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What should I do when my religion limits my life and makes me unhappy?


Dear Network Doctor,

I am writing about depression. I DO NOT HAVE AN IDEAS WHY I HAVE THIS AS HERE !! I think myself have depression since I have taken more tests and have checked online symptoms. I found out that I have 8/10 of the symptoms. I have lack of concentration, mood swings, appetite disturbances, sleep disturbances, suicidal thoughts (multiple times), reduced sexual activity, compulsive thoughts (thoughts of hurting people, nightmares, looking horrible pictures for me) and sadness where I just want to cry for no reason.

I do not know why I have this and it has been on for several months. I can not go to my doctor, mom, dad, or anyone. My parents / siblings would take it like a joke. They would say that it was a period I'm going through.

I do not have very many friends and I do not think I need anyone. I have never smoked / drank when I am religious - but the mind has staggered me. I have also had suicidal thoughts and thoughts about cutting myself, but I can see that it is not really a solution.

I would rather not have my mother or my doctor involved. My mother takes care of me but does not know me at all, which is my fault because I reject her. I do not want to have compassion from anyone or something.

Something else is also about a girl that I like. It is very confusing. I have known her for almost three years. I am religious and my parents strongly oppose that I am writing / talking / is near girls. I do not have a boyfriend, drink or smoke. Nothing. I feel I do not have anything. I can not sleep with my friends, but sometimes they have to sleep with me. I must not go anywhere without my parents knowing that. That's why I sometimes have to lie.

The girl here is worth it. I tell them I'm with my friend but really with her. I'm going to 9th grade and will soon finish school - but I do not want to lose her. I'm 100% that we lose contact, and I really do not want to. I'm sorry to ask her if she wants to be with me - for that I wanted all my heart. I will collapse if I do not ask - but I do not dare.

I am confused, powerless and have no courage. I do not know what I feel right now. I feel nothing. That is where suicidal thoughts come in. I do not know what to do. I am writing with people online and asking for advice. They say I should ask. Invite her out. Pfft, easier said than done. I dare not. I can not make sense of life. Why do I feel like this? Why am I so bad? I hope you can help.

Yours sincerely,

One Question


Dear Questions,

It is with great compassion that I have read your letter because I understand that you are suffering and do not get any kind of understanding from your closest. Therefore, it is very good that you write this letter completely anonymously, where you do not risk being ridiculed or not taken seriously.

First of all, I want to say to you that you have no depression but that you are completely responsive to the fact that your parents are closest to you in prison. You are not allowed to live a life like your peers because of your parents' very strict religious attitudes and therefore it is fully understandable that you feel isolated, lonely and suicidal.

You do not dare to talk to anyone about how you feel at all, but it's too hard to go alone with the thoughts you have. Your parents act as well as they can, in relation to their religion, and also provide care in some areas. But it is very important that you somehow tell them how you go and have it. You can not do that without someone helping you. I have the following suggestions:

1) You can call the "Children's Phone", phone number: 116 111, where you can talk to a person whom you can trust and ask for advice. It's completely anonymous and could be a support for you so you could have courage to talk to your parents. There is a lot of information about your life that I need to give you the right advice, but in a conversation you can better elaborate your situation.

2) You can talk to an adult at your school - either a teacher you trust, the school psychologist, school secretary or someone else you tell how unhappy you feel. Possibly, this adult could help you have a conversation with your parents where you can tell them how you go and have it.It is important that your parents listen to you and with support from eg. A psychologist can put a plan for how to get better. In such a conversation you could also come in on whether you finished after 9 PM. could attend a kindergarten so you could feel more freedom and free yourself from your parents' strong control of your life.

It's great for you to know a girl you like. It will certainly be very important for you to continue your contact with her. But it's not so nice to lie to your parents when you're with her. It takes courage to tell your parents that you know this girl, which you would like to see once in a while.

Are your siblings subject to the same kind of control and would you like to talk to them about how they manage to have social intercourse with peers?

When you first get a grip on your sense of isolation and tell others, as I have suggested, you will find that it is not as hopeless as you think now, where you go entirely alone. It will be very instructive for you to turn to others, and you will definitely find that there is help downloading. You will hopefully also find that with some help from the outside, you can get in touch with your parents, who certainly want the best for you - but that they have not been aware that you are so bad at this time.

So I wish you courage and strength to talk to others about your difficulties.


Birgitte Winkel

Cohabitation therapist and social worker

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