From a 15 year old boy in Australia: Ever since I was a very small child I’ve felt disengaged from everyone else, as a 6-10 year old only having perhaps one real friend who I very rarely spent time with and many more friends that seemed very real to me but were in fact figments of my imagination I suppose. As well as this I spent most of my time reading. I think this may be built around the sexual abuse from an older boy who I thought I was one of my best friends, or my parents divorce. This has also affected my ability to trust people in my life now.

I no longer have problems with differentiating between real and not, but since the age of eleven I have been displaying other symptoms and such. I have little to no ability to concentrate on anything, my schoolwork is going progressively downhill, I’m almost permanently hyperactive, when I’m not hyperactive I lack in any energy whatsoever; falling asleep on my desk and staying in bed all day, on a normal school night i will get 4 hours of sleep,

I go from euphoric to depressive in the blink of an eye (eg. I will be acting like I on top of the world, jumping around, laughing yelling, and five minutes later I will be crying uncontrollably as I scream at myself in my head), I’m permanently irritable, I move in extremes, either moving incredibly slowly or moving overly fast. I never feel calm, I feel the need to be physically Self destructive,I find it hard to make friends and socialise, I make myself seem cold and emotionally devoid to those I am not close to. I have severe emotional breakdowns somewhat often, and I often find myself contemplating how much easier it would be to just die.

Im sorry if I haven’t given enough data but I would really appreciate having an idea of what’s wrong with me. Thanks

A: I’m very glad you wrote. I can’t, of course, provide a diagnosis on the basis of such a short letter. What I can do is strongly urge you to see a therapist who can do exactly that. You need a professional evaluation to determine if your symptoms are an outcome of trauma, a mental disorder or your sleep disorder. There are also signs that you should be evaluated for possibly being on the autism spectrum.

In my opinion, you have suffered much too long. You deserve the treatment that can help you settle down and live a happier and more constructive life. You deserve to feel better, to have friends and to get a good night’s sleep every night.

Treatment works! But treatment is only effective if it is targeted to what is wrong.

You made an important step toward health and well-being by writing to us here at PsychCentral. Now do the next step. Make an appointment, today if you can, with a therapist who specializes in teen issues. A therapist will be able to hear your entire story and then make both a diagnosis and a treatment plan. You have nothing to lose except a few hours of your time. You have everything to gain.

If you aren’t sure how to find a therapist, talk to your parents, your doctor, your school counselor or a teacher your trust. And do take your letter and this response with you to the first appointment. It will help you get started.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie