struggling on finding help
Being a child of samoan parents can be very difficult sometimes. I struggle to open up to my parents emotionally because of emotional traumatic experiences i’ve witnessed with my siblings when I was little. My parents don’t understand mental health because of the generational trauma they faced, they never learnt about depression or anxiety, they just learnt how to keep quiet about their emotions. This lead me to the point where I can never ever talk to them about my mental health at all. It’s very unhealthy because every now and then I bottle up so many repressed emotions to the point where I break down alone in my room. Not only that but my mother has a victim complex, she will think that I can never feel depressed or sad because I don’t have it as bad like she does. If i did open up to them they will lecture me about how I shouldn’t feel this way or what’s causing me to feel sad like, “it’s because your lazy” or “it’s because of your phone”. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for the things they provided me, but sometimes what I need isn’t always materialistic. It’s very hard for me to be mad at them because I know they didn’t have that kind of support growing up and right now I don’t have the support either. I’m scared about asking to see a therapist because I know it can be costly, and I know that my mother would use it against me if I didn’t do something she liked. This trend of not being able to open up within polynesian families is such a big issue that keeps me tied to not speaking up about how I feel. I feel so alone within my own family just because I don’t have that emotional support from them. In their eyes I can never be depressed because of the fact that I’m still a teenager. But I shouldn’t be feeling this way at such a young age. This generational trauma breaks my heart every time, all my siblings have been faced with the same emotional trauma and I don’t think they can help themselves as well. Right now, my only support of emotional support is through the school youths peoples or my friends.
Thank you for sharing your experience. It's clear to see that despite the hardship you face, you have grown to become a very emotionally intelligent and empathetic person. I can understand why it would be difficult for your parents to open up and how their own trauma has affected you and your siblings. Unfortunately, we can't force others to change, we can encourage them and point them in the right direction, but the motivation to change has to come from within themselves. It is great that you have your friends to support you and hopefully you and your siblings can support each other as well.
You mentioned looking for a therapist and being worried about the cost. I would highly recommend if you have a school counsellor, speaking to them and explaining that you want to keep the sessions private. There's also Headspace which provides free counselling for young people, this could be a really great option as well. Lastly, we're always here to talk at Beyond Blue, on the forums and over the phone on 1300 224 636. We're here for you.
Wishing you the best,
You are allowed to feel the way you feel. Your young age does not determine how or what you should be feeling. Acknowledge it by just accepting.
I’d recommend you to journal your emotions, and observe what causes it.
another thing you can do is writing a letter to yourself, speak kindly to your inner child, be comforting.
this can be a way to get the love and emotional support your parents never give you.
I completely understand where you're coming from with Samoan parents. I am also Samoan, and I know how toxic (unfortunately) it can be. Although my parents are now slowly learning, my parents didn't know until very recently that I am in therapy (I am in my late 20's and started therapy last year after years of questioning it). Unfortunately, generational trauma is huge in our culture and it is always unspoken.
Our parents (all polynesian parents) are not easy to talk to because they don't have that understanding.
Do you belong to a church? I was able to access affordable therapy through my church, without my family knowing. I don't know what state you are in, but I am pretty sure there are organisations in your community that may be able to help you find affordable therapy.
Please know that you are never alone! The other posters have also made some great suggestions so I hope you are able to find the help you need! On facebook there is a really good page for polynesians and mental health, look up Alovili Home