How Do I Get Support from my Parents?

Question:

Hello Phyllis. I know this is a late holiday greeting, but I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years and I hope you enjoy 2010. I’m sorry to greet you with something not so happy, but here it goes. Bipolar disorder runs in my family: my dad has it (he has not been diagnosed, but it’s very clear he has it), his mom (my grandma) has it and is being treated, as well as her mom (my great-grandma). I believe I have it too. I’ll go into extreme lows to the point of suicidal thoughts (I’ve attempted suicide before) and sometimes I’ll feel so happy to the point where it’s almost unnatural. I’ve had a hard time keeping stabalized relationships…with my last boyfriend, I would be completely in love with him, and then something little would happen and completely set me off and I’d hate him for it, even if it was the littlest thing. I’ve had a hard time focusing in school…my brain just wonders off because I’ll get so depressed that I can’t even tune into what the teacher is teaching even if I try. I literally sat in my 2nd period the other day just thinking about how badly I wanted to die and how much I disliked life…but then by lunch I was practically bouncing off the walls. I want and need to get medical treatment, but the problem is my parents. My mom says I wouldn’t be so depressed if I exercised more…which is unhelpful considering I go to the gym at least 4 times a week. My dad says that anti-depressants and mental treatment are for people who are too stupid to do anything about their health themselves. He gives his mom a hard time a lot for taking medication due to her Bipolar disorder. My symptoms only grow worse and I really want to get treated, but I really don’t know how to tell my parents seeing as they are very unsympathetic and heartless to people with mental issues. (I believe my dad has bipolar himself but he won’t admit it). It’s really affecting my life, my grades, my relationships, and I don’t know what to do. I wish I could be more open with my parents, but I don’t know how to get the support from my parents.

Phyllis replied:

 

You do need support and help, and if you aren’t getting it from your parents, you need to seek it from another adult.  Please go to your school counselor or nurse or principal and tell them what you have told me.  You are wise beyond your years to recognize that you have symptoms that need diagnosis and treatment, and it is so foolish to try to deal with this alone, when there are many medicines and treatments that could help.  It is not a sign of weakness or stupidity to get help from a professional, but it is a sign of stubborness and ignorance too to say that people with these symptoms should solve it themselves.  If you find yourself feeling suicidal and have not yet found someone to confide in who can help, here are three numbers to call for practical suggestions for receiving help:  Boys (and girls) Town:  1-800-448-3000; Childhelp USA — 1-800-422-4453; and Suicide Prevention 1-800-273-8255.  The phone call is free and so is the advice.  You are a brave person to try to help yourself without the support of your parents.

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