Essentially, it seems that you want to know if your symptoms constitute an emotional problem before you decide whether to consult a mental health professional in person. While it is impossible to provide a diagnosis over the Internet, I can provide general feedback. It’s also important to mention that you are assuming your parents would be upset if you asked them to assist you in consulting a professional but you could be wrong. Don’t assume the worst; you might be surprised by their positive reaction.
You feel uncomfortable with others and can never be “entirely open to anyone.” If I could interview you in person, I would want to know your definition of “entirely open.” Many people are at least a bit reserved no matter who they are around. They likely feel most comfortable when they are alone, with no one around to judge them. Generally speaking, what you described doesn’t seem outside the norm.
It’s also relatively common for people to worry about what others think about them. Teenagers are especially concerned about the opinions of others. Eventually, as you gain more self-confidence, you will likely care less or not at all about what people think of you. That will signify normal and healthy emotional development.
You wrote that you are often told that you need to “engage in more social situations”, but you didn’t say by whom. The person or people giving advice matters because not all advice is good advice. One must be choosy about the advice we take and from whom.
Nevertheless, research has indicated that teenagers are interacting less in person with their peers and more on social media, through their cell phones. This decreases one’s ability to develop healthy social interaction skills. It is better for you to interact with people in person than through screens. Studies of teenagers show that more time spent looking at screens often means an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety. The more face-to-face interaction you can have, the more comfortable you will feel about your social skills. Take every opportunity for face-to-face interaction. Practice will help. It will decrease your anxiety about interacting with people.
As I mentioned above, I can’t determine if something is wrong over the Internet but if you have the opportunity to meet with a mental health professional, you should do so. You don’t have to wait until something is wrong to try counseling. It will help you to develop powerful problem-solving skills that will benefit you for life. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle