Home Anxiety Split Personality?

Split Personality?

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From a teen in England: I am 13 years old, coming up to 14 and have just started my GCSE studies in England which are going okay. (Wondering if this info was important- stress? idk)

Where should I start? Split personality?

Since the start of year eight (one year ago now) I have been acting quite strange and it is beyond my abilities to control this: It’s as if there are two sides to me. There’s one side to me where I can be hyper active, enthusiastic, funny, caring ect. There is however, another side that I am more often: Where I am quiet, cold, not really caring of anyone else, rebellious per say, almost violent (although I can control that, but I have occurring thoughts). I cannot control when or where I ‘switch’ and cannot control ‘switching’ back.

For the past six or so months, it has come to my attention that I may be depressed after many recurring suicidal thoughts, and when I broke up with my (now) ex boyfriend, I got pushed to the edge with all the stress, friend issues, sister being severely ill, bullying, school, anger, possible anxiety and my close friend has recently had serious issues with her, too.

I can’t stop crying sometimes, have moments where I just realize how much everything is diving me deeper into a stressful hole and I start having mini panic attacks, not being able to breathe, shaking and just sit in the corner of the room ect. (Not very bad though)

One of my friends has anxiety, and she really puts it out there. As if she’s attention-seeking, however she has documents and things but she’s showing if off as if she’s proud of it. However, the moment I bring it up she says I don’t have it as she ‘knows what it’s like’. But, I would prefer a second view on this.

Sometimes I get moments when someone talks to me where I panic, don’t know what to say ect. With close-ish friends, I talk more enthusiastically, adding jokes and such, but if I know them quite well, I still have trouble talking to them at times. I panic, loose my breath and just back out or avoid conversations I can’t handle. However, this goes away when I preform on stage and connect with the audience. I feel I belong there, but nowhere else.

Thank you for writing. When someone has concerns such as these, it’s important to sort out whether there is a psychological problem, a medical problem, or the normal ups and downs that go with adolescence. It could be any of those or it could be a combination.

Your first stop should be with your doctor. I hope you have a physician who has known you for awhile and who you trust. Make an appointment. Share your letter to give the doctor an overview of your concerns. It could be that you are going through the normal feelings of abnormality that go with the hormone adjustments that are common for someone your age.

If the doctor feels there is a larger problem, ask for a referral to a mental health counselor to talk to. Again, bring your letter. It will help the counselor quickly understand what needs to be discussed.

One or the other professional may make recommendations for treatment. You and your parents can then decide what makes the most sense for you.

I’m very glad you have discovered the theater. The teen years can be very, very stressful. It’s important to pursue an interest that takes you away from the day to day stressors of schools, friends, and relationships. Stick with it. Stick with it both as a performer and as a stage tech. The skills you gain will be helpful to you no matter what you decide to do in life.

As for your friend: It concerns me greatly that some teens seem to like the drama of having something wrong with them. Being normal doesn’t make someone boring or ordinary or not special. What will make someone boring or ordinary is living a boring life. There are plenty of opportunities to be a volunteer in your community, to follow an interest (like theater), to get excited about a particular subject in school or to get involved in a club or sport. A high self-esteem isn’t something people are born with. It’s something you earn by doing things that make a difference to yourself and others.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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