From a teen in Canada: um… I really don’t know how to say this but I’ve been wanting to have a mental disorder for years now, and I know you will think I’m just seeking attention like everyone else, but I’m not. There’s no one who i want to pay attention to me. In all honesty, I think it’s because I want people to stay away from me… to fear me, almost.

It’s hard to do this because ever since it started I’v been telling myself I’m just being overdramatic, or in my dad’s words “lying to myself”. I tell myself I’m not special in any way, that the things I see at night are just hallucinations to get attention, like others. Half me just want’s the other half to finally accept reality, and the other half just can’t tell the difference from a dream. I’m really confused and I just want to know.. well, the answer to whatever question I’m trying to get across.

A: The first thing that occurred to me when I was reading your letter was that you may have a sleep disorder. I wonder if you are looking for a “reason” you are having hallucinations and have landed on a mental illness as an explanation.

If you aren’t getting 9 hours of continuous sleep each night, it could be causing what you believe to be hallucinations. That’s the first thing I’d want to talk to you about if you were seeing me. If sleep is an issue, that needs to be addressed immediately.

I would also want to explore with you why you find it an attractive idea to have others fear you. Perhaps you have been hurt in some way. Perhaps you feel so uncertain about your relationships that you would rather avoid them than try to figure out how to make and maintain friendships.

As you can see, a therapist would be more helpful at this point than I am. Please consider finding a local therapist who can ask the questions that will help you figure out what is going on. Once you know that, you will be better able to decide what to do.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie