Can’t Control My Thoughts Anymore

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Ever since I was little I’ve never fit in. I didn’t have any friends at school besides family members. I did have an invisible friend, but I hardly ever went out to recess. I always stayed inside and read books at the library. But it never bothered me that much. Also I had a problem that my sister(she doesn’t live with me) mentioned I had when I was little. I would always repeat what another person said to me, not to be snarky, but I just couldn’t help it. I researched this a little bit and I now know it to be echolalia. I also enjoyed picking at dead skin. I was moved up to magnet schools (for highly intelligent children…or that’s what they said), but I still didn’t fit in.

Middle school is when everything came crashing down. I didn’t have any friends at this point because my mother had stopped contact with the rest of my family. She worked two jobs so I never saw her either. I was forced to stay at home all day without anyone to talk to. I was teased and bullied, spat on,and I got in multiple fights. My grades dropped from straight A’s to D’s and E’s. I always sat alone at lunch, NOONE sat beside me. I did manage to make one lifelong friend I’ve had up until today, but she is constantly sick and misses multiple days of school.I even tried to commit suicide by swallowing pills, but my mother is deeply religous and had already drummed it into my head that if I commited suicide, I’d go to hell.

I decided to change my personality to try and fit in before high school because I just couldn’t take it anymore. While I was usually silent and shy, I worked on getting louder and obnoxious. And this has worked for a while. I keep the real me hidden behind an illusion of a happy go lucky high school student. But when I go home, I often cry myself to sleep.

Lately I haven’t been able to keep my facade going. I snap at people, I’m so angry all the time. I can’t even think straight anymore, my mind keeps bouncing around. I know I have Trichtillomania, I’ve pulled my hair out so much that I’m starting to go bald around the edges. This has been going on since middle school. I rock back and forth, even at school (my family, I’ve noticed, does this often as well). Then there are the voices, that are always yelling at me, and telling me I’m a failure. At first I thought it was just my invisible friends from elementary school, but now I’m not so sure. They are always yelling at me. I’m not crazy, I don’t know whether I have schizophrenia or not. I can’t even tell anymore if I’m just making the voices up because I’m so lonely.I hardly ever leave the house. And my so called “friends” that I worked so hard to achieve never invite me anywhere. We never go out anywhere. I don’t even have their phone numbers. I’m starting to realize that I only wanted them so badly because I needed them so that I wouldn’t suffer like middle school. I know this is wrong but I can’t help it.

I wanted to go to a therapist and I asked my mother but she said that they are to expensive and that if I’m having problems I should just ask God to help me. But nothing helps anymore, and I feel miserable. All I want is a little advice on what I should do. Sorry if this was so long, but I have to write everything down.

A. I am sorry that you are experiencing a difficult situation. You want help but you don’t know how you can get it. You asked your mother to take you to treatment and she refused. I can understand why you feel miserable.

You described having difficulty with social interaction for most of your life. You also described some repetitive behavior, which you identified as echolalia. I wonder if you have ever been evaluated for a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). One type of PDD that may match some of your experiences is Asperger’s disorder.

Asperger’s disorder is considered a mild form of autism. The hallmark feature of the disorder is severe and sustained impairment in social interaction. Other diagnostic features of Asperger’s disorder include:

  • Development of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests and activities. These disturbances, according to the DSM-IV, would cause clinically significant impairment in social and occupational areas of functioning.

  • Possible failure to develop peer relationships and appropriate developmental levels.
  • Lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests or achievements with other people.
  • Lack of social or emotional reciprocity.
  • Problems with nonverbal behavior such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expressions, body postures or other gestures that may interfere with social interaction.
  • Inflexible adherence to routines or rituals.
  • Stereotyped repetitive motor mannerisms (hand or finger flapping).
  • Above average intelligence.

Several aspects of your letter led me to believe that Asperger’s disorder may be a possibility including: repeating what others said (as a child), picking at dead skin (as a child; now hair pulling as an adult), difficulty with social interaction and above average intelligence. Again, please understand that I cannot diagnose you over the Internet. You may not have this or any disorder. The only way to know for certain what, if any, disorder you may have is to be evaluated by a trained mental health professional.

Here is what I would suggest that you do. If your mother is not willing to take you to treatment then speak to someone at your school who may be able to help. This may include a school guidance counselor, a principal, a teacher or the school nurse. You can also ask a trusted family member for help.

My two main concerns about your situation are that you have attempted suicide in the past and your mother is unwilling to help you seek treatment. If she is not willing to help you seek treatment, you should try to access it for yourself. This is not an ideal solution but it may be necessary. Your goal should be to find a mental health worker or therapist who can help and support you. I would strongly encourage you to reach out as soon as possible for help. Please do not give up until you find someone who will help you.

Asking for help from a school counselor is free. Community mental health centers also offer free and low-cost services to individuals on a fixed income. There are inexpensive ways to access treatment.

One phone number you should have in your possession is the national suicide hotline, 800-273-8255. If you’re feeling upset call this number and speak to a professional counselor.

If you’re feeling suicidal go to the hospital immediately, no matter what your mother says. I understand that she is religious and believes in the power of God. Faith in God can greatly enhance one’s life and personal well-being but after all God created many therapists of various kinds. Mental health symptoms should be treated by mental health professionals.

Please do not hesitate to ask for help. Thank you for your question. I wish you the best of luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 May 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Can’t Control My Thoughts Anymore. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/05/19/cant-control-my-thoughts-anymore/