I’ve had an imaginary friend for years. Lately, when I see myself in the mirror, I hear her telling me how worthless I am. She seems to take over and I can’t do anything to stop her. I’ve been carving words, of her choice, into my skin because I can’t help but agree with her when she tells me what a failure I am. I feel as though I need a permanent reminder of her words. Recently, my imaginary friend has been telling me to seriously hurt those I don’t get on with. I get scared because of the evil things she tells me. I don’t want to have bad thoughts, I like to consider myself a nice person, and I would never hurt anyone. When I refuse to harm anybody, she screams insults at me until I end up really upset and unsure about myself. I don’t know what to do. Is my situation dangerous? I would never ever hurt anybody, no matter what she says. But I get scared. What should I do?

A: I am so sorry you are having these difficult experiences, and I’m very glad you wrote us here. But this is not an imaginary friend. Imaginary friends serve very different purpose in development. Whatever this voice is, it isn’t operating like a friend.

I would encourage you to make an appointment with a psychiatrist to explain how these commands are getting more intense. An imaginary friend doesn’t tell you to cut words into your skin or hurt people. We want to find out what’s going on — a psychiatrist is a good place to get some answers.

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