Hi there, in places like these I go by the name Jack.

By nature, I’m a paranoid person. Very paranoid, actually, to some extreme extents. With that said, I have absolutely no trust in the family that I live with and could describe my feelings towards them as hateful. Naturally, this means I don’t talk about anything with them, and I will continue to not do so.

Some of the ‘problems’ I am reluctant to share with them involve the previously mentioned paranoia or urges that may soon get the best of me. Every now and then I see, or hear, something that I know isn’t actually there – something other people can’t see. These sightings are only brief, as soon as I try to focus on them they vanish (which torments me). However, I’m relatively OK with seeing the occasional bump-in-the-night. A problem that I believe is much worse is my boredom. Unless given a task that I am required to do, such as attending school, I am utterly and entirely bored. I fail to get anywhere near completing tasks, and I never really talk to one person for too long, because I am always bored. Even subjects that I develop a great interest in rapidly become monotonous and I have to search for something new.

All of these mentioned problems contribute to an urge, I suppose. The frustration I feel from my – albeit brief – hallucinations, the paranoia I face, and the relentless boredom all contribute to a feeling I can only describe as anger – yet it isn’t anger. I am perfectly calm, and for now, in control. This feeling is more of something internal, something that builds up and must soon be released. I find myself fantasising about taking a life so that I myself can actually feel something. Admittedly, I’m as prepared as a 16-year-old can be – I have a collection of latex gloves, 30.5 metres of rope, and other useful goodies. I really, really want this release.

My question is this: how do I go about speaking to somebody professional, someone who can tell me what I am, without informing my family? I have to know how else I can experience this release because I fear that if I took a life the thrill would not last long enough and eventually I would get arrested. I’d like to note that it’s not guilt or repentance I fear, but instead the boredom that would be ever-present in prison

A. You are only 16 years old. Everything that you’ve learned about life, existence, the nature of the universe, philosophical thought and everything else, not previously mentioned, you’ve learned in 16 years. Please bear with me. Let’s look at where you were, 16 years ago. This is also true for everyone born 16 years ago and for every other person ever born at the 16 year point in their life; you, me, and everyone else. Sixteen years ago, you were so dumb that you didn’t know your own name. They spent hours with you, trying to teach you your name. You were so dumb, you didn’t know what that big yellow thing was in the sky that hurt your eyes when you looked at it. You were so dumb, knew so little, that they had to teach you not to make little piles of poopy all over the house. You couldn’t talk. You had no idea what those strange sounds emanating from big people, meant. You would learn but it would take years. In 16 short years, you’ve learned everything that you know.

You knew nothing and now you know a lot more, but there is a lot more to learn. That should be obvious to you. If you could get into a time machine and go back and visit yourself at the age of 8¬†and say to the 8-year-old version of yourself “hey kid you think you know a lot but you really don’t know anything. You think you know but you don’t. There is sooooo much more.” That 8-year-old kid would look at you like you’re crazy and never believe a word that you said because to him he knows everything. Everything he knows is all that he knows and so he thinks that there can’t be any more than everything. But he is very wrong. Healthy people will continue to learn about the nature of life, the rights and wrongs, the things that are important, the things that they were meant to do, until the moment of their death.

You’ve talked about paranoia as if it is an acceptable thing but it is never an acceptable thing. Paranoia is by definition an unrealistic and thus false distrust of others. When you are 16, you will factually know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Santa Claus has the identical physical appearance of your parents and to believe that he looks any other way is wrong because it is false. After 16 years of existence you will know factually that no matter how hard you look in this world, you will never find a unicorn and it would be ridiculous for anyone to think otherwise. Do we need to talk about the tooth fairy? I don’t think so.

Paranoia is always unacceptable because it’s false. It is a false belief. Don’t confuse paranoia with distrust. You should not trust everyone nor should you distrust everyone. There are people who are trustworthy and there are people who are not trustworthy. If you trust those you shouldn’t, you will not prosper in life. It will hurt you. If you do not trust those that you should, then you will not prosper in life. You must learn to trust appropriately, not too much or too little, and accept the fact that you will be off a little in the trust quotient but because you are only off a little it will not hurt you to any significant degree.

I sincerely believe from the intelligence expressed in your letter that with the passage of more time and thus the acquisition of more knowledge, you will come to understand that hurting others is always wrong. You, yourself will not want to hurt others. Not because I told you not to, or you read it in a book but because you have personally determined it to be wrong from the knowledge that you’ve acquired studying religion, morality and the great philosophers.

Would you agree with me, if I said to you that you are changing? How much of you changed since you were 14? How different are you now than when you were 12? Growing up is tough. It’s much tougher than almost any parent remembers. You need to find yourself. You need to find out who you are. You need to find out what will make you happy. You need to find out what you were meant to do and with time and hopefully a good mentor or two, you’ll do just that. The teen years and the early 20s are a stormy sea to transverse, especially the teen years.

You know what boredom is? It is simply saying “I don’t like what I’m doing right now and I don’t know what to do that will make me happy.” This type of boredom, in your teen years, is both natural and healthy. It motivates you to find that which will make you happy. You are a unique human being. You are not your mother or your father or a combination thereof. You are completely unique. What makes them happy, may not make you happy. Love and respect them for the good that they have done for you and forgive them that which they have done incorrectly. Love them for trying and forgive them for falling short.

I would recommend counseling. Your counselor will be your mentor. It’s a perfectly safe place to talk to someone who can take their advanced knowledge and share its applicability to you and your unique being. Shop around a little for a therapist. When you find someone it’s easy to talk to and someone you like, you found your therapist.

Dr. Kristina Randle