For the last couple years, I have had been experiencing behavior that concerns me. It’s hard for me to explain, but I get delusional theories in my head. I start obsessing over ‘government coverups and conspiracies, it’s gotten so bad that I start believing that the government is using the TV and the radio to brainwash me, and that they are poising my water supply, so now I only want to drink bottled water, or water I have personally purified. Thoughts like these will happen often, either as part of my normal thoughts, or I’ll go through these hyperactive rapid rampages where I’ll have crazy idea af crazy idea, and my mind goes a mile a minute.
I also have extreme trouble sleeping at night. I usually can’t sleep because I’m busy thinking about the delusions. Everytime I miraculously do get to sleep I only have disturbing nightmares. They’re so scary that I can’t move when I wake up because I’m so shocked. The only times I am able to sleep is at 3 a.m, I can’t sleep at all before that. When I try and sleep, I like that bugs are crawling all over my body and under my skin, and I’ll believe that somebody is in my room hiding in the dark.
Most of these symptoms started happening during middle school. I also developed a social phobia, and refused to leave my house. I had to be homeschooled for two years after that, and I rarely left my house at all during that time. And every time I did I had an anxiety attack. Even now, I won’t go outside unless I must.
These thoughts are getting worse and I’ve been having a lot of anxiety attacks lately and very frequently. I don’t now how I can go on dealing with this for any longer. I’ve read that I could have something like Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder, But I’m so young (I’m only 14 years old)– So how can I possibly have something like that? I want to get help for my problems and figure out what’s wrong with me. Am I crazy?
Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are not typically diagnosed in individuals so young. Young people can develop these disorders but it’s relatively rare. Many mental health professionals are also resistant to diagnosing children and teenagers with these disorders.
Schizophrenia is a thought disorder. It involves having a break with reality. Delusions and hallucinations are common symptoms.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. Individuals with bipolar disorder describe sometimes feeling euphorically happy and sometimes feeling very sad and depressed. Some people have described it as an emotional roller coaster.
Your symptoms are more characteristic of schizophrenia than bipolar disorder but only an in-person, thorough mental health evaluation could properly determine a diagnosis. Your significant lack of sleep could also be playing a role in your symptoms.
You mentioned being homeschooled because of your social phobia. If you avoided school because of your social phobia and were no longer forced to attend, it probably made your anxiety worse. When your social phobia developed, it should have been promptly treated.
Undoubtedly, your symptoms are concerning. If you’ve never been evaluated by a mental health professional, then you should do so immediately. You didn’t mention whether you’ve talked to your parents about your symptoms. If not, you should. Your symptoms are getting worse not better. They require treatment from professionals. Medication may be able to help, especially with sleep. Ask your parents for their assistance and request that they take you to see a mental health professional. With the right treatment, you can manage your symptoms and significantly improve the quality of your life. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle