Hi, I am a 24 year old guy and I’m currently dealing with a pretty bad social phobia and agoraphobia. I believe most of my anxiety stems from my paranoia. I am really paranoid… After reading a lot I believe I may have some ideas of reference. I also do not like people, I tend to keep very few close friends (currently only 2) and I keep them away from me. As in, I fake. Nobody really knows me for who I am. I have never understood people, so I learn from them. I learn their patterns, how they behave, what they like, in order to socialize with them if I have to. But I don’t like socializing and I’d rather be alone most of the time.
I’ve also had brief psychotic episodes that lasted about a day or two. I have hallucinations from time to time. I have delusions. I believe I also experience magical thinking but I’m not sure. For example, I had a bad hallucination the other night and now I’m kind of wary and obsessed with sharp angles, corners and the like. I am aware right now that it’s not entirely possible for them to hurt me, but I am afraid anyways. I feel I’m on the edge. I am avoiding going out because of this. I dissociate sometimes, especially when I’m under stress, and I get stressed very easily.
I am hyper sensitive to things like light, sounds, flavors and textures… they either trigger an anxiety attack, an anger burst or make me shut down.
I also have this “friend” in my head. He has always been there, I think. He talks in my head, with my voice. I can distinguish him from my own thoughts. When I have a bad dissociation episode, he kind of “takes over”, as I am unable to really function. I can see what he does, and says, but I cannot control him. I’m not me. He’s not bad, he helps a lot. I like talking to him. He only comes out when I’m dissociating but I don’t normally experience loss of memory, so I don’t know. He’s kind of almost always there, though.
I had to drop out of college. I can’t get a job. I am confused about everything. What does all this sound like? Besides crazy.
“Crazy” is a problematic term in the context of mental illness. Some people have a fear about being labeled as “crazy” and thus, as a result, avoid seeking help. It might even be keeping you from seeking help.
The World Health Organization reported that depression is the number one cause of disability in the world. According to their organization, 300 million people suffer from depression. Depression proliferates, in part, because many sufferers avoid treatment because of the stigma associated with asking for help. Instead of thinking of yourself as “crazy,” a more accurate description might be that you are suffering with common mental health problems that are amenable to treatment. Every symptom you have described is treatable with both medication and/or counseling.
Your symptoms don’t seem to match any one disorder. They may stem from your untreated anxiety. The fact that you disassociate and have a “friend,” with whom you communicate when distressed, would also suggest a possible history of trauma. Being able to distinguish his thoughts from yours is a positive sign. It shows that you can distinguish reality from non-reality. It’s important to stay grounded in reality.
Your symptoms are significantly interfering with your life. You should be evaluated by a mental health professional in your community. They will assess the problem and develop a plan for treating your symptoms. Ask your primary care physician for a referral or click on the “find help” tab, at the top of this page. Treatment will help you to feel better. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle