Out of control and scared

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 19 and I’ve been having these problems for the past few years: suicidal thoughts, self-mutilation, out of control eating patterns, depression, mania, drinking and drug abuse, excess sleep, intense unstable relationships, and low self esteem.

However, none of these problems have reached a point where they have really affected my life, sometimes certain ones are stronger at times than others, examples would be: sometimes I self harm a lot, sometimes I go months, almost years without, sometimes I smoke often, sometimes weeks without smoking. I get depressed a lot, and have very strange eating patterns, I’ll fast a few days then binge a few days and it goes in a never ending cycle. I can’t hold a relationship, I get very intense/obsessed with a person at first, then lose interest completely within weeks of meeting someone. I have serious fear of commitment It’s very strange, and I find myself constantly wanting drugs, but can’t afford or get a hold of any, but I always want excess amounts. I can’t be with people drinking and not drink. I have sex a lot randomly, but don’t have a very high sex drive at all….I find myself very lost and confused about who I am and what I’m doing with my life, but sometimes I feel okay. I am obsessed with my parents not being dissapointed in me, yet I’m always doing things that disapoint them. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I want to get help but I never will I’m too scared. Any insight on what my issues are would be great, thanks.

A: We both know that these thoughts and feelings are effecting your life – big time. You are hardly ever at peace. You can’t hold onto relationships. You feel bad about yourself most of the time. You regularly put yourself at risk with drugs, drinking, and casual sex. So let’s get real and get busy. You don’t need insight. You need action. Trust me. Help can’t be any scarier than what you’re living with now. With coaching from a good therapist, you could be in a much better state of mind in only a few months.

You are lucky to live in a city where there are so many therapists that if you throw a rock you’ll hit one. Ask your doctor for a referral. Too shy to do that? Then just go to the phone book and look under “psychologists” and “psychotherapists”. Make some calls. Most therapists are happy to talk on the phone a bit to give you a sense of how they work. Many offer the first session free or at a reduced rate. I always encourage people to “shop” a bit by interviewing a few people. The most important predictor of success in therapy is whether you feel that the therapist is someone you can trust.

With the problems you are describing, I do urge you to look for someone who is comfortable with offering a combination of medication and talk therapy in case medication is appropriate. “What?” you say. “I’m scared of medication!” — No you’re not. You are already medicating yourself with drugs and alcohol and it isn’t working. Let’s instead try some medication that is targeted to your problems and that is under the supervision of someone who knows what they’re doing.

Even though you are scared you did ask for help by writing. That’s an important first step. Now – please – take the next one and make those calls. You have a whole life ahead of you that could be so much better if you’d do the work to get yourself on track.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Mar 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Out of control and scared. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/03/02/out-of-control-and-scared/