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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/is there something wrong with me?

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Question
I'm 17, and just left a lifeguarding job due to panic attacks.  Recently, I've started to change in personality. I'm much more sensitive and I cry very easily.  And I've also started to feel worthless and alone. I don't know why, because recently the pieces of the puzzle that is my life have started to fall into place, but I feel empty and sometimes I wish I wasn't me anymore... Should I try to seek some sort of help, or is it just a phase of being a teenager?

Answer
I can't be any more sure than you are, Julie. Many 17-year-olds have similar experiences that dissipate with a few more years and never come back. Some seek help and value it considerably; others try it but don't find they benefit from it.

What might be a logical way of handling it would be to find some mental-health professional to talk with. Maybe the initial purpose could be not making a diagnosis or eliminating the symptoms but simply learning effective strategies for handling them. That way, you will likely become more comfortable with yourself, and if there ever is some sort of crisis, you can go directly to that clinician with whom you have established a relationship. Like an insurance policy -- backup if you ever need it.

If you'd like some help in finding one, whether psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker, tell me more about yourself and the size of your community, and I'll be glad to try.

Meanwhile, I'm sorry I couldn't give a more direct answer, but thank you for asking us and wish you the best of fortune in handling this.

Alan  

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Alan Auerbach

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Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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