How do I tell my parents that I'm depressed and need help?

I'm depressed. I have been for years. I hide it from everyone because I'm scared of the reactions I'll get. Last time I tried telling my parents, it was a huge argument about me being too young to be depressed (I’m a legal adult), calling me ungrateful, and telling me that if I can't handle things now, it's only going to get worse in the future (which is turning out to be true). It's exhausting pretending to be okay, and I don't know how much longer I can try. I'm just really tired, and sadly, I can't afford the help I need on my own.

Lynda Martens
Lynda Martens
Marriage & Family Therapist, MSc, RP, RMFT

Hi Georgia, There's a really good lesson here. People tell us things, and we tend to think that's the truth...but it's not! I'll do some translating for you...

"You're so ungrateful" means "I need you to be successful and happy in order for me to feel I'm a good parent".

"You're too young to be depressed" means "I don't want to deal with your mental health issues right now. I'll pretend it's not happening so I don't have to face my fear and shame".

"It's only going to get worse" just means "I don't know how to support you beyond scaring you into wanting to at least fake happiness for my sake".

Your parents are being unsupportive, not because you're not suffering, but because this is all they're capable of right now. They are not where you will find the support you need, so keep looking for it in other places. It's out there. If might be an aunt or a friend, or a friend's aunt. It might be a therapist or a bus driver or your family doctor. Keep looking for someone who will hear you. I hope you don't ever give up. :)

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sonya Wilson
Sonya Wilson
Licensed Professional Counselor

Don't think that you can't afford the help you need on your own.  There are several counselors that see people on a sliding scale that can be as low as $5 (based on your income).  Find a center that is non-profit, they have great counselors as well. 

It sounds like you know what you are experiencing and know that you need someone to talk to, someone that is willing to listen.  Your parents may not understand what your are feeling right now and that is not totally abnormal.

I would encourage you to seek help immediately so you can live the best live you can...which is not being depressed. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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