What’s Wrong with Me?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have searched the internet constantly trying to find out what mental disorder I have. I know there has to be something wrong with me. I am 19 years old and I avoid everything. I don’t feel connected really with anyone other than my best friends. I only had one girlfriend in my life, but I can’t say it was a legitimate relationship because she did all the chasing and i just decided to give it a shot since I had never dated before. I can’t think straight at all anymore, I used to be so funny and insightful, but now I feel like my mind is cloudy and it takes full concentration to make a coherent thought. I’ve always been considered by my family someone with a successful future because of my A-B honor roll in school, but I would sleep through school and call in sick as much as possible to avoid socializing or trying hard at something. I always felt I could get by doing bare minimum, but life is coming fast and I fear I’m destined for failure.

I used to try to hurl myself in uncomfortable situations, like going to a rave or party, but every time I find myself either trying to gain composure in the bathroom, finding a place to sit down to not look like an idiot just standing there, or getting super shitfaced so I can try to socialize.

Sometimes getting drunk helps me get loose and have fun, but a lot of the times, usually if I’m around a girl I’m interested in, I freeze up and zip my mouth shut for the evening. I don’t think I’m ugly, I’ve always been told I was handsome, but I just don’t feel like I’ve developed as a person much, avoiding most unsettling things that could end in conflict.

I’m lazy, I have no passion, I can’t focus, I’m severely indecisive, and I feel like I’m ripping at the seams, and everyone will soon find out I am a failure. Like I had this grand facade that I was worth something my whole life, but it turns out i’m just really good at faking it. I’ve narrowed my results down to either social anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, co-dependency issues, severe ADD, or slow processing disorder. Maybe I’m making a problem entirely up in my head like everyone tells me, but I just need some peace of mind. I can’t keep obsessing over this, but I can’t help it. What do I have to do?

A: As bright as you are, you are not a mental health professional. You are trying to make a diagnosis without the education or training or experience to do it. I understand that you are worried about yourself. I absolutely agree that you need to figure out what is going on with you. But I think you owe it to yourself to stop seeking answers from an amateur (you).

You are asking important questions about yourself, your potential, and how to live your life. You’ve tried various “treatments” for your sense that something is wrong (alcohol, risky situations, a relationship) to help yourself. I admire the effort but think it’s been misplaced.

Please get yourself to a qualified clinician for an evaluation. Bring your letter and this response with you to give the session a jump-start. Be as honest as you can be. Once you have finished the assessment, the therapist will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help you.

I’m very, very glad you wrote. It was an important first step in acknowledging that you can’t pull yourself out of your funk alone. Please give a therapist a chance to join you in your efforts.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Jan 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). What’s Wrong with Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/01/01/whats-wrong-with-me-11/

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