(Not so) good vibrations

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I have a problem communicating well and feel negative vibes from others. I’m 18 years old and I’m at a time in my life where I’m constantly thinking about myself and what I’m going to get out of life.

I’m never the one to spark a conversation, and neither do I know how to properly continue one. I feel like I have trouble vocalizing my thoughts and I get the sense that I’m an idiot when I try to talk. (I know a lot of people who jokingly laugh at a lot of the things I say because of how stupid I sound- when I’m being serious.)

I have yet to have a girlfriend, and I rarely/never make the first move. Not to sound vain or anything, but I’m a good looking guy- I know plenty of girls who find me attractive. I feel like I’m wasting my life away, and that I will never succeed at anything because of all the insecurities I have.

I’m not motivated to do the important things at all. I failed a lot of classes and I attend an alternative school for students who are on the border of failing for the year. I’ve failed the permit test twice and I don’t have the attention-span to study more and pass so I can be able to drive. I basically can’t focus on anything I don’t want to do, whether that was studying, reading, or taking in large quantities of information when someone talks to me.

I moved 9 times in my 18 years of life. I feel like I had really good, close friends when I was 9-12 years old, but times have changed and I’ve moved thousands of miles away and the friends I have now don’t even deserve the title “good friends”. They irritate me to the bone, and we have nothing in common. It’s obvious we all know the friendship blows, but we all don’t say anything because we know we’ll have no lives without each other.

What’s wrong with me?

A: Thank you for taking the time to write us. One of the things I think is important to know is that the discomfort you feel and the desire for you to correct it by taking the time to write us this letter, shows that you want to change. This is the essential ingredient in any recipe for transformation.

There are three things I would do to figure out the best path:

  1. I would find a way to talk to your school psychologist and ask him or her about how you can get some testing done. A battery of psychological tests can help pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. You mentioned not being able to finish things, having difficulty finding words, difficulty following through with plans, and a lack of confidence. A battery of tests can determine if there is a common condition that may be at the root of these symptoms. Your school psychologist can point you in a direction to get these tests.

  2. I would take a public speaking or acting course to start working on your skills. These courses are designed to give you experience in finding your voice while in the company of others who may also share your discomfort and insecurity. This would be a very practical way to work on the issue.
  3. While you are still in school I would start working with a counselor there to begin sorting through the issues. He or she can also help you make arrangements for continuing your counseling once you graduate.
  4. Learn about the vibe. Psychodramatists have a term used to understand the dynamic between and among people: tele. (Like telephone, telegraph, television—something that gets projected out.) The best place to learn about this vibe is in group therapy. You can check the find help tab at the top to see specialists in your area or check here.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Jun 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). (Not so) good vibrations. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/06/20/not-so-good-vibrations/