From a 12 year old in the U.S.: Day in my life: I’m doing great. Then somebody says something about me. Ex: your a buzzkill.Then I feel so terrible. I over think everything they say. I then think everybody hates me. I go home. I get so overwhelmed. My head gets hot and my vision gets cloudy. I feel like crying. My chest hurts. I believe this to be a panic attack. After I have my breakdown, I feel absolutely nothing. I don’t care . I feel numb. I end up going to sleep after self harm (which I haven’t done in a very long time). I don’t understand myself. I don’t even trust who I am because I am so young.

A: Thank you for writing. You are entering a stage of life that is very, very difficult for lots of kids. The teen years are when we all try to figure out who we want to be and who we want to have as friends. Most people make some mistakes along the way. Most people feel pretty insecure in the process.

There is a lot of pressure on kids these days because of social media. During a time when nobody is perfect, it seems that everyone tries to act as if they are their perfect (or sometimes their most imperfect) version of themselves — in spite of the fact that they don’t even know yet what their “self” is really like. On top of that, everything kids say on social media is open season for others’ judgments. Yikes!

I don’t think you need a diagnosis. I do think you need some reassurance and some practical help. If you have supportive parents, do tell them what you’ve told me. They were teens once, you know. They may have some good advice. If you don’t think your parents will understand, talk to your school counselor. You need some help learning how to let other people’s opinions roll off your back.

Please work on not letting everyone in the world be your worst critic. It doesn’t matter what other people think or say. What matters is that you figure out how to be a good, decent person. Let your own voice be stronger than the name-callers and bullies.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie