From Australia: I’m 12 years old and started year 7 in February and I guess it’s always tough for everyone right now. I know this but I think that what I’m going through will never go away. It’s been going on for 2 or 3 years but it’s really bad now. It’s really hard to explain. The problem is I’m losing touch with reality. I keep having thoughts that someone is watching me and that there going to kidnap me or hurt me, or that I’m going to die young. I wouldn’t say I see or hear things but I have this really strong feeling. The thoughts make me really anxious because I never know when it’s going to happen. I don’t know why but my thoughts keep telling me to do specific things. I end up doing them when I’m upset. Regularly I shut myself in my room and have loads of alone time. The only social contact I have is at school.
My mum says I’m always really good at meeting new people but recently I’ve found it hard to make eye contact, especially with people I don’t know. Another major thing is that when I’m out with my family I always cling to them and avoid large crowds and secretly want my close friends to be there. This happens especially on holidays. I find it very hard to meet new people at school lately. I always want to be with my close friends. When I’m at school I always think everyone watching me.
When I go out with my family I start feeling very nervous with strangers and think they’re bad or evil, even if I just walk past them.
It’s also really hard to focus during class time at school and I always find it difficult to keep my mind on the set task and complete it. My mind keeps drifting away to other things.
Please help, I don’t know if I’m normal or different, if there’s something wrong with me or not.
I understand why these feelings are making you anxious and upset. Unfortunately, I can’t provide a good evaluation on the basis of a letter. I do think what you describe is serious. If you haven’t shared how you are feeling with your parents, I strongly suggest that you show them your letter and this response.
I think you need to do two things. First, make an appointment with your doctor for a complete and thorough medical check. You are at an age when the body goes through enormous change. Believe it or not, it’s possible that the bad thoughts have a physical cause. There are a number of conditions that can lead people to be paranoid, anxious, and emotional. Do also talk to the doctor about your sleep pattern. Sometimes a sleep disorder causes emotional instability and strange thoughts.
If your doctor finds that you are healthy, then ask your parents to make an appointment for you to see a mental health professional for an evaluation. Be as honest as you can during your appointment. (You might also bring this correspondence with you as a way to get started.) We therapists can only be helpful when people really share their thoughts and feelings to the best of their ability.
Whether your feelings are medical or psychological (or both), you can be helped. This has already gone on for 2 or 3 years. That’s already too long. Please get the help you need and deserve.
I wish you well.