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Only 16 But I’m Paranoid & Hallucinating

I am currently 16 years old and live in New Jersey. When I was 6 years old, my parents got a divorce and I moved around New Jersey and New York State a few times. I seemed ‘normal’ to my family around in elementary school, just was dealing with being multiply disabled which was a struggle for me. I did have friends, but not many at all. Not the smartest student in all my years including today, I started to get very depressed when middle school arrived, so I isolated myself and changed completely who I was.

I first noticed I had a problem around the end of 6th grade. I didn’t do great academically because the work was a big struggle for me, so I would sit in the back corner of the classroom and do nothing. I never talked in school, because I was ashamed that I felt I wasn’t capable of the work. I then looked at my IEP evaluation which basically told me my learning skills were around early elementary. I felt like I was the dumbest one in the school, so I panicked.

I then eventually started dressing differently, because I thought people didn’t like me for me; I thought I had to be perfect like everyone else was. So I got depressed. I started to dress in baggy men’s-type of clothes, never did my hair, I would sometimes go to school in my pajamas. My personality changed drastically, I wouldn’t talk to anyone at all, but on the other hand I would be nice at times, then very angry for no reason, self-conscious, got very paranoid then eventually severely depressed.

That year of school was all right compared to the later years for me. I did nothing during the summer, except sitting in the house all day sulking. 7th grade came along for me and the first day of school I was eavesdropping at lunch from a group of students and they said a boy in my school started cutting himself because he was depressed. Then I had an idea for me to try it. So I went home that day and started to cut my legs deeply, surprisingly for the first it felt amazing, for the first time in a long time I was happy and felt satisfied with myself.

During the school year, I started to hallucinate and see animals on my teacher’s desk, heard ‘someone’ writing on the chalkboard when I was left alone in the room, my name being called behind my in the back of the room, and I couldn’t figure out if it was a male or female voice. So I got severely paranoid and couldn’t pay attention in class even more. I constantly looked around the room to see if someone was watching me, I thought things on shelves like books had cameras in them, then eventually convinced myself I saw the devil in the hallway while walking to the bathroom. That day, I went home and I cut my arms up really bad. I then cut crosses in my legs because I thought God was going to be watching me and the bad things would go away forever.

8th grade came along, and still I was hallucinating, paranoid, struggled in school even more, and got my first boyfriend. I met him online off a teen hookup website, 13 at the time, he was 18. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world and I decided to meet him. I went to his house, we were making out and then he wanted to watch a movie in his room. He pressured me and I agreed. He said anytime I want to stop, he’ll stop, but he never did. He just told me to be quiet and one minute, I tried pushing him off while crying, well, he was too strong for me. I went to school upset, and tired thinking about what happened. I brought a razor to school and cut underneath my sweatshirt in class and the bathroom. My teacher who has been always nice to me, brought me out in the hallway and asked what was wrong. I cried, kicked and punched lockers and screamed in anger I wanted to kill myself. She brought me to guidance, they yelled at me for wanting attention and then sent me to the hospital the next morning.

Got out of the psych hospital within a week and a day, I came back to school the same. I then got sent to a partial program for two months, half days. Most of the year went by and I was still the same mentally, it didn’t help me.

Summer came, I did nothing again. 9th grade came for me and I had a good head on my shoulders out of the blue. Halfway into the year I did great academically because I was put in special education classes but got freehanded grades because the teachers couldn’t take my struggles. February came, so I started attempting to kill myself in any way I could think of, and cutting became like an everyday necessity for me. I was sent to the hospital again; within a week I was out. It didn’t help me at all.

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I was sent to the partial program again for two and a half months, half days. It didn’t help me at all, so when I got out I started cutting even worse then I was and was sent to the hospital once again. After I got out for a week and a half, I became very angry where I would put holes in my walls, throw stuff, break stuff and scream like a lunatic when I got kicked outside.

10th grade came along, and the first week of school I became terrified. All I said to myself was I couldn’t go, I cant step in that building. So I flipped out by getting angry, cutting and threatening to kill myself. Basically to get away so I wouldn’t have to be in that high school for one minute. I was then sent to the hospital again, before that I was crying because I didn’t want to go. My father tackled me to the ground, sat on my chest, then choked me where I couldn’t breathe. At the hospital, they talked about residential treatment, or a daytime therapeutic school. I chose therapeutic if my district was willing to pay for it. When I got out of the hospital for two weeks, I was sent to the partial program again. Toward the end of my stay there, my district decided to pay for my private school which I currently go to now. I love it, the therapists help me so much with everything.

During this school year, I have been coping and recognizing my issues, as well as dealing with my mother. This year in January and February, I was admitted twice again to a psych unit for anger, depressive moods, and something new, bulimia. I didn’t like how the number on the scale was uneven. It was107, and I wanted it to be 100. Afterward, when I got out of the hospital, I stopped that habit that went on for a few weeks. Haven’t done that since. I was then sent to another partial program which didn’t work out for me because of insurance, I was there for a week and a half.

My family has taken this hard on me and themselves, they still don’t understand me. My mother takes me to a psychiatrist once a week who also does therapy, and on top of it I have therapy five times a week including in school. Mental illness runs in both sides of my family, so my mother takes it well, my father doesn’t. He has been getting violent lately, and he drinks. I’m finding more and more about his past now, how he abused my mother and once my stepmom. Conflicts are starting to arise with him, which are making me remember things he has done, which is making me depressed. My psychiatrist, several others too have diagnosed me with depression, multiple learning disabilities, bipolar, PTSD, bulimia, borderline PD, other personality disorders and possibly psychosis.

Today I am doing all right, still go to my therapeutic high school which is amazing. I’m learning to interact with people, and recognizing my feelings better. I don’t ever want to leave there. Over the past two years they have tried 18 different medications for me, including other forms of medication. Now, possibly shock treatment during the summer. I’m constantly having more issues on my plate with a lot which is frustrating for me. Remembering stuff out of the blue from my past which bothers me, still depressed, still anxious and paranoid, not doing well academically, but hanging in there. Otherwise, I’m doing better controlling myself with my issues.

As for people who are just getting started with their journey, do anything to figure out your feelings. Write them down, talk about them, and stay positive. I’m learning that now, and I am dealing better than I was. Yes, I still have issues on my back, but I’m learning how to cope every day. Talking helps. Also, never be afraid to feel what you feel. In my life for many years, I have hidden a lot of dark issues inside and eventually they came out to a negative sense. The struggle is hard, so do what you can now to prevent any ongoing struggles that you can deal with. You can do it, I have faith for anyone who’s anybody. Remember that.

A good quote I found on the Internet that makes a lot of sense: “The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition” and one from me: “Today might be a bad day, but tomorrow is a new day.” Always remember those quotes, and live your life with happiness.


Only 16 But I’m Paranoid & Hallucinating

Personal Story

A personal story contribution is a story told by someone who is living with mental illness, a caregiver or family member, or a professional who treats mental illness. We believe in the importance of the patient's voice, and those most impacted by the effects of mental illness. These stories are a vital part of the mosaic that makes up the complexity of living with mental health concerns.

APA Reference
Story, P. (2018). Only 16 But I’m Paranoid & Hallucinating. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Nov 2018 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 Nov 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.