Advice Columnist: Dear Elizabeth
I just found out that my parents are getting a divorce and it is really taking a toll on me. The problem is that my parents are both so wrapped up in their own feelings, that they can’t seem to remember that this decision not off affects them, but my siblings and I as well. My mom has become really depressed and my dad has pretty much disappeared, and I feel like I can’t talk to either of them about how I feel. I am also really worried about my younger sister. She is in middle school, so I know she understands what is going on and I can’t imagine what it is like to be at home during this time and I’m worried that she’s taking the news harder than she’s letting on. How can I help her and my parents and myself?
– Out of Answers
Dear Out of Answers,
I first want to send my condolences. I know the stress of college, especially around this time, and I can’t imagine the extra stress that all of this is putting on you. My first question, and suggestion, should the answer be no, is have you spoken to anyone about this? I know that you mentioned your parents are not really in the place to talk right now, but have you spoken to anyone to get these feeling out? If not, I strongly suggest you do. Whether it be the University Counseling Center, Middle Earth, or simply a group of friends, I think it’s really important that you tell someone how you are feeling. I know that doing so won’t change things, but I think that it will make you feel better than holding all of this in. In regards to your sister, I think you should suggest the same to her. Remember though, that if you tell her she needs to talk to someone, and you haven’t done so yourself, she’s likely to blow off your suggestion. Perhaps you can be each other’s person to talk to. No one knows the situation better than you and your sister and whether you believe it or not, I would imagine that you have a lot of the same thoughts, feelings and wishes about this situation. If you decide that talking is not how you want to go about getting these feelings out, perhaps writing is an option? You could write a letter, or just a bunch of random thoughts and feelings out on a piece of paper and I think you would be surprised how much doing that would help. When and if your parents are ready to talk, I think it’s important you tell them how you feel and your opinions. You are being greatly affected by this as well, and I hope that your parents will be understanding and willing to help you, however you all see best fit. To sum up, my advice to you is to get your feelings out of your mind and body in whatever way you can, and once you have them all sorted out, see how you feel and what your instinct tells you is the next step to take. You’ll know what to do, just trust yourself! And don’t put too much extra pressure on yourself either; being perpetually stressed and overwhelmed is never healthy.
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