20yo suffering from depression and abuse trauma

Hello all, my name is Sarah, I'm new to this site. I've been looking for a place to share my story and possibly get advice and support. I'm currently 20 years old, unemployed and living at home (a.k.a my nightmare). I was in college last year until medical issues overcame me and my grades slipped due to this. I was disqualified from my university and my depression became worse than ever after this. I come from an abusive childhood, my dad being the abuser, and that's where my anxiety/depression/OCD all started. Growing up was absolute hell and I was suicidal at the age of 10. My dad was emotionally abusive but there were moments where it got physical. I feared getting off the school bus and going home. I cried myself to sleep every night and would wish that I would die in my sleep so I wouldn't have to wake up the next morning. I remember telling my dad that I wanted to kill myself and all he did was shake his head. The one time I was having such a horrible panic attack and tried to explain my anxiety to him and he yelled that I was weak. During my younger years, he was an alcoholic and would fight with my mom every night and even went on drunk rampages when I had sleepovers, leading to us staying the night in a hotel. Somehow I survived through all of this and I'm now 20, living back and home, which is hell for me. My depression has been too much to handle lately and I can barely leave the house. My dad is a pilot so sometimes he's home but most of the time not. He's tried to make amends with me and says he wants to have a relationship with me but I don't want it, it's too traumatic for me to even be around him. My mom is still married to him and she explains that if she were to divorce him she'd be broke and that's why she didn't do it when I was younger. But I also think her doing that would've caused me less trauma so I have a lot of anger towards her. I've filed a medical withdrawal for the semester of school that I did bad in and I'm trying to get back into college by fall but there's a chance it might not happen. I just want to separate myself from my home completely. My mom constantly hounds me about getting a job and saying that that will make me feel better but when I had a stable job months ago, I was a nervous wreck around people and was incredibly stressed. I was the same depressed person, just with more money. Sorry for this being so long. If anyone has any advice I would be so appreciative, as I've been feeling worthless and like I should've just died years ago.

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5 Replies

  • Have you a friend to confide in ? It is clear to me that you need to get away from home but this will be very difficult for you in your present emotional state without local help. Please see your GP and get therapy to enable you to get out of situation. I hope that you get the help that you need. You are great to have coped with all this and still managed to get into UNI. When your health improves you maybe able to return to resit your exams. best wishes.

  • Hello Sarah, you certainly went through an awful childhood and its a miracle you don't have worse problems. You are certainly not worthless and you have most of your adult life to come when hopefully you will be very glad you are around to enjoy life. The rest of this may sound crazy to you but I hope not.

    Despite the problems caused by your parents my opinion is that you may be able to overcome these problems yourself but there are two very difficult ,maybe impossible, things you have to do. Despite what I'm going to say you would be doing these things for your own sake mainly but also for your parents. The easiest one probably is to think hard about your mother's difficulty in continuing in her marriage. Life must have been almost equally awful for her , I suspect worse, and it is entirely possible she only was able to endure it because she thought that life would be better not just for her ,but also for you in a household with a good income, despite all the problems. What I'm saying is that it may be unreasonable to hold resentment against her , when her possibly misguided opinion was that she was doing the best for you ,at great cost to herself. A better relationship with her would considerably improve your own life, but you need to get rid of what may be an unreasonable resentment.

    The main difficulty is your father. Without excusing his earlier behaviour he obviously had severe problems himself and stupid as it might sound perhaps you should have some pity for him. If he literally was an alcoholic , its not something one recovers from , and presumably he does n't drink at all now, which is the only way forward for an alcoholic. Alcoholism is also an illness ,which one is born with, and would almost certainly have led to his behaviour when you were younger. If he now does n't drink at all it is probable that he does sincerely regret what he put you and your mother through and my advice would be to take him at his word and find as much pity and forgiveness as you can for him. If you doubt the problems and pain being an alcoholic can give the alcoholic himself read the tragedy of George Best's later years, but there are plenty of other examples.

    It may seem totally unfair that you have to take the steps to repair the damage to your family caused by your father's alcoholism but if you are right and your father is an alcoholic then you are probably the only one who can . Being unfair is something life is a virtuoso at. You however have the most to gain from this as a stable and happier home life will eventually repair much of the trauma you have suffered and leave you much better placed to overcome your problems and continue your education, or alternatively in much better shape to consider work.

    Counselling would certainly help you but at the end of the day would still leave you with a broken family background which will not help a happier life from now on whereas the crazy thing I've put forward may repair your broken family which is far more likely to result in more happiness for you.


  • Hello again, Sarah, two wows. One I did n't really expect any likes to my reply, so that's worth a wow.

    Secondly I just read the very long Wikipedia article on alcoholism, that's worth another wow. I am a bit puzzled as to how your dad survived as a pilot, if an alcoholic but I suppose tests were easier or non existent then.

    Somewhere in my reply I ought to have mentioned that probably most of the problems you have now are due to the conditions you spent your childhood in and somehow you have to make your parents aware of this. This might be considered the third difficult thing you have to do. Whatever the temptation I would try to resist making this a pointing the finger exercise. They must be aware of your problems and can make the connection themselves .

    Perhaps I'm a naive dreamer but if your father now has genuine regrets about the past, whether or not he was a true alcoholic , and you can build a good relationship with your mother, and eventually him you will have taken a huge step to improving your family's happiness. That would be an incredible asset to you in overcoming the difficulties you now have as a result of your childhood.

    I don't anticipate an immediately easy time for you but if home can be made bearable, a good start to which would be becoming closer to your mother, then things will surely be looking a bit brighter.


  • Sarbear7- just wanted to express solidarity with you - my story is nearly identical with yours, although I was a little older when it got really bad. I just turned 41 and now have a good life and friends but the abuse of my father has had a devastating effect on 3 generations of our family. I suggest you get well out of harm's way and avoid any contact with your abusive father - your relationship with him is an accident of chance not a choice, certainly not your fault - he is the adult, you are/were the child - all the responsibility and power is with him. You have nothing to apologise or feel bad for. It is hard to cut ties and we always will have questions about what could have been, but focus on building an independent life away from him and encourage your mother to do the same. I havent seen my father for more than half my life and am all the better for that.

  • I feel like you wrote down my life story, I'm the same age going through same thing but I go uni and have a job, your not worthless and I'm here to talk. Hope you feel better soon stay strong

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