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Am I Going Through a Phase or What?

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From the U.S.: This question is probably me just trying to get attention. Or just a 12 year old totally overreacting. And this whole thing probably won’t make any sense, but I really don’t know what to think anymore.

So back in March I noticed that sometimes I was unable to inhale deeply and it would be like that for 20-30 minutes. Worried, I consulted google and saw that it could be associated with anxiety. I ignored it. Then sometimes when I was home I would get really dizzy, my legs would get weak and I would lose my balance. It was a bit scary so I looked it up and found that it can also be associated with anxiety. This kind of freaked me out, so I took an online screening test and it said that I had moderate anxiety. (I have no idea how accurate those screening tests are) After that I became paranoid with the possibility that I had anxiety, also a bit scared. I started taking a bunch of screening tests getting around the same answer every time. I also got very confused about whether I was somehow subconsciously exaggerating my answers, or if I was actually telling the truth with my answers. I then started suspecting that I could instead have other kinds of disorders like bipolar, ocd,and depression. (And no I am not bullied, and have plenty of friends) This all continued until school ended.

When school ended I started staying on the computer all day, staying up late, etc. But around mid july I started getting really bored with what I was doing and sometimes when I really couldn’t find anything that I wanted to do, I would get really tired and end up taking nap. When august began I started getting worried about having a disorder again(this time depression) because I had started thinking about some really bad and negative things. My family has become a bit worried that I could have agoraphobia since I stay inside almost all the time. I’ve tried saying some things to my dad but whenever I try to talk about myself I always end up talking really fast and he just can’t keep up with me.

Now I have no idea what is wrong with me. Am I just going through a normal phase? Am I seeking attention? Is this actually something serious? Should I even bother asking for answers if this is just something stupid? Am I someone just trying to diagnose herself? Its really frustrating. This probably all sounds like I’m just being overly dramatic, which I really hate when other people do, so I am very sorry if I’m being a nuisance.

Am I Going Through a Phase or What?

Answered by on -


For someone who is only 12, you’ve done a lot of research and a lot of thinking. That tells me you are a smart and sensitive young woman. However, sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The screening tests aren’t meant to be conclusive. They only give a person some direction.

In your case, the first direction I would point you to is your doctor. I don’t know if your trouble with breathing is anxiety, an allergy or something else entirely. We always start with making sure there isn’t a medical explanation before moving to a mental health one. If you are still having periods where it is difficult to inhale, please make an appointment with your doctor and have her or him listen to your lungs. I certainly hope there’s nothing wrong but it’s wise to check.

Then again, thinking about the possibility of anxiety was making you anxious. So you may have created the very symptoms you were worried about it. It happens.

Then — to add to the issues, you developed a sleep disorder (staying up too late and napping during the day) and you were bored, bored, bored. How is it that someone as bright as you are didn’t find something to do this summer? Spending most of your day and night on a computer was a waste of your time and your life.

Yes, I know. Work is hard to find at your age. But you could have done some volunteer work. Having some work experience would help you position yourself to get a paid job in a few years. The more experience people have, the more likely they are to get hired.

Kids your age often volunteer at camps, at recreational centers, at nursing homes and hospitals, or at animal shelters — just for starters. Or you could have gone to a camp. (If money was an issue, most camps have scholarships). There are camps for every interest you can think of. You could have been developing that brain of yours and could have used the summer to become more expert at something that interests you. You would have also had the opportunity to meet other people who share your interests.

What’s done is done. Summer is over and a new school year is starting. Do see your doctor to just check things out. Get off that computer. Put yourself on a reasonable sleep schedule. Put good effort into your studies. And, please, find a club or organization or sport that engages your mind and attention. You have too good a mind to waste.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Am I Going Through a Phase or What?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Am I Going Through a Phase or What?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 22 Sep 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.