Q: Hi, I think I’m depressed but I’m not sure and just need somebody to tell me, I’m too embarrassed to go to my doctor. Please I would really appreciate you’re opinion. well here it goes: I have no self esteem at all I feel fat and ugly and wish I looked like and had the personality of some one else, the thought of sex terrifies me because I’d have to let a boy see me naked. I feel that no boy will ever want me and that they’d much rather have prettier girlfriends. Also I’m very self-conscious of everything I do even if it’s just getting a new haircut I get terrified about what people are going to say about it/me and I always think they are laughing and talking about me behind my back. Another thing is I’m extremely paranoid that someone will break into my house and murder me and my family. I don’t have a social life no more because I fear going out at night time because I think that I’m going to get beat up or raped. Please help me I can’t stand feeling all this for much longer I just want to be normal like everyone else because I’m sure nobody else thinks like this. Am I depressed? Thank you for your time.

A: I can’t realistically tell you whether or not you are depressed without having met you in person, but it does seem like you have some symptoms of depression. However, from your description it also seems like you have some anxiety, in that you worry about things like someone breaking in or getting attacked. It also sounds like you are struggling with self-esteem issues – which isn’t so unusual for a 16 year old. I would suggest that you find someone to talk to about these concerns. You may try to find out if your school or community has a self-esteem/depression support group, you might consider therapy, you might consider finding some self-help books, etc. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Aside from the fears, I would say these are typical concerns most adolescents struggle with so you don’t have to feel bad about your concerns. However, I do recommend you get some help from one of the avenues I suggested so you can start to feel better about yourself. It also helps to get involved in things that you can feel good about, such as sports, writing, drama, dance, volunteering, etc. This is a great time in your life to find out what you are interested in and what you have talent with and pursue it. You need to focus on what you like about yourself, not what you don’t like. We all have traits that we wish we could change. It makes us human. But it is important to find what we like and can be proud of. I wish you luck and hope you feel better soon.