Something is wrong with me

By Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D.

For years now, it seems like the same thing has been happening. At random times, mostley at night, I will find myself in a panic. I lock myself in the bathroom and hysterically cry at almost anything. When this happens, I feel as if I have no self control. I get paranoid, anxious, and impatient. I even go to the extent of making things up in my mind, things that are possible of happening but chances are unknown.

For instance, sometimes I think of my sister getting into a car accident and dying, and in my mind somehow I make it a reality for the moment.

For the past few years, I would calm myself down by cutting, burning myself, and even taking up to 15pain reliefs at a time. I have been clean from those terrible habbits for about six months. Lately I have been writing during these outbursts to try and calm down, but now it seems like nothing is working.

I have never been the type to talk to friends about these outbursts. I have talked to my mom before and mentioned seeing a doctor, but she says it’s just a teenager thing. In all honesty I know it isn’t. I need advice please.

A: Hello and thank you for your question:

It certainly sounds like you are going through an awful time and I can see why Mom may think that it’s just a teenager thing. The truth is, there is really no harder time in life than adolescence, but it sounds like you have more going on than just “growing pains” or whatever they call teenage problems.

Teenagers suffer terribly; nearly half of my patients are teens and the problems seem similar on the surface. There are a few things that teens have in common and that causes anxiety and depression in them.

First, they feel that no one understands them. And the hard fact is, most adults really don’t. We try to compare our adolescence to yours and that’s unrealistic. Life isn’t the same for you as it was for me. It really is much harder now.

Second, cutting, burning, and popping pills is common but a scary thing for adults to know about, let alone try to understand. So, when our child tries to tell us how hard things are, we may block it out, not believing that she really has some serious problems going on.

Third, adults are still a little skeptical about mental health issues. Sometimes we may think that it isn’t real, and doesn’t need help. They may be ashamed that someone in their family needs a doctor for this kind of thing.

Fourth, adults may think that if we ignore the problem it will go away. Truth is, the child learns to bury their feelings and “pretend” that things have gotten better. Then they cut themselves, or use drugs.

Here’s what I suggest—show your mom this letter and ask her to take you to a doctor for some help. You may have a physical issue that can be addressed by your pediatrician.  Or, it may be an emotional issue.

Either way, you are in trouble and need a professional. You can find some local therapists by clicking on Find A Therapist. You may even need medications, but first, I would suggest you find a therapist who specializes in working with teens.

He or she may recommend your seeing a psychiatrist for medications, but ask your mom to help you take the first step. Hurting yourself with cutting and burning is very serious and should not be ignored by a parent.

I hope this helps,

Dr. Diana Walcutt

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Aug 2009

APA Reference
Walcutt, D. (2009). Something is wrong with me. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/08/13/something-is-wrong-with-me/