From a teen in the U.S.: Incase it effects answers at all, I’ve been officially diagnosed with depression, anxiety, ADD and Type one diabetes. The problem is that almost every second of everyday, I feel like if I tell the entire truth in any kind of situation something bad will happen, or I will be in trouble. I’ve never had any betrayals in my past that would leave an imprint on who I am, or ever felt unsafe telling the truth at home or at school. I’;m too ashamed to share this in the real world so I work very hard to keep track of my lies and keep them going so I’m never caught. It’s usually very small things, like in a story – time of day, exact setting, or who was there. I dont ever consciously do it with a goal in mind, and it doesn’t often change how someone would view or think of me. Rarely do they make my life easier, more often than not harder. I’m scared I’m going to ruin my life or relationships, and wanted any possible suggestions at improving myself or finding the root of this problem?

Wow. You are dealing with a lot! You told me that you have been officially diagnosed, but you didn’t mention if you are getting any kind of treatment. I certainly hope so.

Having Type 1 diabetes itself is a lot to handle on your own. It means a lifetime of self-monitoring and self-discipline that most people don’t have to deal with. I hope your endocrinologist or local hospital has a support group for young people to help young people like you find ways to manage the disease so that it doesn’t influence every part of your life. If you can’t find such a group, think about asking your doctor to start one. I’m not talking about a group to just learn more about the practical aspects of self-management. I’m hoping you can find a group that also encourages the teens involved to talk about their feelings and how they are navigating being different from kids who don’t have to test and adjust all day.

You should also be getting some talk therapy to help you deal with the depression, anxiety and ADD. Medicine alone usually isn’t enough. I suspect your habit of lying a little in almost every situation is some kind of coping behavior for you. Without knowing more about you, I can’t go into depth here. But a licensed mental health counselor can help you figure out how the white lies somehow help you. I do suspect it has something to do with needing to feel in control of at least something about your life. But maybe not.

I also want you to know that ADD isn’t a sentence. You can learn ways to work around it. Some of the most successful young adults I know have ADD and have found ways to use it to their advantage. Yes, they need to keep lists and calendars to make sure they don’t forget to do something important. But they tell me that what others see as “distractibility” is, for them, a gift. They tell me that thinking of many things at once helps them multi-task. What looks like not paying attention is really that they are paying attention to too much at once. They have had to learn how to sort among all the things they think and see to find what to focus on.  A therapist can also be your coach is making ADD work for you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie