Teen angst or mental illness?

To this day I’ve always labelled my state of mental health as having “mental health issues” rather than using the term “mental illness”. But caught up in amongst the stress from school and a typical adolescent lifestyle, sometimes I question whether I really do have a mental illness or just a full-blown severe case of teen angst. Because sometimes, it does get REALLY BAD.

I’ll go to huge measures just to avoid potential embarrassment. I’ll overthink situations and cry every night for a week straight stressing over issues that I’ve complicated in my own mind. I can’t handle criticism well and even if it is meant to be positive, I’ll somehow twist it into something offensive and berating. Whenever I’m rewarded or receive praise, I will shy away and cry because I feel underserving. I get triggered by the slightest words and become so agitated to a point where I start talking to myself, frantically pacing around my room and slapping myself across the face in an attempt to “find my marbles.” I can be laughing one moment and sobbing on my bed the next. I isolate myself from people thinking that they will be “better off without me”. While not showing it physically, I mentally cling to people in order to find happiness and have an insane fear of abandonment from those I hold dear. I have the tendency to love people but dislike them at random moments. I have a really bizarre insight on life where I value happiness and spreading that same happiness to others, yet I’m not afraid of the prospect of death. Often I have two personalities: one I show in public, the other only comes out when I’m alone or with people I really trust— and these two are starkly different.

If all those aren’t reasons to question myself, I have no idea what else would be.

I’ll be an adult this year. Crazy huh? For the past few years since all my issues have suddenly skyrocketed in intensity, I’ve always avoided the prospect of genuinely having a mental illness. Usually I’ll put these thoughts down to simply wanting attention, or trying to find a solution to the mess inside my head. A way to organise my thoughts and make myself seem less insane. I’d assumed everything was just a typical case of teen angst and I would eventually get over it with time. But as the years are passing by, every issue seems to be multiplying tenfold and I’m beginning to have doubts.

Growing up in an Asian household, the stigma towards mental illnesses is different to that of Westerners. Feelings like the ones I described above are concluded as the person being weak, and simply not being able “to deal” with things. You’re expected to bounce back from tough situations and parents always assume you’re resilient. Often it’s hard to be understood and I’m left feeling extremely alone. I’m fortunate enough that I’ve grown up in a Western country, so my parents (or should I say parenT, because my dad doesn’t know anything) and sibling are a little more considerate and understanding. But still, it’s not the same. Throughout this entire mental roller coaster they’ve never mentioned anything about seeing a therapist, psychologist, or GP. Not even my school councillor. They’d assume I’d get over it with time. The only thing they did was encourage me to read the Bible more often and patch the holes regarding my beliefs as a Christian and relationship with God. Never have I once seen them treat me like my condition was serious. They blamed my self harming habits on the influence on social media and encouraged me to quit my blogging, saying it was no good. Not once did they ever ask me if I wanted genuine, professional help.

I’ve basically shut myself off from my whole family. I don’t tell them anything. I always appear happy and typical “moody me”. I don’t trust them either. They don’t seem to care too much. They’ll tease me over lazy habits, when it’s actually because I’m scared of getting criticised and embarrassed. They don’t understand, and I couldn’t care less anymore.

It’s gotten to a point where I question whether it’s even valid to want a proper, professional diagnosis. I know that for as long as I’m stuck with my family, that will never happen. But part of me wants that physical reassurance; the assurance that I haven’t been making things up in my own mind and that I’m actually considered sick. It’s almost as if I’m trying to find a legitimate reason to the way I act and feel, because my whole life is one huge, clueless merry-go-round.

My future seems bleak. Very often I question my ambitions and second-guess myself. Waking to every new day is to me another day of overthinking and coping with criticism that never existed in the first place. I want to disappear but at the same time there is so much to live for.

I’m signing off with my real name today. I’m in the mood for getting a bit personal and it’s not like stalkers are going to abduct me just from finding my first name (my initial thoughts when starting this blog).

So wherever you are in this world, have a good day/evening.

~

♥ Abbey xxx

Advertisements

79 thoughts on “Teen angst or mental illness?

  1. bpdbloggerwithkids says:

    Hugs and love your way!! I hope one day you can get the support from your family that you deserve! Also, just my own personal experience… but having an actual diagnosis was extremely validating and it kind of made people around me realize that I wasn’t making it up or just doing it for attention. I was able to get healthier by confronting my mental illness. I wish you the best of luck with whatever choice you make!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Karen Horsley says:

    Hey Abbey, I’m not a medical professional so my advise is just as a blog friend… what you describe sounds somewhat more than teen angst. I think you need to speak to someone, doctor, counsellor? It must be incredibly isolating that your family don’t take your difficulties seriously. Take care, Karen.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. cwhoulette says:

    The world is a really crazy place, and life can be really complicated. I certainly do not have any answers. I will say, do not fret too much, even though everything seems wrong. And whatever you do, don’t stop writing! Know yourself and be that person for you, no one else.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Stigma Unraveled says:

    Hey Abbey! It sounds like you are dealing with some demons in your life that are trying to steal your light away from your shine. Have you heard of the book called “feeling good” by David burns. It saved my life. My own fears and anxiety rob me of my life if I don’t think carefully about my emotions. Best of luck. We adore you ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. flintsaunders says:

    Have a good day/evening too, Abbey. I hope writing this post made you feel a little better. I vote it’s good old teen angst that is ailing you. I use mindfulnes meditation to straighten my head out. Maybe this could work for you? It certainly promotes inner calm. All the best. M

    Liked by 1 person

  6. adarianqueen says:

    I felt like I could relate to a lot of things you said, and I totally agree with the fact that the idea of Asian households towards mental illnesses is very close minded and sad.

    I’m just a little human being on this planet, but I believe everything you do is worthwhile, and I’m sure that there are many other little human beings who feel this way.

    I hope you have a nice day 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Grace Lucille says:

    From what I’ve read on your blog, I would say you are not sick, you don’t have a mental illness. Rather, you are an incredibly sensitive person in a very insensitive world. This might sound like bad news, but this isn’t merely teenage girl emotional phase. You are, by nature, predominantly emotional. I say all this from experience, you sound just like me.

    It sounds like the real issue is that you feel you shouldn’t be as sensitive and emotional as you really are. You have this idea of who you think you should be (from parents or friends or society in general) and you’re chronically anxious about never measuring up. You end up fighting yourself and going around in circles.

    What you need to do is learn to accept yourself for who you are. You are incredibly gifted and compassionate. These are some of the very positive aspects of your sensitivity. Let your sensitivity be your strength.

    Sorry, this is very haphazardly written. But I just wanted to share this. I’d like to say a lot more to you, practical advice, but don’t have the time at present. As i said, you sound very much like me and this has been my journey. I still have a lot of work to do, but I’m slowly making progress.

    Be encouraged, you are not alone, and there is nothing wrong with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • happysky7311 says:

      Thank you so much for writing this; it actually rings so true to me and makes me feel a lot more comforted that my issues may not be as complexed as they seem. I hope everything is going well for you ❤️

      Like

      • myjourneythroughemdr says:

        Have you ever taken the Myers Briggs personality test? I am an INFJ and relate a lot with what you’re going through. You can take the test here: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

        When I was in junior high and high school I always thought that I disliked my personality because I was so introverted, emotional, and sensitive. I would wish that I could be an extrovert. I was around your age when I first took this test and I felt like it understood me. It was able to highlight my strengths and show all the positive aspects of who I am. I may be emotional, but I am also an extremely compassionate and empathetic person that genuinely cares about people in the world. If you decide to take the test let me know what you think of it!
        Love and hugs Abbey! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

        • happysky7311 says:

          Yes I have actually and I wrote a separate post about it quite a while ago! I’m an ISFP, and that definitely explained my creative side and sensitivity 🙂

          Like

  8. bravingmentalillness says:

    Cultural stigmas surrounding mental health are extremely difficult to process because your family can ostracize you and make your symptoms worse. So, I understand your words and feelings. If anything, hopefully blogging will help express and assure your thoughts and what you’re experiencing. You’re not alone.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Elle says:

    Seeing your school counsellor seems like a between step, and she/he could certainly tell you if they thought you needed any more help. Why not ask them for their opinion? That’s what they’re there for. And even if it is just teenage angst, again, that’s what the school coubsellor is there for.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Luftmentsch says:

    Hi Abbey! Some of what you describe might be adolescence or just how you are as a person (I think most people dislike loved ones at some times), but I think, given that you say that you’ve self-harmed in the recent past, it would be worth trying to speak to someone, maybe a GP or school counsellor. I don’t quite understand why you think you can’t do that at the moment. Is it for financial reasons? I think it’s better to deal with this kind of stuff as early as possible. I let my mental health fester for too long and it was a bad idea.

    If you go to a school counsellor, they might be able to give you a simple written assessment (it will only take about five minutes), rating your moods recently, which will assess your emotional state and give a you a better idea of whether you are suffering from mental illness.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ben Montgomery says:

    I’m 38 and these could easily be my words. Over the last 25 years I haven’t sought any professional help and my life is what most people would see as a mess. Talk to people, let them see you struggle and be honest. Let them help you before it gets too hard and KEEP WRITING!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Eliza says:

    Sending hugs and strength your way Abbey.
    I often wonder if I am creating the mess in my head. Then I realize that even if it is all somehow my fault it is my reality.
    Your reality is yours. Your struggles are real. Naming it only helps if it makes you less alone or helps you plan what to do. Which you can do without necessarily having to do that.
    You are worth it!!!
    Eliza

    Liked by 2 people

    • happysky7311 says:

      I’m aware of it 🙂 sometimes I just feel a bit lost as to how I’m able to relate to so many ill people and yet I’m different from them. I guess I just have really deep empathy. Thank you, hopefully I’ll never stop writing 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. xtina says:

    Awh Abbey, this just made me so sad mostly because i feel like this some days myself. Trust me when I say you are not alone in this. You seem like a bright young girl who knows you need to speak to someone…you actually sound like me. It does not necessarily mean you have a mental illness. Many young adults and teens go through the same thing and are just embarrassed to speak about it…which is dumb because everyone has days like this!! My parents are against therapy too so at my college, I have been seeking one of the free school counselors and it is very helpful! I am not sure what age you are but whether you are at high school or college, you can seek a school counselor and your parents won’t find out. You can always shoot me an email if it interests you. Wish someone was there for me when I was at my lowest points. Keep blogging and doing you. You are a beautiful writer and writing is the best coping mechanism. Chin up beautiful, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. SummersT says:

    I sent you a link…don’t know if you’re received it. But I know EXACTLY what you’re going through. Been there, Done that, and OVERCAME it! Let me know if you’re interested in Learning how to Overcome;)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Amal Suresh says:

    Huhhhhhh…
    M really speechless. It takes real courage to bring out all the fucjed up things running behing yua mind each day, each moment. And yu did it. Kudos to yu kiddo.✌.
    And there are so many damn thing to relate wid i dnt even knw where to start from. As yu said, ders a lot worth living for. Just stick to it no matter what😇😇✌.
    Glad to hav stopped by.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Anna Waldherr says:

    You seem focused on the term “mental illness”, admittedly a label that can have negative implications in our culture. The real issues, however, are pain and functionality. Professional counseling can help reduce pain and improve functionality. It’s that simple.

    Self-harm can be a matter of life and death. Whatever bias your family may have against psychiatric or psychological counseling, I think it is safe to assume they would prefer you to live. If you needed eye glassses, no one would conclude you had a weak character.

    As an 18 y.o., you can access mental health care (which depending on your income may be cost-free) without parental consent. Share the information w/ your family or not. The choice is yours.

    I wish you well. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  17. enigmaticwanderer11 says:

    Hey! I’m a new reader and this was the 1st post I read of your’s and neither do I know you in person. But, I relate a lot to your situation as I’m turning 18 this year as well and I belong to Asian household too. There have been so many instances wherein I thought I needed a psychiatrist or some escape from my family too. They never stopped pointing out my behaviour a cause of excessive phone usage, where as phone was something that actually kept me sane and busy I believe. Things are better now though there are way more tough times awaiting us all, it’s okay if they won’t get you sometimes because of the vast generation gap issues. In the end they’re the one’s who’ll actually stick to us, teenage life is actually a mad run on a never ending or predictable road (necessary to make us wise after all). I hope you may get the support sooner, because late is better than never. And you stay strong sister! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Free Thoughts says:

    It’s not mental illness. It is called life. You are dealing with existential issues and trying to create meaning for yourself. Don’t follow the mental illness model. Follow your pain, it will lead you to your path out of anguish.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. PSYQ Consulting says:

    Hi Abbey, I would join the readers who say seek help and don’t think about your thoughts as being “an illness”.

    Majority of people don’t understand human psychology and how human mind works. It is harrowing for me to see the consequences of that ignorance – and I mean your family and people around you who turn a blind eye to emotional struggles because they don’t know how to deal with it.

    I suspect that is what is happening in your family – they don’t know how to help you and they try to help in the only way they know how. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you or they don’t care. I’m sure they do. They are just lost and feeling helpless.

    That’s why it is important you seek help of someone who can understand and has the skills to help you. School counsellor, GP – someone. If you are in the UK, you can contact a mental health charity such as Young Minds.

    The key is – don’t shut yourself away from the world. We as humans are wired to need positive social interaction with people who understand us and that’s what makes us feel better and valued.

    Use the internet to connect with people who understand you and then talk to them in person, join a support group. It will only be hard at the beginning, and then it will become much easier. I’m sure at some point you will think that jump being the best thing ever.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Rosie says:

    I’ve gotten trapped in the “i’m not sick enough” / “I don’t actually have depression/anxiety/eating disorder/bpd/severe issues” / “other people struggle worse than me” mentality more times than I can count. It’s ultimately not helpful. If you’re having thoughts along those lines, I think they’re enough of an indication of a bad headspace… stay strong x

    Liked by 1 person

  21. TheAwkwardBrownGuy says:

    As someone also from an Indian family – I can relate to some of this. I always found it difficult to open up / trust / share with family or friends. This has been one of the amazing things about my therapist – I feel safe enough to talk to her. If you might have the opportunity to give therapy a try, I’d 💯 recommend it 👌🏽

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Autumn Offline says:

    THIS IS SO RELATABLE OMG
    My family are the exact same with me and my sister (who is currently going mad by cleaning up after everyone in the house)
    I feel like I can relate to your post because I have severe anxiety and I’m pretty paranoid about people following me or deliberately going out of their way to annoy me when they’re not (yes it’s really frustrating)
    Thank god I’m not alone with the family situations.
    ~Autumn Offline 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  23. khadijahbegum says:

    I can relate to a lot of what you expressed in your post and if there’s anything I’ve learnt, it’s that it will always be a battle of will within ourselves. Whilst we can make our own suffering ten times worse, always remember that we also have the power to make it through the dark and into the light 🙂
    You may feel utterly hopeless and undeserving at times – I get that, I really do – but from the surface of this post, you seem to be ready to battle with your demons, your mind and your fears and that shows a great strength of character. That is one helluva reserve of hope.

    Btw… I grew up in an Asian household too 😛 The stigma attached to mental health and it still being seen as a taboo is an aspect that needs changing. Who knows? Maybe you could be a catalyst for that change 🙂

    Keep writing, Abbey – and don’t let anyone tell you

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s