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Why Have I Changed So Much in the Past Year?

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From a teen in the U.S.: I’m 16 and feel like I’ve changed and I don’t know how to get back to how I was before. I’ve always felt a certain way and I can only describe it as sad or empty. But I’d still talk to people and have some kind of enjoyment. But as of last year and now I feel so lonely and detached from everything. I stopped talking to my friends and my family. I feel like I don’t know how to talk anymore. I can’t hold a conversation and I just don’t want too.

I don’t know if this is because of the way I grew up. I’ve never been close to my family. Mostly my parents would be fighting or something. I just feel so sick of it so I don’t talk to either of them. I’ve justĀ  been so confused because of my feelings. Sometimes I just feel like everyone hates me. I just feel so empty, like there’s nothing to talk about.

At home I spend all of my time on my phone, and when my mom or dad try to talk to me I just get angry and annoyed at them. I’ve just felt so alone and sad most of my life. This has been going on for years and I don’t know what to do. It’s gotten to the point where it’s hard for me to even get of bed, and I just feel like doing nothing.

My parents never really noticed or they just don’t care. I always have some kind of ache or pain. All most everyday my head hurts and I can’t concentrate on my school work. I just don’t know why it’s gotten so bad and I need some advice.

Why Have I Changed So Much in the Past Year?

Answered by on -


I am so very glad you wrote. This is a very hard way to live. You do say that you are on your phone a lot. Unless you are just scrolling through FB and IG, you are at least talking to someone. I hope you are maintaining contact with a few friends even though you feel so bad.

You say this has been going on for years, which means it started as you were entering your teens. It’s just possible that some of your distress is related to the hormonal shifts of adolescence that have not evened out as they should. The place to start on a journey to health is with your doctor. Share what you have written here. A complete physical exam may identify some issues that can be helped with some medication.

If your doctor says you are physically fine, then it’s time to make an appointment with a mental health counselor. If you don’t know how to find one, ask your doctor for some names of local therapists who work with teens. Your school counselor can also help in that way.

I worry that you are on your way to a depression. Staying in bed all day and isolating oneself are symptoms of growing depression. You feel hopeless about your situation and helpless to change it.

But you are not helpless. You wrote to us. That tells me you want help. That’s a great start. Now do the next steps. Make an appointment with your doctor and then with a therapist. You need and deserve help but it’s not going to come to you. You have it in you to make a couple of phone calls to get yourself where you need to go.

Ideally, you will talk to your parents about what you told us. If you can’t do that on your own, try sharing your letter and this response with them to help them understand that you need help. If that doesn’t feel like it would be productive, do share your letter with the doctors. You wrote a clear, articulate description of how you are feeling. Sharing it will jump-start your appointments.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Why Have I Changed So Much in the Past Year?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Why Have I Changed So Much in the Past Year?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 9 Dec 2019 (Originally: 11 Dec 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 9 Dec 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.