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Distinguishing Mental Health Issues and Adolescent Issues

answered 02:10 AM EST, Fri October 11, 2013
AnnieAnne AnnieAnne Lisbon
Hi! I'm 16 and I think I have been struggling with anxiety and depression for the last two years but I never told any one about it (whenever I tried my mum said it was because of "hormones" and my friends and people overall think it's just my personality) because I'm not exactly sure or even know what's wrong with me. Anyway I would like your opinion on it. When I was 14 I had no friends and I was very shy, also because my parents fight a lot I would just be sad all the time, I cried a lot but acted normal and I guess that no one really noticed that something was wrong enough. Then when I was 15 things got better about the shyness, I made friends and guess I became happier, still I had a very negative image of myself ( I tought that I was very ugly and I was disgusted with myself, and used as an excuse for my lack of friends). This Summer I overcame this problem as I started to be more optimistic and focus in positive thoughts and exercising. Now even though I feel beautiful I still have a hard time talking with people that I don't feel comfortable with (everyone beside my friends and relatives) as I just can't avoid feeling judged and like I'm not good enough or interesting enough as a person. Still this isn't the worse and it's relatively easy to deal with. What concerns me the most is that I'm very moody and anxious. I'm usually a happy, bubbly and nice person during like two weeks then during 2/3 days I feel awful, cranky, sad, annoyed, almost physically sick and I just have this horrible feeling like I'm in a black hole and like there's no hope, then I'm normal for like two weeks again. I know this sounds and is silly but I can't avoid it when it happens. I'm also anxious about lots of things, I try to distract my self but I still feel anxious, sometimes I even feel my heart beat fast inside my body. I just know that this isn't normal and because during the summer I've been normal with out any of these symptoms for like a month. Recently I've been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome and I read some studies that show it might be connected to depression and anxiety so maybe if I treat it this will go away? But my mum doesn't even let me take the contraceptive pill (which should control it)! I know that this is 2 much but what do you think my problem and is and what should I do? I'm confused.

Rev. Christopher Smith Says...

Rev. Christopher Smith C. Smith

In order to be able to o any sort of diagnosis, a mental health professional would need to meet with you, inlcuding exploring things that have happened before now. With thatbeing said, let me share a few things that might be helpful that are more general. However, let me stress again that you should probably sek a local person to see to help get your particular answers.

Normal adolescence can feel like a roller coaster emotionally. You are learning to handle things that you will have to face thoughout your life and the way you are encountering them is challenging and can certain promp worry and sadness. It is also true that in later adolescence pople are increasingly likely to have the first episode of certain serious mental illnesses. This is a reason to seek professional help to distinguish between these two options. When the swings are more dramatic or when responses are too extreme, there is a greater chance that something else is going on. The good news though is that there is hope for those who get appropriate help.

Another aspect that adolescents have to deal with is working out how they relate to other people. Developing their own identity and being able to value what they do is important. Unfortunately, the path for this is not without its own bumps. It is natural to not know how other people are reacting and so to wonder whether someone actually likes you. One of the questions to ask around this is whether your worries are stoppng you from doing what you need to do in life.

The initial question also highlights that some metnal health syptoms actually come from other illnesses. A good counselor/therapist would help screen for these possibilities. Of course, there is also the possibility that only part of the symptoms are being caused by the other illness and what you are experiencing is actually from both the other illness and a mental illness.

Your questions are good ones and show that you are willing to explore what is going on with you. This is a good sign that you will be able to find a path that leads to you experiencing wholeness and peace. Whatever is going on, you might find it helpful to speak with a counselor/therapist and have someone to talk to that is not already involved in your life. This is the case whether you are experiencnig normal adolescent challenges or something that is more serious.

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Page last updated Oct 11, 2013

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