Do I Have a Mental Illness?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I’m not sure if my case is serious or not and would like some advice on how to handle it. I’ll start from when i was young, EVen when i was young I was all that happy, I would cry in my room telling myself I dont want to do this anymore and I changed my mind. When I was about 7 I thought I was in a coma and would wake up to my real life at any moment, I descovered the word and thought that was the only explanation on how I felt, I thought it for a few years.

I was always extremly quiet. I would put my hair in front of my face so people couldn’e see me, I got alittle older, got friends, things got alittle better. When ever i was faced with a problem with my friends I would walk away. I hit 14 and started having anxiety attacks,( still have them now) saw a psychologist for a few weeks,, didint think I could be helped so I stopped seeing her. I would miss alot of school because of it, hiding it from my parents because i didint want them to make me talk when i didint want to.

At 15 I wanted to kill myself, it wasnt just a thought it was a deep feeling iside, I never told anyone, it lasted 6 months,it actually just dissappeared suddenly all by itself, and it hasnt come back that bad since. around that time I felt liek it was hard to find my words, and i started stuttering alittle, i would get so mad about it. The stuttering has gotten alot better, but i find it even harder to find my words. I started getting into relationships, and found it really hard to care about them, but when I finally did, it was extremly over whelming. I do not know how to explain my feeling for someone, nor show them. Like I cared too much. I would start to not trust them, convinced somehting bad would happen, then if somehting bad would happen or I would get angry at them I would start pushing them hitting, screaming,,, My intention wasnt to hurt them, its more like an impulse, i get very frustrated and need to get the feeling outs ASAP.

Its more then anger it is RAGE, and I have nooooo idea why I’m so mad inside sometimes. So i’ve had some bad relationships, mostly them doing somehting worng but them me reacting completely unappropriately.I do not need to be in a relationship to be happy, im not happy anyways. I NEVER get bored, If I could I would stay inside forever,There could never be enough time for me to be by myself.

SOmetimes when somehting bad happens i will get serverly depressed, but then Boom, it goes away all by itself suddenly, its a good thing,,, but I think it makes me care less and less about things. I have trouble balancing my emotions, I stop caring becasue when I do its to much, Its not even like I do it on purpose, it just happens. For as long as I can remember I always thought that I didint belong here, I am not liek everyone else, People are moving all around me and I feel like I cannot move with them. I act how I am expected to, if something is suppossed to be funny, I laugh ect… I get very caught offgaurd when a stranger talks to me or asks me a question, like are they talking to me??? ALmost liek there not suppossed to or something. Reality seems unreal to me. I cannot comprehend it.the past seems non existant. I am reminded of things I forget ALL the time, I even forgot someone died once, I got confused on wether certian things really happened or not.I get in my car and dont rmemeber driving until im almost there and get so scared that I didint obey the traffic laws. I feel like I am on auto pilot 50 percent of the time.

I CANNOT make desicions, even small ones. I do not know what I want. I do not know who I really am. I feel like I have no ground, no foundation of my self. It makes me feel like I have no personality, my nature is more robotic then full of personality. im 24 and have 2 kids now. WHen my first daughter was born, I didint feel anything, I didint cry, I didnt even want to hold her. I was sfcared, depressed, unaffected. with time we bonded, And I love her more than I thought I could love anything now. I feel so bad for feeling the way I did. My second child was easier, I knew I would love her as I do now. I love being around them They are full of enthusiasm and its inspirational to me. But makes me notice how different I am from them. Ive stayed home for 6 years taking care of them, I think I’ve done a good job, but its made me trying to go out into the world even harder now. before I had them I never wanted to live, Im not very enthusiastic about it now, But i would NEVER intentionally hury myslef, inturn it would only hurt them and that I could never do.

a few things have happened to make me realize i really might need some help, Im scare dof everything, I feel like a child thrown onto a completley different planet. I feel like evryone else around me grew, learned, and formed goals and interests but me, I feel Im stuck, or I missed something that everyone else didint, I did not have a bad childhood, the onyl bad thing that happened was my dad leaving when i was 15, but I knew it was for the best and for everyones best interest, I have no grudges, I still talk to my father atleast once a week, i dont think thats an issue.

I’m scared to tell people I feel like this, I do not want them to think they did anything wrong and I do not want to seem ungratefull. I know something needs to chnage. ANy advice would be greatly appriciated, thank you , ohh and both my mother and grandma where clinically depressed, my mothers sisters family has a few problems ( mental retardation, speech impediments) My aunt had a violent side. And in gernal I am very calm, no one knows or supects I feel this way.

A. Over the Internet, I cannot tell you if you have a mental illness but I do have some advice. It would be extremely beneficial to you and your children if you met with a therapist. I say this because you have a lot of fears, anxiety, depression and maybe other symptoms that you are not able to resolve own your own. Many people with the help of a therapist have successfully worked through many of the issues that you have mentioned. He or she can help you learn to become “unstuck.”

While you mentioned that you did not have a “bad childhood,” it is possible that you never had good or proper role models or were never taught how to handle your emotions properly. Maybe your parents never taught you how to deal with fear or they may have inadvertently reinforced your fears. Parents do not always do a good job of preparing or teaching their children how to live out in the “real world,” how to handle difficult life situations, and so forth. This does not mean that they were bad parents. It just may mean they were never taught these lessons by their parents and really did not know any better. The problem for you and others in a similar situation is that now you are faced with having to learn these lessons and skills on your own and this can be difficult. This is where a trained therapist can assist you.

Lastly, I commend you on your dedication to your children. They are lucky to have a mom so caring and concerned about their well-being. And as you probably already know, and perhaps this is why you wrote, your children need a mom who feels good about herself, who is emotionally stable and who is not crippled by fear. Children tend to mimic their parents’ thoughts and behaviors and sometimes your issues can unintentionally become their issues. By getting the assistance of a therapist, you can deal with these issues and ensure your children become well-balanced, healthy adults. Why try to handle this on your own? You do not have to. I strongly encourage you to try therapy again. Thanks for writing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Jan 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Do I Have a Mental Illness?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/01/11/1213/