Do I Have Mental Illness Too?

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

I have a few family members with mental illnesses such as narcissistic personality disorder, bipolar, alcoholism, and arrested development and siblings with autism. I am not sure if I have a mental illness since I am only a teen and life is just starting out for me but I do have a lot of anxiety and I have been very depressed lately. I also have noticed that when I stopped seeing my school counselor on a weekly basis I started isolating myself from social situations and that’s when my anxiety and depression came along. It’s been 3 years since I talked with a counselor or a teacher and now when I am in need of talking with someone about my problems I find it very hard to do so without reading into their facial expressions and getting really nervous about what they think of me. When I use to stay home alone after school I use to get really paranoid and scared about every thing even when I tried to talk to myself telling myself everything’s alright. I couldn’t calm myself down and I would hide up in my room the whole time. When my mom would come home after work she would ask me why I didn’t clean or do anything productive in the time I was home. I would just tell her I was tired and I took a nap or I would tell her that I did do a few things but it was obvious that I was lying. I grew up with my parents thinking I was lazy and had no motivation of doing anything but that wasn’t the case they just didn’t know that I was just hiding the way I was feeling from them because I knew they wouldn’t understand. I have lost almost all of my friends because of my low self esteem since I am a bit on the heavy side and the constant weirdness that I have like not being able to trust people, not sure of other peoples intentions, anti social, low self esteem, a bit on the compulsive side, some OCD problems and more. I really want to be a psychologist because I like working with people and I do a lot of research on mental disorders but since now that I think I might have a problem myself I am not sure if I get diagnosed with a mental disorder they will let me go into that field. I believe I could really help people but than again if I have a mental issue how could I be a help to others. I think that if I go see a psychologist and I talk to someone about my problems then I will slowly be able to be myself again because I really feel like I am not myself and that I am trapped by what ever is going on with me. I am afraid to tell my parents about this and I feel like I have to wait to move out of my parents house before I can go get some help so I don’t have to drag them along with this. I hope you can tell me what’s going on with me and if it’s a good idea to wait to go get some help or if I should get help now. I also hope you can tell me whether or not something is wrong with me or not. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

A: Thank you for writing to us with your thoughts and concerns. The best therapists tend to be those who have had therapy for themselves and know what it is like to be on the receiving end of a therapeutic relationship. In everything your have said the tipping point for me was that things got worse for you when you stopped talking to your counselor. Since you are still in high school, go to your counselor and begin talking again. This will help to sort though your current concerns and begin the process of planning for your future. Take care of yourself now and this will serve you well in the future.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Feb 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Do I Have Mental Illness Too?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/02/04/do-i-have-mental-illness-too/

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