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Too too angry

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From a 14 year old girl: I don’t understand what is wrong with me. I used to be a happy little child. I know what you’re probably thinking, you’re going through puberty, horomones are crazy, but that’s not what’s it. I’m not going through some “teen-angst” state. There are multiple holes in my wall from me punching it. I’ve thrown my chair at my bed. I’ve thrown my phone at the wall when someone pissed me off when I was talking to them. I’ve punched quite a few mirrors in my house, the bathroom, my mom’s mirrored closet doors, my mirror. I’ve kicked a keyboard in half. I broke a girls arm.
I get depressed too easily, too. After one of my angry episodes, like metioned above, I’ll start crying because I feel horrible for what I’ve done. The time after I punched my mirror I accidently hit my dog, not even that hard, and he just walked away unscathed and I was laying on the floor crying my eyes out. I used to cut myself. Sometimes I get to the point where I want to so badly, but I remembered how hurt my mom was when I last did it. Plus I ended in the local behavioral health center, and I’d rather not go back there.
When I get angry everything gets quite blurry and I lose my clarity of everything else. Nothing else matters to me, but what I am angry about. Someone could be contemplating murder, and I would be focused on something entirely different. I start twitching really badly. When I get angry I will push my fingernails in to my legs and breathe heavily. I try to calm myself down and it just doesn’t happen.
The littlest things bother me. Someone says the phrase “dilly-dally” and I want to beat them. If I’m already bothered and someone attempts to touch me, I get really angry. When people tell me what to do, I get bothered. When people spell things wrong, I get bothered. When people make fun of other people, I get REALLY bothered.
I can honestly say I’ve never been emotionally strong. In about fourth grade I went through the school counsuling system, and the counsuler said I had Anxiety issues. I think it may be more than that.
Sometimes when I get angry I get really hyper as well. I’ll start running around the house, often to run into things and get even more pissed off. I cuss too much, and I often drop the f-bomb way more than I should. My mind will start wandering, which is not a real good thing for me. Not to sound cocky, but I’m really smart and quite artistic.
I’m content only at about two in the morning. Which it is right now. And this lasts for only about an hour.
These moods change about every day or two. Sometimes even a week.
When I’m in my hyper-mode, I believe I can do anything. I even placed a bet with someone that I could walk through my door. I tried and I even argued with my friend that I did do it. Even though, thinking back (while I’m content), I know I didn’t.
What’s wrong with me? I know this isn’t just me being a teenager. None, I mean none, of the population that attends my school go through stuff like this. They are generally very happy people.

You are absolutely right. What you are describing is not usual teenage angst or the expected emotional storms of puberty. I admire your courage. You are looking squarely at yourself and you are reaching out for some help.

I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter, of course. I don’t have enough information. What I can suggest is this: First, talk to your parents if you can. You need their emotional support. And you need some help making your way through the health system and getting services paid for. If you don’t think your parents will be sympathetic, start with your school counselor or your school nurse.

Then ask for a complete medical checkup. Thyroid problems, anemia, even an electrolyte imbalance, for example, can cause depression and erratic behaviors. I always want to rule out the physical before we start thinking about the psychological. If you are medically fine (which is a great thing to know), then see about getting a psychological evaluation. Ask your doctor for a recommendation or go on the web. When I searched “mental health services” and the name of your town, I found several places that specialize in youth.

In the meantime: If you feel yourself getting out of control, please consider calling a support line. The folks at the BoysTown crisis line at (800) 448-3000 are there 24/7 to help teens – both boys and girls – who need someone to talk to. You can find out more about them at this link : http://www.boystown.org/hotline

The most important thing I want you to remember is that you don’t have to be alone with this confusion and pain. There are people in the world who dedicate themselves to helping kids like you. I also bet there are people in your family and in your school who will help you if you give them a chance.

Please write back and let me know how things go.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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