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I Feel Empty and Lost

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From a teen in the U.S.: I’m a female turning 15 in a few months and I think I’ve been dealing with hocd. I have never doubted my sexuality before and I’ve always had male crushes and even fell in love with one.

Last month, I got an intrusive thought “what if I’m gay?” and now, it’s a constant thought (24/7). It has greatly impacted my life, I’ve lost interest in a lot of things. School has been quite stressful due these constant thoughts about being gay or bi. Also, prior to this whole situation, I developed feelings for this guy at my school and when he would text me, my entire mood changes.

Now, I’m so lost and confused and feel like I’ve lost myself and my identity. This week has been the worse, I couldn’t physically move for hours and felt numb. Sometimes I have anxiety, but most of the time I feel nothing. It has gotten to the point where I’m so consumed in my own thoughts that I can’t stay in the present.

I’ve always looked up to beautiful girls and would check them up because it’s something natural. I’ve never wanted to engage in any sexual activities with the same-sex nor have I wanted to date someone of the same-sex. I feel so empty and lost, my thoughts are killing me. Please help!

I Feel Empty and Lost

Answered by on -


I am so glad you wrote instead of sitting with these feelings and suffering more. One of the things that worries me a great deal is the tendency in our culture to pathologize thoughts and feelings that are quite normal for a person’s age and stage. It eats people up needlessly. I think what you are experiencing falls into that category.

You are 14. The teen years are a time of personal exploration and identity formation. Although some people know who they are from the time they are quite young, most people develop their identity during adolescence.

During the teen years, it is usual for a person to question themselves about many things — including sexual identity. Determining ones sexual orientation is a process that often goes on through the teen years and sometimes into the twenties. Teens do a great deal of self-examination through trial and error behaviors, and sometimes what seem to be contradictory ideas, as they discover who they are at core and who they most want to be with. No single thought or feeling or “crush” determines the eventual outcome.

During this time you will also be exploring your values, your beliefs, your politics, your faith — everything that is important. Just as with your sexual identity, you may find that how you think and feel changes over time. That’s because you will be gathering the information and experience you need to come to conclusions that feel right and comfortable.

The teen years are such an important time of growth. Please give yourself lots of room to explore, without so much worry attached. I hope this explanation helps you do that. If you continue to feel so terrible, do see a therapist who specializes in working with teens to help you.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

I Feel Empty and Lost

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. (2020). I Feel Empty and Lost. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2020 (Originally: 10 May 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.