From a young teen: A few years ago, I went through several months of what I guess can only be described as really crippling depression. I was really stupid and slit my wrists and cried for no reason and forced myself to stop eating, that kind of stuff. What I remember really distinctly is assuming everyone else was going through the same thing. Anyway, when I kinda eased out of that phase, I became a lot happier and somewhere along the way I realized there was something different and bad about the way I’d been feeling for a couple of months (more like a year, really).
It’s coming back a little now, is the thing. Since around late last year, I’ve been feeling the same way on and off. I haven’t harmed myself, mostly because I know it’s idiotic, but also because I know I don’t want to kill myself. I want to die, though, a little bit.
Mostly the problem, though, has been this weird anxiety literally from the moment I wake up, something that feels a lot like schizophrenia except I know it’s me who’s yelling at me. The instant I wake up it’s like my whole body tightens with inexplicable anxiety. It doesn’t make any sense. And I yell at myself inside my head, I hear my voice inside my head yelling at myself and I hear my voice talking to me during the day.
Sometimes when I’m feeling very strange I can focus on the noise in my head and hear voices talking but I don’t know whose they are, and they’re not saying anything that makes any particular sense. That’s only happened a few times, though.
I don’t know if this matters, but I also have very loud music in my head, all the time. Another thing is that I am deeply distrustful of my friends, I don’t ever feel like they’ll understand what I have to say. I know it’s stupid. But I feel entirely disgusted at myself whenever I consider confiding in them.
I get frustrated very easily with myself, less so with other people, but that annoyance is still there. I’m obsessed with that which is obscure. I sometimes find it hard to concentrate on and finish things and get irrationally angry with myself because of this.
Anyway, yeah. Do I have something? What do I have? Should I see a therapist?
Yes. It would be a very good idea to see a therapist. One challenge of being an advice columnist is that a letter often doesn’t give me enough information for me to be helpful. A face to face therapist can ask follow up questions and get a more complete picture of what is going on. Sometimes just an initial interview is enough for someone like yourself to get reassurance and direction. Sometimes that interview results in some suggestions for further therapy.
One suggestion I have for you is this: Please keep a log of your sleep pattern for 2 weeks and take it with you to the first meeting with the therapist. Write down what time you go to bed, when you get up and if you get up during the night. I have a hunch that some of your distress may be related to a sleep disorder. That’s just a guess and I could be wrong, but it is something to check out.
I wish you well.