From at teen in the U.S.: I’ve had problems since childhood. When I was 12, I finally stopped fighting & and went to a psychiatrist. She started me on Prozac, which I still take now. After months I felt fine and stopped taking it. For a few months I still felt okay.

When I was 13 in May 2014, I stopped eating almost completely. Eating made me afraid. I was already underweight, but I dropped 20 pounds quickly. I couldn’t sleep without benadryl, and it was still hard. I constantly shake and I often woke up at night and rocked myself.

It was then when I started seeing figures frequently. They’re black and wispy, like shadows that roamed the halls. I’d seen them before one night when I was about 8 or 9 and I watched them walk through hallways. I started seeing them a lot more. I heard random noises, especially when I was alone. They made me really uneasy. They were like things crashing on the floors, screams, and doors slamming.

That June, my doctor gave me risperdal. Within a month, I was eating and gaining weight and able to leave. I was on it from that June to Februaryish 2015, when I switched to geodon. That made me gain weight, but not as much. I got off of that in August since I hated being fat. I got wellbutrin. For the next maybe month and a half, I felt good. I was going out, I hated being home. I stopped having fun.

It’s been like that since. Then I started feeling like I was going to fall out of my body. I started feeling like I was glitching like a videogame or something, which I hadn’t felt since 2014. I felt really creepy. For a few months now I’ve felt surreal. Everything feels like it’s not real, it feels like a dream or something, or like an alternate dimension. I’ve felt like people are constantly watching. Even when I’m alone I feel like I’m being watched. Through a camera or a window or something, I don’t know.

Sometimes I think people read my mind, which has happened since I was maybe 9. When I’m overwhelmed I keep pulling my hair out again. I’m miserable every moment and I can barely ever sleep. I can’t handle it. I feel like ants are crawling around in my back on the wall of my skin.

A:  Since you are seeing a prescriber, I hope, I hope, you are sharing with him/her what you wrote to me. You put together an articulate history of your experiences that would be very useful to anyone who is trying to help you. It is possible that you are having adverse reactions to medication. It is possible that your diagnosis needs revising. It’s possible that something else is going on.

What you didn’t mention was whether you have been seeing a therapist as well as a prescriber. If not, it’s important that you do so. Generally, either because of insurance issues or because there simply aren’t enough doctors, prescribers can only see their patients every few months. They often don’t have the time to delve too deeply into a person’s psychology. They therefore usually prefer to be on a therapeutic team that it made up of you, a counselor and the prescriber. Working together, symptoms can be treated both medically and psychologically.

If you haven’t already done so, please talk to your prescriber about whether a referral to a talk therapist would add to your treatment plan. A mental health counselor you can see regularly is likely to help in your efforts to manage whatever it is that is giving you so much distress.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie