A while ago I started noticing that I show many signs of anxiety/social anxiety. A teacher at my school thinks it’s paranoia, which I haven’t quite looked into. My whole life I’ve struggled with family issues, anger issues and severe pressure. I’ve blocked most of it out but I can remember some of the meltdowns I’ve had due to anger issues, and I have vivid memories of horrible fights my parents have had which resulted in staying up all night waiting for it to stop, things getting thrown at me and sometimes even blood. My parents are sober now so I’m not going through any more issues at home. At school I’m constantly worried about what people think of me and how I look. Sometimes I’ll look at myself in a bathroom mirror and get scared to go back to class. I’m horrified of what people think of me and it’s hard to talk to people, especially kids who are older than me. Recently I’ve suspected that I’m on the autism spectrum since I’ve been exposed to more people who have it. Eye contact makes me nervous and when my senses get overloaded (mostly from too many sounds) I fill up with internalized rage/panic and try to make my own noise or cover my ears to block it out. I’ve also always felt like my teachers and the kids around me go easy on me with rules, interaction ext. I’ve always felt different, and I think that possibility having autism is why. I’m terrified of asking my parents about getting diagnosed because even though I know they probably won’t have a problem, I’m just too scared and I don’t know how to overcome that fear. I’m sorry if none of this makes sense or if this was a waste of your time, but I just want to stop worrying about my paranoia/anxiety/anything, if I even have anything getting worse due to neglect. there’s a word limit so I didn’t want to go too in-depth about the problems I have, but what I said is just a few. I’ve also taken an anxiety test and autism test if that helps. I think they were both from this website and they both said it’s likely that I have them. Again, sorry for possibly wasting your time. I just don’t know what to do.
Your question is definitely not a waste of my time. I’m glad that you decided to write and to focus on your mental health. Mental health is very important.
You described having a difficult experience in your early life. Your parents were fighting. They did it in front of you. You were frightened and you didn’t know how to respond. You even saw blood on some occasions. I’m sorry that you had to experience and witness what you did. Being exposed to domestic violence takes a heavy toll on children.
Having to deal with the aftermath of those circumstances was very difficult, especially when you did not have anyone to help you. Your reaction was to feel anger, sadness and fear. That’s what one would expect given the circumstances. You were doing the best that you could. Thankfully, that part of your life is over but that doesn’t erase the traumatic memories and the feelings associated with that time. This is not something you should have to deal with on your own.
You mentioned that your parents would likely be open to you seeking help but you’re frightened to ask them. You shouldn’t be. There’s nothing to be afraid of. It is the job of parents to help their children. It is also the job of mental health professionals to make their clients feel welcome, calm, and to get them the help they need. You’re worried about getting diagnosed but most mental health professionals do not focus on diagnosis. They will be focused on helping you feel better. Their main goal is to teach their clients the proper skills for navigating life. They are good at what they do and can help you.
It’s never a good idea to self-diagnose. Tests on the Internet are good in so far as they can lead individuals into seeking in person help but they are not reliable diagnostic tools. That is why it’s recommended to consult, in person, professionals. During an evaluation, mental health professionals collect a great deal of personal and specific information. Online tests aren’t set up to collect that type of information from test takers. They are meant to be general and to prompt individuals to seek further evaluation and treatment.
You took tests which have alerted you to a potential problem. That is good but don’t assume that you have autism or any diagnosis at all. Let mental health professionals (in person) determine a diagnosis (if any) because that’s what they’re trained to do. No matter the situation, they will know how to help you. Please consider asking your parents for an evaluation. It’s the best choice you can make at this time.
It is your belief that you have autism primarily because you are nervous about making eye contact and when it happens, you feel overwhelmed. That’s not uncommon for people who have anxiety disorders. That is also a common experience among young people in general who are in the process of learning who they are, what their strengths are, and developing their self-esteem and self-confidence. Being a teenager is a very difficult time in one’s life. Therapy is the ideal solution for you.
Again, I’m glad that you wrote because it gives me an opportunity to convince you to do the right thing, which is to try counseling. I hope that you will give it a try. It could be a tremendous benefit to you. Good luck and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle