I am always paranoid of what people think of me, who I hang out with and if my friends said “Hi” to me or not. I do not know what to do and I even think about my future of who I will hang out with, who will be in my class and so on. It is depressing and I feel often sad and upset that I overthink too much. What should I do? My last year is next year and I want to focus on myself and my grades but it is difficult when society is in the way.
A: First of all, I want you to know you are not alone in these feelings. I’d venture that most teens feel this way a good deal of the time. You are at an age and stage where you are figuring out a lot about life, relationships, and what and who you want to be. it can be overwhelming at times. It can make a person anxious and depressed. But it’s perfectly normal to have those concerns.
The people who seem to make it through the best are those who have a passion about something that takes their mind off all those confusing issues a good part of every week. There’s something about sharing experiences with people who have a smiliar commitment to something outside of themselves that cuts through some of the anxiety or at least sets it aside for awhile. Some kids find their passion in music and get into a band. Some join a theatre group. Some work at a sport or two. Others spend hours in the dance studio, an art studio, or the gym. Still others find meaning in volunteering for a cause, helping out at an animal shelter, or getting involved in politics. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you really care about it and join up with other people who care about it too.
If you don’t yet know what would grab your interest, try a bunch of things. You’ll know when you find it. When you do, you’ll discover that it is by getting involved that you’ll find yourself. A bonus is that people who are passionately involved with other things often do better in school as well.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Jan 2012
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Mild Paranoia. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 7, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/24/mild-paranoia-2/