness and haven't progressed.

Does anyone have any tips on how I can get out of this? I oversleep everyday and any job I have ever had had felt so demanding and stressful due to my anxiety and mood swings.


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11 Replies

  • Hi Mtlda, welcome to the forum. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. I know it can be daunting, but I hope you feel a little bit better by reaching out.

    There are some ways in which I can empathise with you, in that I was also daft when I was a teenager and made some silly decisions. I had strict parents, and in many ways this was perfect for the type of teenager I was. They prevented me from making bad decisions. However, when I went to university I suddenly became free from their restrictions and didn't know how to properly look after myself. It was one heck of an adventure.

    The thing about love as a young person is that it is brand new. It is all consuming, thrilling and devastating when it falls apart. So I can understand that losing your boyfriend was really difficult.

    I myself am not a mother, but when I read your post I try to think about it from both your side and her side. I totally get her frustration at you drinking when it'll make your condition worse. I've made plenty of daft decisions that my Mum has warned me against. Hopefully though, you learned from them.

    I am not going to suggest that you have a sit down with your Mum and talk it out because that would make me a hypocrite. I'm a decade or so older than you and I can tell you that it's easier to talk about things that happened when I was your age now because we are both removed from it. We've grown and can have adult conversations without our emotions taking over it. You are too close to it now, and I imagine your Mum would be quite defensive. The positive thing is that you might be able to talk about jealousy/lax parenting and control at a later stage.

    You are incredibly brave to have lived in a hostel for a year. You say that you have been low and depressed for a long time. Have you sought help from your GP? They can start of with medication (which helps when you find the right one) and talking therapy (which I found invaluable).

    What are your aspirations? Do you want to go to college/uni? Have you looked at applying for a council property? It's worth visiting the Citazens Advice Bureau for further help with relation to housing.



  • Hi Lori,

    I just want to really thank you for your kind and we'll thought out response to my post. I have been feeling very low and alone recently, but your reply made me feel a lot calmer and less on my own in things and I can't emphasise how much that means to me. I really appreciate it. You made me feel glad I joined the forum today (I initially thought about phoning a helpline but talking out loud to someone seemed a little too scary for me right now.)

    I can imagine university was a change when you were almost let loose without your parents there! I bet it was scary and exciting at once. In a way, I really miss my mum being strict like your parents were, because it was obvious she cared and for a long time it has felt like she doesn't care at all.

    I completely understand what you mean when you said you could relate to my mum's concern about me drinking again. I too understand why she would be annoyed, but you're right and I did learn from it. Thankfully my condition improved and I haven't had a fit in a long time - it was just a difficult period of my life that was almost the beginning of my depression worsening.

    I also really understood and related to what you said about sitting down and talking with my mum. You are entirely correct. I have tried to speak to her before, but I feel my mum gets offended when I try and point out things I feel she has failed me on, and perhaps doesn't want to accept that she has made some mistakes with me, whereas I hold my hands up and admit to things I feel I have messed up and apologise because I want a chance for us to have a good relationship. I think at this point in time it is probably too difficult and fresh.

    Thank you for recognising that it was hard for me to live in a hostel. My mum never saw it as a big thing, and I don't know if she ever secretly felt guilty or bad about it, but to me she acts as though it wasn't a big deal and I was overreacting because I had a roof over my head. But I still harbour some hard feelings towards her over her kicking me out, and although I was incredibly unhappy living at home due to the emotional stress and abuse day in and day out, and in a way LOVED the hostel in a sense for the workers who stayed overnight and acted more like a family to me than I've ever known, I still don't think I will forgive her for a long time. In a way I think it teaches me for the future for when I have my own children, to be mindful of the way I treat them and the things I say/do.

    I have been to see my GP several times, and mostly the appointments have just been rushed and I feel as though they are just very busy people and don't really care in a sense. I was prescribed a few different tablets and none of them seemed to work for me. I also used to take them on and off which made me worse. But as you said talking therapy can be amazingly helpful, although I've never sat down with someone for that. Just speaking to you now I feel a lot calmer and like a weight is being lifted, so thank you so much for listening to me.

    As for my aspirations, weirdly enough I have never had a set career goal. I just know I love to read, I love to write, I love to learn. I love children and I would love to work with them someday. I went to college for a while when I was 16 although left after the epilepsy had made me into a ball of social anxiety, and attended the year after when my mum had kicked me out and I was probably at the worst stage of depression and couldn't even bring myself to go in. However I would love to go to university, and I would love to have another chance to go to college. It just makes me feel pathetic that I haven't progressed since school when I know I am capable.. I feel like I'm wasting myself.

    Thank you so much again Lori. I hope you are well.



  • Hi Matilda,

    You are most welcome. You come across as a lovely young woman and I am so sorry that this is happening to you. I'm really glad that I have been able to bring you comfort. I understand what you mean about it being easier to type than talk. There are things that are so painful to me that I can't form words to express myself, but st least on a forum you have time to compose your thoughts.

    University was as much about life lessons as it was about English Literature. I realised that I needed to impose the rules and restrictions that my parents had policed on myself. I spun out of control for the first semester or two, but eventually found out how to thrive.

    I'm glad that your epilepsy is under control. I agree with Olderal, you need to find a GP who you can work well with. You can also ask for an extended appointment.

    It was a really big thing to move in to a hostel and I imagine you are spot on with regards to how your Mum feels about it. You have proven that you can be independent before and you will succeed in the future.

    I've suffered from depression and anxiety for years on and off, and have tried a number of different anti depressants. The type I am taking now work a treat. Don't give up on them. Also, if you don't take them consistently then they won't work. It's entirely your own decision, but I know how reluctant I was to take them and I know how much they have helped me.

    The talking therapy was, for me, by far the best treatment. It is s lengthy process but worth it. Whenever your Mum says something negative to you I want you to think of something good about yourself. For example, you are clearly very bright, are conscientious and brave. I know this simply by reading your posts. Say good things when those around you don't. Also remember, just because they say mean things doesn't mean they are true. You can also ask yourself whether your thoughts or their comments are helpful, if they aren't then dismiss them.

    You still have time to apply for university for this September, and for the finance. Study something you love. It doesn't have to result in a career. You have the rest of your life to work. Also, you could move in to Halls of Residence. You'll be independent and also able to live with people.

    Be kind to yourself.



  • Hi, you're being emotionally abused. I would think about moving out because a healthy living situation is really important. I too think my Dad is jealous with me and acts similar to your Mom.

  • Hi, I think I kind of realised this a long time ago :-( I feel for you and can relate because I know how much it sucks having to live with constant criticism. I have thought about moving out a lot, although when I think about living alone I feel really scared and anxious because I know my depression is worse when I'm on my own. Hope everything is well at home for you atm!

  • I'm sorry I forgot your age so I take back my advice on moving out. Is there someone who can move in? Another adult that you trust? Maybe you can look into that because your family might be less likely to hurt you with someone else around. Plus that person could stand up for you and be heard since they're an adult.

  • I am 19 so old enough to live on my own. Just I usually feel worse alone. No other adults I am close with or trust. No other family members. Just feel kind of trapped and suffocated. My mum makes out like I am really blessed to live here and should be grateful even though she makes it hell for me. I'm sorry to rant and moan

  • She sounds even more like my Dad. I wasn't trying to make you feel bad. I just think 19 is too young to be worrying about bills and stuff. But if you can find a friend or someone to live with temporarily then that would be great.

  • Honestly I really feel for you knowing your dad is like my mum. It is so hard to be happy in an environment where I just feel like I'm being bullied or excluded day in, day out. It's so nice to be able to discuss it with someone who understands though. Thank you. I will definitely look into that! May I ask how old you are?

  • 23. I was commuting to my college, but had to take a break because I had an abusive relationship on campus. I'm going to return to school this fall, but the Dean of Students wants me to commute again which I don't want to do. He wants me to commute because my abuser will still be on campus and there is no evidence to press charges. He wants me to feel safe.

  • Hello mtida, it's very sad when a young person is not able to reach their full potential due to a unhappy home situation and an uncomfortable time growing up. I think you are so right to want to leave home but I can understand how scary that must seem when you have anxiety ,depression and have had epilepsy.

    I don't see your situation as hopeless although you won't immediately make a jump to being independent and strong. I think you have to make progress in small steps each of which will start taking you to where you want to be. They are all difficult steps for someone suffering from anxiety and depression at times but you have to start taking them for your own good and health.

    I don't know much about epilepsy but that does not now seem to be a major problem. There are two steps you can start straight away to improve things . Anxiety is pretty awful but there are I believe quite a lot of techniques you can use yourself to cope with this such as mindfulness,relaxation techniques and others. I've never had much anxiety but from reading posts on this forum they sound as if they work to a greater or lesser extent. You must have a local library and whenever I've looked for books on depression which is my problem I've noticed there are loads of books on coping with anxiety. I would read a few on the various techniques and hopefully you'll find something that helps. It would be even better if there were classes locally on dealing with anxiety or stress as you would then meet others with the same problems and maybe make a new friend or two.

    The other thing you must do is stop oversleeping everyday. In my opinion it leads to a lack of self respect which does not help depression. This is only a small thing but should be relatively easy to do. There should be no limit to your ambitions which can all be achieved in steps but I've never heard of anyone who emerged from a difficult background to success without starting the day at a reasonable time, and I've read a lot of biographies. Can you imagine Alan Sugar or Richard Branson oversleeping ? I don't think so.

    Assuming you can make a start on those two steps I think you should try and find a better GP . Someone who you feel cares a bit about their patients and has time to listen. This is n't easy but with anxiety,depression and epilepsy lurking in the wings you need a good GP , and a good GP will go a long way towards finding the right medication for you to help with the depression. GPs are busy and don't always read case notes so make sure when you are prescibed medication for depression they are aware you have suffered from epilepsy.

    With any luck and your own determination and courage ,and having done things yourself to start tackling your anxiety and depression you'll start to feel a lot better and a lot more confident which will put you in a much better position to make plans about moving out from home, which I think you need to do.

    It will be difficult but you can do it , in fact you're the only one who can do it, and you have to do it . No one else can do this for you.

    Hug and lots of luck, but you won't need the luck if you really go for it.