I’m a 19 year-old female college student and am currently at a very distressing point in my life. Over the past several months I’ve managed to fail just about all my classes, although I plan to take the summer off as my family insists it would be beneficial for me to do so. I have also begun to withdraw socially from just about everyone except my boyfriend, due to a constant fear that no one understands me (it’s as if they’re all on a different planet and I feel so isolated and alone) however when a friend does try to reach out to me I immediately feel irritated while talking to them (ex: I vented to a friend earlier today and all they had to say was “Life doesn’t wait for anyone” so I immediately wanted to find a sledgehammer, jump out the window, run to their place of residence, and bash their head in with it). Intense emotional responses have never been foreign to me as I suspect that I suffer from bipolar disorder and many other mood-altering disorders as well, but it’s still distressing when it happens. Furthermore, I’ve been constantly paranoid for months, well all my life really, but it’s gotten especially bad within the past several months in that I have recurring thoughts that there are cameras everywhere and whenever I do see cameras my thoughts start to spiral, but I’m able to compose myself for the most part. I seem to be quite disorganized (ex: forgetting to put on certain articles of clothing, forgetting to eat, never cleaning my room because zero motivation to do so, or to do anything for that matter, forgetting everything I read directly after I read it, etc.) my boyfriend has noticed my behavior and mannerisms and claims I seem paranoid and talk in a very rushed manner and eyes wide and looking around everywhere (told him to not let me spend any money under any circumstances because I’ll need it for something). I also have a tendency to lose my train of thought always. Then there’s hallucinations such as seeing yetis on my way home at nights and every time I hear a bunch of people talking it gets distorted and I can’t make sense of it, constant brain chatter, etc. which again, aren’t new at all, just more prevalent than before. Just nothing ever feels… right.

A. I cannot provide a diagnosis on the basis of a letter. You mentioned a variety of symptoms but without conducting a personal interview, it’s difficult to know if they constitute a disorder. Generally speaking, the main problem seems to be your untreated symptoms.

I would recommend undergoing an evaluation with a mental health professional. For a variety of reasons, many people wait to seek help. One recent statistic indicated that some people wait 10 years before they seek help for their mental health problems. Waiting makes it worse.

Acknowledging your symptoms is a good first step. The next step is to seek treatment. Once you undergo an assessment, you will have clarity about what might be wrong. At that point, a treatment plan will be created. It will be designed to meet your needs and goals. Your symptoms are highly treatable with medication and therapy. But if ignored, they will continue to disrupt your life. Don’t needlessly suffer with treatable symptoms.

Ask your parents or your boyfriend to assist you in finding a local therapist. Once you begin treatment, you will feel relief. Maybe then you can return to school (if you want) without the interference of troublesome symptoms. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle