I honestly have doubts when it comes to my mental sanity. I will start by saying that I face social anxiety and that I isolated myself from the world, avoiding most interactions with others and rarely leaving home. I cannot make friends as I find myself unable to open up to people, family included. I have a phobia of loud noise (yelling, firecrackers even balloons). I saw a therapist but I have again discovered that I could not open up at all, being misunderstood every time I tried. Due my age and lack of money I had to give up after a few tries. I can’t remember my childhood very well, but it was a little rough (emotionally). I find myself unable to talk about it. In middle school I experienced bullying because of shyness. I admit having serious self-esteem issues — when I could not cope with the sadness I would blame and insult myself. That would make me feel “emotionally numb” after a while so the sadness would be gone. Lately everything worsened. I often go to extremes: I feel either real happy, extremely sad or simply numb — feeling nothing at all. I cry fast, usually for reasons that I do not know myself. I cannot talk about emotions at all, finding myself completely unable to explain no matter how hard I try, I end up saying things I don’t mean at all. Yet there is someone that managed to crack up that wall, only just a little: my boyfriend. Honestly I have no control over myself, I am not even sure what kind of person I really am, yet he manages to calm me every time. He became what I would call an emotional brake. I am stable as long as he is there. Yet if something like a minor fight happens, my emotions go berserk. Thoughts of self-harm or not eating start crossing my mind, suicide even. Yet I know myself that I will never give in, I am afraid of pain. I became dependent on him, and I know myself that is no good. I am scared. It feels like if he takes one step back I will crumble down. What should I do? Should I try again to find a therapist? Is it all just in my head as my family tries to convince me? (age 17, from Romania)Confused, Overthinking and Rather Afraid
Confused, Overthinking and Rather Afraid
Yes, I think you should try again to find a therapist. Depending on just one person for support is never a good thing and it can ultimately strain the relationship. I would suggest that you interview potential therapists, looking for a good fit, so that you will feel more comfortable this time. If that isn’t possible to do in person, at least ask for a preliminary phone consultation, check out therapy profiles and websites or ask for a recommendation from someone you trust, such as your doctor or school counselor. The more comfortable you are with the therapist, the more likely it is that it will be successful. However, keep in mind that it takes time to build trust and rapport and the therapist can only work with the information you give them, so force yourself to be extremely honest.
You might also benefit from medication to help stabilize and lift your mood. It sounds like you are in a fragile place right now so you may need to try lots of different things to help you feel better. This should include a healthy diet and exercise, as well as trying new activities or hobbies. You will never know what kinds of things will make you happy unless you try them. There is an entire world waiting to be explored. I’m very glad that you have connected with your boyfriend, which should prove to you that you CAN connect to others, but now it’s time to broaden your scope.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts