I’m with your friends. These are not normal thoughts for a 14-year-old. Sure, lots of kids think about these things now and then. Movies and video games are full of these kinds of images. But you’re talking about a longstanding preoccupation with harming others. It’s to your credit that you wrote. I think a part of you is upset by the images and knows it is beyond what is okay.
I think you need to do two things:
- Talk to your doctor. Believe it or not, there are medical problems that can cause people to have disturbing thoughts.
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep as well. Sleep disorders can scramble a person’s thinking.
If everything comes up fine medically, it’s time to see a counselor who specializes in adolescents. An experienced counselor can help you sort through what these images are about and teach you how to manage them. Too shy to talk to a counselor? Then start by talking to the counselors at the Boys Town hotline, 800-448-3000. Counselors are there 24/7 to help teens like you.
According to HelpGuide’s website, “Many troubled behaviors in teenagers can be indications of depression. These can include:
Problems at school. Low energy and concentration problems associated with teen depression can lead to a declining attendance and drop in grades.
Running away. Many depressed teens run away or talk about running away from home, often as a cry for help.
Drug and alcohol abuse. Teens may use alcohol or drugs in an attempt to “self-medicate” their depression.
Low self-esteem. Depression can trigger or intensify feelings of shame, failure, and social unease and make teens extremely sensitive to criticism.
Smartphone addiction. Depressed teens may go online to escape their problems, but excessive smartphone and Internet use tends to increase feelings of isolation and worsen depression.
Reckless behavior. Depressed teens may engage in dangerous or high-risk behaviors, such as reckless driving, binge drinking, or unsafe sex.
Violence. Some teens—usually boys—can become aggressive and violent when they’re depressed.”
Another thing to note, is “Teen depression is much more than feeling temporarily sad or down in the dumps. It’s a serious and debilitating mood disorder that can change the way you think, feel, and function in your daily life, causing problems at home, school, and in your social life. When you’re depressed, you may feel hopeless and isolated and it can seem like no one understands. But depression is far more common in teens than you may think. The increased academic pressures, social challenges, and hormonal changes of the teenage years mean that about one in five of us suffer with depression in our teens. You’re not alone and your depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw.”
You made an important first step by writing. Now please do follow through. You deserve to have more control over your thoughts.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on March 13, 2010.