Hi there. I’m a thirteen-year-old female from the United States of America. My whole life I’ve battled with anger issues, troubles with focusing on things, depression, and figuring out who exactly I am. I have a few questions and / or things that I just need to have explained. I have 3 or 4 things, so brace yourself.

My first topic is sexuality. Recently, I’ve been contemplating my sexuality quite a lot. My whole life I’ve been a visualizer? I like to act out different scenarios in my head. Sometimes, though, they’re intrusive thoughts that I never thought about or worried about before then. This isn’t the first time I’ve contemplated being bisexual / pansexual (I’ve been thinking about them both). When I was younger, say about 10-11, I began contemplating my sexuality. I’ve never thought I was full-fledged lesbian, but I do have a feeling that I am not completely straight. I would be happy with a woman, and even someone who doesn’t identify with any gender and is non-binary (which is why pansexual is also a good term to describe me). This seems great, but it’s not. My parents aren’t homophobic, and I even have a married lesbian cousin, so that isn’t what I’m worrying about. What’s worrying me is the fact that being part of the LGBTQ+ community has become a trend almost, and this is not me trying to be trendy. This is me struggling to figure out who the hell I am. Another one of my worries is coming out. I have a lovely group of friends (online, my friends irl despise me), but there’s something unsettling about thinking of coming out to them. Most of them are bisexual, and I feel like if I told them that I was too (even though I’m not 100% yet, I’m still trying to come to terms with myself), something bad would happen. And who knows, maybe they’d be super supportive, but I’m just getting in my own head about it. I’m scared that they would look down on me or laugh at me no matter how lovely they are. I’ve had dreams about coming out and they were all good dreams, but anytime I think about coming out it makes me feel sick. Any explanations for that?

Next is my friend situation. After losing all of my friends last year, things have gotten worse and better. I miss my friends, but I feel guilty for doing so. They were terrible to me, and yet when I think about them I just feel such strong feelings of love. My new group of friends is even worse than they are. They are constantly body shaming me, calling me “fake” talking about me (because I’m the fake one?), and just making me feel unloved and unwanted. I get to go to a high school next year that is for the arts musical theater, and I get to escape from these people, but it’s starting to make me feel sick. I’ve had two groups of friends make me feel like shit, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s my fault. I wonder if I’m just not good enough to have friends, which is why I’m worrying about my new school. With my online friends, I always feel like I’m annoying them. I sometimes say things that are rude and unnecessary but don’t realize that they’re upsetting until I’m called out on it. I just don’t know what to do and I want my panicking to stop.

Lastly, elaborating on something I said in another paragraph, I visualize things quite frequently in very detailed ways. For instance, I’ve sat alone in my room for hours on end and visualized me killing myself. I’ve visualized coming at as bisexual / pansexual. I’ve visualized having sex (although I am 13 and have never actually experienced anything like it), and I’m not sure why. A lot of times, while visualizing sex and kissing related things, I visualize it with a girl. When I run through these scenes in my head, I have a girlfriend, not a boyfriend. This is going back into my thing about being bisexual or pansexual, but it is one of the most distressing things in my life right now. I can’t sleep because my mind is wandering all night, I can’t think about anything other than it ever. Obviously my brain started thinking about it, which was why I began typing about it here. I just don’t know what to do.

Most of these aren’t questions as you see, but if you have anything that may help me, especially with the middle one, I’d love to hear it. Thank you for reading, please get back to me as soon as possible.

Nothing that you have written is necessarily outside the realm of normal for your age and stage of development. At 13 years old, you are in the midst of trying to figure out who you are, what you like, who you like, and who should you be spending your time with. That is normal for people of your age. There’s nothing unusual about what you are experiencing, thinking or doing.

Regarding sexuality, it’s normal to be contemplating who you’d want to be with and visualizing that experience. The visualization you mentioned is likely fantasy. Everyone has fantasies. Some people have a more vivid and active fantasy life than others, but fantasies, in general, are quite normal. Fantasies serve a wide range of psychological functions including exploring our wishes and desires, as distractions, and allowing us to mentally explore certain scenarios before acting on them.

A quote that might help you understand the purpose of fantasies comes from a 1907 Sigmund Freud paper. In it, he writes “might we not say that every child at play behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his own, or, rather, rearranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him?” Essentially, what he is saying, is that fantasies are the created world of someone’s own making. A person is thinking about the things that they might want to do, and mentally attempting to experience them via fantasies. Fantasies are a safe way to explore one’s needs and desires without actually having to act on them. Thus, it’s very normal to fantasize in the manner that you have described.

Regarding your friends, it’s also common for teenagers to have different friends during each year of school. Sometimes, if you’re fortunate, you’ll find several friends with whom you can continue those relationships, year-to-year and even into adulthood. It’s also quite common for groups of friends, especially teenagers, to have conflicts. It’s not necessarily healthy but it is relatively normal. That you sometimes feel that you are annoying them, might be you inappropriately attributing negative qualities to yourself. One would have to analyze those situations, in-depth, in order to determine if you are correct about your self-assessment.

The most concerning aspect of your visualization is this: you “killing myself.” That’s concerning because it suggests suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation is serious under any and all circumstances. It is something you should discuss with a therapist, in person, if possible. If in person therapy is not possible at this time, consider consulting a therapist via telehealth or telephone. It’s always important to be proactive when it comes to one’s mental health. Thus, if a potential problem is developing, it’s important to act sooner rather than later. Having a therapist with whom you can discuss these issues would help you tremendously.

I hope that I have sufficiently responded to your questions. If you’d like to write again, please don’t hesitate to do so. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle