Home » Ask the Therapist » Parenting » Is It Just a Normal Teenager Thing?

Is It Just a Normal Teenager Thing?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

From a 15 year old girl in Malaysia: Hi. I’m having a problem. In the past 3 years, I’ve had a terrible mental breakdown, and I feel depressed on and off. I feel depressed mostly because I think of myself as a failure, or because I’m afraid of the future and failure. Sometimes for no reason, I cry at night, but I’m able to laugh the next day.

The thing that disturbs me is that I feel like I’m trapped in a cycle. The cycle goes like; feeling fine, feeling depressed and then feeling numb. By numb I mean I can laugh, but I can’t seem to feel any other feelings beside that and anger.

I also have sleeping problems. I sleep too much during the day and less at night. My body always feel exhausted, though I don’t do much at school except for walking up the stairs.

I feel mad at myself most of the time for not having a goal or a dream, and for letting myself go. Sometimes I wonder if this is the real me. Like, what happened to the happy child I used to be? Is this really the me I used to know?

I think it’s a normal phase for teens, but is it really is? My feelings are a bit too much sometimes. How do I cope with this of it’s going to continue for years in the future?

Is It Just a Normal Teenager Thing?

Answered by on -


Yes, it’s normal for teens to be worried about the future, to feel under pressure to preform in school and to feel down at times. But your letter suggests something beyond the usual concerns and feelings of a 15 year old. For that reason, it would be sensible for you to see a counselor who can sit down with you and hear your whole story. It maybe that you just need some perspective. But it could also be that you are suffering from a treatable depression.

I’m also concerned that your sleep cycle is disturbed. Do some research on sleep disorders. It’s possible that at least some of your distress is an outcome of too little or too irregular sleep. If that’s the case, a counselor can help you learn relaxation techniques that will help you get back into a normal sleep routine.

You made a positive first step by writing to us here at PsychCentral. Please take care of yourself and take the next step. Talk to your parents, a trusted teacher or school counselor about how to get an evaluation by a counselor who specializes in adolescents. You deserve it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Is It Just a Normal Teenager Thing?

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). Is It Just a Normal Teenager Thing?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 21 Dec 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.