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

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49 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 2 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 2 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 1 person

  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

  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

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