I have been having symptoms of personality disorders since I was 16. Several times a week I feel as though I don’t know who I am, I don’t know where I am, and I don’t know the people around me. In the back of my head I know that I am fine but it can be scary at times. Another symptom I have is sometimes everything seems really loud in my head. Like everything is quiet around me but my thoughts are so loud. It’s not really a voice in my head, but I can’t control the loud thoughts. This may sound odd, but this used to occur when I was very young, but in my dreams. This symptom really is frightening and I really want it to go away. It has only recently begun to happen while I am awake. I have had some trauma in my past, but I don’t know how to get rid of these unsettling symptoms. I want to see a psychiatrist/therapist; however, my mom refuses to pay for me to see one and I cannot afford it myself.
I also have other small symptoms such as I feel like I cannot control my thoughts often, sometimes I feel like there is something/someone touching me when there is nothing, sometimes when I am reading it is difficult to see / concentrate on the words, and I often forget short term things such as a conversation I just had (like I remember the topic of what we were talking about, but I can’t remember any of the specific things that were said). I have an extremely overactive imagination that I can’t turn off so I usually watch tv until I fall asleep.
Nothing that you have described would indicate a personality disorder. That’s the problem with self-diagnosis. It’s always best to receive a professional, in-person, evaluation. If you can do that, you should. If not, because of the coronavirus, try consultation via telehealth or telephone.
You mentioned that since you were 16, you have felt as though you don’t know who you are, you don’t know where you are and you don’t know the people around you. The idea of not knowing who you are at 16 years old is fairly common. However, I’m not certain what you mean by that statement so it’s difficult for me to determine if that is “normal.” I do not have enough information to know.
The idea of not knowing where you are or that you don’t know the people around you, is an unusual occurrence. Those are not necessarily symptoms of any particular mental health disorder. If I could interview you, I would be attempting to determine what may have been going on in your life at that time. Were there any physical health problems? Did you experience head trauma? Was there a big change in your life? Was there an accident? A physical health problem might explain your symptoms.
It’s interesting to note that even though you didn’t know where you were or knew the people around you, you knew you would be fine. I wonder what that experience was like and how you knew you would be fine. I would also be interested in learning more about the fear you experienced during those times. Again, the experiences you described are unusual and require further investigation.
Another symptom you described are that things seem really loud in your head, particularly your thoughts. This is also an unusual symptom. You mentioned experiencing trauma in the past. It’s possible that your symptoms and the trauma are related. Relatedly, you experienced the inability to control your thoughts and the feeling that someone or something is touching you. Inability to concentrate and forgetfulness are also concerning symptoms.
You mentioned that your mother refuses to help you access treatment. You have options. One good option is consulting your school counselors. Colleges all have counseling centers and their services are free for students. Many also have psychiatrists on staff. I would strongly suggest consulting your college counseling center about your symptoms. Even during the pandemic, there is likely a way for you to contact your college counseling center. Many have moved their services online but remain accessible to students.
Another option to consider is your local community mental health center. Many communities have these centers and their services are based on one’s income or, in some instances, are free. Community mental health centers often take a team approach when treating their clients. That’s good news for you because it means that you can receive help from a variety of professionals.
Your symptoms should not be ignored. They should be evaluated and treated. It’s not clear what may be causing them, but an evaluation should be able to determine what the problem may be.
You should consult your primary care physician. It would be wise to undergo a physical health evaluation to rule out any medical problems. Let’s hope that your mother does not prevent you from seeing a primary care physician. That would be outrageous, especially when you are suffering.
As an adult, you can seek help, even if you’re still living with your parents or are under their insurance. At the very least, it’s imperative to consult your primary care physician who can assist you in determining what may be wrong, and refer you to a specialist, if necessary. Hopefully, you can receive the help that you desire. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle