Advice: lost & confused
I feel so alone. I have no friends since finishing high school, I feel like no matter how hard I try it’s never good enough. I’m constantly put down at home, but I can’t afford to leave. My twin sister died a few years ago and since then I feel lost. Like I no longer have a purpose, like a part of me is missing.
How do I feel happy? I don’t want to be this girl.
lost & confused, 17, NSW
Our psychologist says: There’s so much going on for you at the moment that you’re feeling confused and ‘lost’ in life. Loneliness, battered self esteem, having people put you down, grief and a lack of direction can all mix together to create a negative head space and an emotional low. Attempting to deal with so many complex issues all at once can feel overwhelming. Try to separate out some of the different challenges you’re facing and address them one step at a time. Having your sister pass away left a huge gap in your life. Do you feel like you’ve been able to work through your grief surrounding her death? While its normal for the sadness and sense of loss to ebb and flow, if you’re really struggling to keep moving forward because she’s gone, speak up and get support. If you’re feeling lonely and socially isolated, seek out ways to connect with people who have positive energy and who you get a boost from being around. Could you get back in touch with one or two of your old school friends? Even just a phone call or message to say ‘hi’ can get the contact ball rolling. Open yourself up to meeting other people you may have something in common with too. Do you have any particular interests? Becoming involved with a sports team, gym or community group (eg. volunteers, art project, music) may help re-vitalise your social side. If home is not a happy place for you, think about ways to minimise the time you’re spending there. For example, get out of the house to go for walks, perhaps look at work or study options and find other activities to give you a lift. If you’re lacking direction, take some time to set goals for the key areas of your life (eg. health, friendships, work/study, hobbies). Think carefully about what you as an individual value and what you would like to aim towards in the future. To keep yourself on track, set goals for each day, each week, a month, three months, a year and five years. The reachout goals sheets has useful tips for how to do this. With all you’re going through, it’s essential to seek support and help. Free online self-help programs such as moodgym and ecouch can teach you coping strategies and ways to manage your mood. Legit, well moderated online forums such as the beyond blue forums and reachout forums can a provide a safe space for you to express yourself and learn from others’ experiences. If working through everything on your own is too much at this stage, call Kidshelpline and talk through what’s been happening and how you’re feeling. Often putting your problems into words, being listened to and getting another person’s perspective can make a huge difference. For more in-person assistance, visit your GP and discuss professional support options. Your doctor may be able to recommend a grief counsellor or psychologist. Although you are in a dark place right now, don’t give up hope. It will take effort and hard work to pull yourself up, but by reaching out for help and taking positive action you can steer yourself towards becoming that girl you want to be. Take care.
(image credit: Amanda Ho)
Over to you: Our psychologist has shared her ideas, but what do you think? Can you relate to this situation? Have you got any suggestions which might help Lost & Confused ?