What’s My Diagnosis?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Do I have anything? And if so, what? I am a thirteen-year old freshman in high school, and I think I may have anxiety issues, depression, paranoia or schizophrenia.

For about a year now, I have been having suicidal thoughts and have been convinced that no one truly cares about me. I have tried to commit suicide a few times via starvation–didn’t get past eight hours without food (lost motivation for suicide, hunger won out). I cut myself twice–once with a knife (very small cuts, like paper cuts–stung too much) and once with a piece of glass (looked like scratches).

I feel disconnected from the world, as if my life and life in general are pointless, simply a boring cycle doomed to repeat. I have no motivation to do anything, and if it were my choice, I would sleep, go on the computer, and listen to music all day. I am very good at hiding these feelings, however.

When I rarely do interact with the world (very, very infrequently), I cannot go up and talk to anyone I do not know for fear of embarrassment and them not liking me, and when I do get the courage to go up to them, I hang back and do not talk. I have almost no friends, and feel very disconnected from them. The only reason I feel I keep these friends is to do my required “socializing” to keep my mom happy.

Lately, I have been increasingly paranoid, thinking that people are talking about how ugly I am and their hatred of me. After this, I feel invisible and as if no one is noticing me (and I get depressed after.) I also feel that the school counselors are out to get me, and that they will do anything in their power to get me out of college.

I have also been hearing people going up the steps and calling my name when there is no one in the house, and odd whistles when I listen to music. I also have a dust obsession; everything must be cleared of dust. There can be things all over the floor, the room can be somewhat filthy, but there can not be any dust.

I have not told my mom, dad, or older brother (and if I haven’t told them, I haven’t told anyone offline) about these issues due to my extreme fear of them finding out. Help?

A. I don’t think it’s helpful to focus on what diagnoses you may have. The truth is that I don’t think you have any of the particular disorders you’ve mentioned. It’s not unusual to read through a list of symptoms associated with mental health disorders and believe there’s a match.

I think you’re having a difficult time and you don’t have anyone who can advise you or help you to feel better. You’re dealing with all these issues on your own and you’re desperately afraid to tell anyone what you’re experiencing. This needs to change.

You have not told your family and this is a major concern. It’s important that you don’t keep this a secret any longer. My main concern is that you are resorting to harmful practices as a way to relieve and soothe yourself due to psychological pain. You need to learn a better way to handle the things that are bothering you. There is a healthy way to manage stress and there’s a harmful way. It’s important that you talk to your parents and be honest about how you’re feeling. You have legitimate concerns and you deserve the proper help and treatment.

Go to your parents and tell them what you wrote in this letter. As I’ve suggested to others who have similar fears about approaching their parents, you can print this letter and give it to them. This may help your parents see that you’re serious. That is the best way to approach this situation.

Many teenagers suffer just like you do. They often believe that no one can help them so they keep their suffering a secret. The truth is that help is available but it requires you to be courageous and brave and to talk to your parents. It won’t be easy but it is what you need to do.

If you’re feeling suicidal please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 and speak to a counselor. You can also go to a local hospital for immediate help.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Sep 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). What’s My Diagnosis?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/09/01/whats-my-diagnosis-2/