I’m Addi. I am 13 years old and I’m not so sure of who I am. I know who everybody thinks I am or who they want me to be, but who really am I? I don’t know. In school I’m the goody two shoes, teachers pet, basically a nerd. At home I’m the perfect child and I always feel pressured to be who they think I am.
When I was 4 my parents got divorced. It completely changed my life and I was so young. Ever since I have become careful. I had to be strong. I knew that I had to be careful with my choices because others who had divorced parents fall into a black hole of guilt and depression. I was exactly that except in my head.
I grew up with a schedule. My parents shared me and my brothers. I grew up celebrating two birthdays and not knowing who would get get me for Christmas. I grew up in school with no friends. Sure, I had people who pretended to be my friend. The best friend I had for 4 years admitted to me in fourth grade that she was never my friend.
I’m in middle school, but There’s is so much drama. I have an amazing best friend who is pretty much the only person in the school that understands the part of me I let go.
My best friend is struggling with abuse and I took her to our school counselor. That helped some, but she is still there because it is mostly mental abuse and there’s no proof.
My mind never really stops spinning with ideas of who I am and what is expected. My mind has thought of suicide, but I never actually tried. According to many surveys I am officially depressed and I feel depressed. I try to take my dog on a walk so I release endorphins which make me better, but only temporarily.
I don’t know what to do. I need help deciding who I am and weather I am the person my family and friends think I am.
Letter submitted by:
To start, I would like to compliment you on a well-written and intelligent letter. At your age, most young people are not entirely certain of who they are. They are beginning to come up with many questions and it may be several years before much of that questioning is settled. To really reach a good understanding, the questions need to be asked of yourself and worked out with yourself. What a dilemma! The good news is that, at least for this time, you needn’t try to pin yourself down and make some fixed definition. This is a period when you can try out different aspects of your personality, likes and dislikes and work to build a confident and successful adult personality. You have definite bravery and sense in the way you helped your friend get counselling - that process may be slow in helping, but if she can keep with it, she can learn skills to resist the emotional abuse and appropriate outlets for the frustration and hurt such a situation can cause. As well, she should ask her councilor to help her make a ‘safety plan’ should the abuse turn physical.
Here are a few items that can help you in working out the aspects of your personality having to do with sexual orientation… PFLAG’s (Parents, Families & Friends Of Lesbians & Gays) ‘Be Yourself: Questions for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth’ (click on the underlined title to access the publication) can be of help as you try to understand your sexual orientation/gender identity. Remember that there’s no rush to figure this out. On the underlined title, you’ll find the brochure “I Think I Might Be Lesbian…NowWhat Do I Do?” which may help you with your questions about your sexuality. If you would like to know more about what bisexuality is like, on http://www.bisexual.org you’ll find a lot of helpful information on bisexuality. If you click on resources, then bisexuality-general information, then “Bisexuality 101 from PFLAG” you can find information that may help. Another place to go is TrevorSpace at www.trevorspace.org. It’s the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having about your sexuality/gender identity and also general identity issues.
It is extremely important that you stay safe, so if your depression should get too bad and the suicidal thoughts you mentioned should get strong enough that you are seriously considering taking action to end your life, please let someone – a doctor, a councilor, a teacher or a parent know about it – if you do not want to let them know this, you can call our Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR. This helpline is staffed by trained councilors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week who will be committed to helping you. Please also make sure to give this number to any of your friends who might be in trouble (especially the one who is being emotionally abused in her family situation), as it is there to save lives and help you to reduce the hurt that might make you feel suicidal. If you feel you need to know more or have more resources than I have provided to you here, please either come back and write us another “Ask Trevor” letter or get online with Trevorchat at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat - this link will tell you the hours Trevorchat operates.
Wishing you well with your journey of self-discovery,