I’m very sure that I have some kind of disorder. I have been diagnosed with ADHD when I was 12 but that’s about it. However I always knew there was more. When I was 10-11 I remember pretending to be a character I made up. I was quite unpopular and was being kind of bullied by a few other girls. After a while I starting seriously planning on killing them and once planned on summoning demons or something to send out to brutally murder them. It felt like someone else controlled my thoughts, making think that kind of stuff. I eventually realized that that wasn’t normal or healthy and so I eventually stopped thinking that way. I’d say it was like cutting a toxic person out of your life. Even though there was no one but me. I also remember clearly, that on my way of cutting that ‘person’ out of my life, I’d get more and more depressed and started harming myself. (Cutting my wrist and thighs.) I don’t really remember much after that but I seemed to somehow have gotten out of it. That was about two to three years ago I think. I can only remember some more bits and pieces and that’s it. Though, in the past two months I found myself getting very anxious and paranoid. I’m very anxious in social situations and am scared of my friends thinking badly of me. I’ve also been hearing random thoughts come into my mind, usually being suicidal ones even though I myself don’t feel suicidal. I’d also sometimes feel like there’s someone watching me or I’d see things like black figures for a split second before they disappear. I’ve never gone to therapy or have been diagnosed with anything besides ADHD.
Diagnosis is impossible over the internet, but I can provide some insight into the problems you have described. It’s always necessary to consult a mental health professional in person to acquire a diagnosis. They would be in the best position to know what may be wrong.
When you were a child, you created a fictional character in response to an extremely stressful situation in which you were being bullied. Unfortunately, in our culture, the experience of bullying is common. National statistics indicate, that among students, at least one third report regularly experiencing bullying. Research indicates that females often report a higher rate of bullying than males, in certain circumstances. Cyberbullying is particularly prevalent among female students. In one study, nearly 37% reported having experienced online abuse at least one time in their lives. Interesting, only 10% admitted to bullying others.
At first, you reacted by creating a fictional character. That was likely your way of mentally escaping the pain associated with being a victim of bullying. You then started plotting to kill the perpetrators, in a variety of ways. Your desire to harm the people who were harming you is understandable (but also wrong). Thankfully, you never acted on your fantasies.
You also wrote that you thought someone else had been controlling your homicidal fantasies. The fact that you “eventually realized that it wasn’t normal or healthy,” and were able to make positive changes, would suggest that no one else was controlling your thoughts. Those were your thoughts, in response to a difficult situation. It is important to acknowledge that you, on your own, decided against homicide as a solution to this problem. Once you realized the errors of your thinking process, you made the proper correction. That’s a very positive outcome and it shows your ability to make positive changes.
Once you cut that homicidal “person” out of your life, you turned on yourself. You grew depressed, started harming yourself and contemplating suicide. Think of this as your third attempt to deal with your strong and painful emotions.
The examples you have provided perfectly describe maladaptive coping responses. People engage in maladaptive responses when they simply lack better ways of coping with the problems in their lives. If you knew a better way, you would have utilized it. In all likelihood, you lacked a role model or someone in your life who could teach you what you needed to know about effective problem solving.
As you stated in your letter, you’ve never gone to therapy but you were diagnosed with ADHD. I’m wondering how you were diagnosed ADHD without ever having consulted a mental health professional. Now would be a good time to consult a mental health professional.
The best solution to this problem is counseling. That is where you can learn useful coping skills. We are not born knowing these skills. If no one teaches us, and we don’t learn them on their own, then we simply never learn them. The good news is that you can learn what you need to know in counseling. Good luck and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle