For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a worrier. I’m now 15 years old (I’m a girl) and this anxiety is worsening. Anxiety and panic does run in my family but I don’t know if I have it. I’ve recently been looking into anxiety disorders and a lot of things would make sense. Symptoms I fall under are physical weakness, poor memory, fear or confusion, inability to relax, constant worry, shortness of breath, palpitations, upset stomach, and poor concentration. My earlier memory of panicking was about the age of five. My mom was leaving for work and as she drove I away, a stared out of the window wondering if she’d come back, or if she’d get hurt in an accident or something. I don’t know if that is normal at such a young age. Do you think I have an anxiety disorder? (Also, my father is an alcoholic and much of my childhood was of my parents yelling at each other and a few major incidences. My personality is very different than my siblings, which nobody really knows where it came from]).

I’m constantly feeling guilty. Even the smallest things make me feel bad. If my sister wants me to get her something and I tell her no, I will lie in bed later think about it, basically yelling at myself until I cry. Even things from many years ago, like raising my voice in the slightest bit, makes me feel guilt. Do I have excessive guilt? Could it tie into anxiety or even depression? How do I tell my mom I think I have an anxiety disorder? Please help!!

A. I’m sorry that you are struggling. It’s difficult to make a definitive diagnosis over the Internet but it seems that anxiety may be a problem for you.

People who experience anxiety disorders often live in constant fear. Fear and anxiety decrease one’s quality of life. Anxiety is quite an unpleasant experience. People who are anxious are hypersensitive, tense, irritable, and often feel a general sense of unease. Anxiety takes a physical toll as well. Chronic worrying interferes with sleep, appetite and everyday life activities.

The good news is that anxiety is a very treatable condition. The first step to accessing treatment, in your case, will be speaking to your parents. Tell them that you think you have anxiety. You can also show them your letter you wrote to us at Psych Central. The letter is important because it details your experiences with anxiety. Once your parents are made aware of your anxiety, hopefully they will assist you in seeking mental health treatment.

Don’t think that counseling will only help you deal with the anxiety that you currently are experiencing. It will also help to prevent anxiety.

When you speak to your parents, be direct about asking them to see a mental health professional. By speaking to your parents you are advocating for yourself which is exactly how you should be handling this situation. I hope you’re able to receive the help that you desire. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle