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I Feel Like I’m in a Cage

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From a teen in the U.S.: Please help me sort this out! I’m not sure what to think of it. I feel like I’m in a cage. If I move, I get hurt. I feel like I am always wearing a bunch of masks even around close friends and my parents. I am worried about losing my boyfriend to the point that I can hardly eat, and I cannot stop thinking about my troubles.

I’ve been dealing with anxiety since I was old enough to remember things (about four years old. I feel like not even my best friend understands me, and that the whole world would be better off without me. Please help me sort this out! Not even the counsellors at school have helped when I talked to them… I don’t know what to believe in, and I feel like everything in my life is going completely out of control…

I Feel Like I’m in a Cage

Answered by on -


I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter, but what you are reporting does sound like anxiety. I’m very glad that you are pursuing getting help while you are young. You can save yourself years of discomfort and isolation by taking care of the problem now.

It may be that the counselors at school don’t have enough time to be helpful — or helpful enough. I think you should look into seeing professionals who can see you regularly until you feel better.

The treatment of choice for severe anxiety is a combination of medication and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. If you haven’t already, please consider seeing a prescriber to work on finding a medication that will give you some immediate relief. Then, for longer term help, find a therapist who can help you learn some new skills for managing anxiety.

In the meantime, many people find the book, Feelin’ Good: The New Mood Therapy by Dr. David Burns is a helpful self-help resource. I suggest you get a copy and work your way through the exercises in it as a way to jump start your treatment.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I Feel Like I’m in a Cage

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). I Feel Like I’m in a Cage. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.