I'm a 16 y/o girl and for the past I don't know how long I've felt like I have no sense of identity. And I know it's typical to go through an identity crisis in teenagehood, but I think this is something bigger. I feel like I'm not a real person, or like I'm both a puppet and the puppeteer pulling the strings. I rapidly switch between obsessions and those obsessions take up 100% of my sense of identity. That's all I am. Then when I go onto the next thing that whole period of time will seem foggy, and I'll struggle to remember how it felt to be a "different me." It'll almost feel like a totally different person. I don't know how else to describe it. I'll be able to pick out moments, I can remember other times in my life, but I won't be able to get the overall sense of everything. It's like I'm looking through a scrapbook with pictures of a life I haven't really experienced trying to tell the story like it's me. I feel like I can't predict my future feelings and actions. I feel out of control, even though from the outside my life seems totally in control and I seem like a successful person.
I spend so much of my energy trying to keep various out-of-control obsessions in control, and when I say "obsessions" I mean it gets really bad. It will range from "100% of my personality is circulated around this fandom" to that time I considered intentionally giving myself brain damage because I was obsessed with anterograde memory loss when I was 12. I mean I was literally considering possible plans. I don't know why that happened, nor did I know why at the time. I knew it didn't make sense. I was terrified and confused. It just felt like my world melted around me and only one thought was left and I couldn't turn it off no matter how hard I tried. No distractions worked because nothing else would catch my attention. It's like that most of the time. People are shadows, or ghosts, or statues. I'm not real, or I'm a creature that's invaded my body and my life and I don't belong here. I know this probably sounds creepy or makes no sense but I don't know how else to describe it. There are really good times when I'm happy, but even then I'm fixated on something and I don't know who I am. I'm thinking too hard about the 1 thing I'm thinking about to remember anything's wrong, and I just hope it will last forever, and then like everything it fades and I'm left with nothing again and I'm confused and feel like I'm tricking everyone and shouldn't be alive.
I'm just confused. I don't know what to do. I feel like the me I know is so different from the me other people know. People keep saying I have such great potential, I'm so intelligent, I'm going to go places in life, but I feel like I'm spiralling into chaos and I have no chance to even function as an adult. They just don't see it. And then I wonder if what they see is right, and I'm just overreacting and being dramatic. But I could give so many examples of things that are just so not normal, and I know they're not normal. And I can't even analyze what happened or why afterwards, because after it's over it all becomes fog and my brain moves on to the next phase.
It also might be important to note that I have maladaptive daydreaming (I sometimes spend 8+ hours a day in a daydream world, if I have obligations maybe 4-6 hours) and a lot of very disturbing intrusive thoughts, but I've never been diagnosed with a mental disorder and I've never seen a psychologist or gotten mental help for Anything. Is this... a thing? Is there anything I can do? What should I do? Does this even make sense? Writing this I feel like I'm making it up because not even this itself feels real. But I know that's because nothing does. Am I a monster??
P.S. I know my name on this account is Fakist Namist which is obviously not my name, I don't know if there's a rule that you have to put your real name and if so I'm sorry. I don't like giving my real name bc I'm afraid someone in my real life will find this.
I'm sorry if this was too long or didn'take any sense. Thank you.
Update: This submission was answered by Helen instead of Max. Enjoy!
Thank you for coming to Asking Jude for advice. I’m very sorry to hear about your trouble with obsessions and self-identity. It all sounds very stressful, so I appreciate you opening up to us about what you are going through. I want to clarify that you are not a monster, nor are you overreacting or being dramatic. These behaviors you described do not appear to be intentional, which is why I encourage you not to blame yourself for acting this way.
Since I am not a psychologist, I cannot tell you if this is a mental disorder or if you have one. However, I strongly recommend consulting a psychologist about your feelings and behaviors. Since they are professionals, they can properly diagnose you if need be. I know that reaching out to a psychologist can be frightening, but remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Their job is to help people through their struggles with mental health, so I suggest considering it. Here is a link to finding a therapist in your area:
If you cannot afford to see a therapist at the moment or do not feel comfortable doing so, there are other alternatives to seeking emotional support. Below, I will be linking some hotlines and textlines you can refer to:
-National Suicide Prevention Hotline (U.S.):
-Telephone Helpline: 877-995-5247 or download the Safe Helpline app on your phone
-Crisis Helpline: 800-233-4357
-Crisis Chat: https://www.contact-usa.org/chat.html
-Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741
-Teenline (https://teenlineonline.org/talk-now/) (open from 6pm-9/10pm each night): 310-855-HOPE (4673) or 800-852-8336 or text “TEEN” to 839863
More telephone numbers can be found here: https://psychcentral.com/lib/telephone-hotlines-and-help-lines/
It may also help to open up to a loved one in your life about your concerns. Sometimes, it helps to know that we have people in our lives who care about and support us. Consider reaching out to a trusted family member or friend about what you described.
I know you also mentioned your history with maladaptive daydreaming. Since I am not a doctor, I will be inserting links below with more information about it:
Please take care of yourself during these times. I can imagine that having trouble with self-identity and frequent obsessions takes a toll on your mental wellbeing. Remind yourself (or set reminders on your phone) to get sufficient sleep each night, eat healthy meals, engage in exercise during the day, and drink enough water. If you are having trouble relaxing before sleep, here is a link to a guided meditation session that I hope will calm the nerves:
Do not hesitate to let Asking Jude know if there is anything else we can help you with.
Sending love and support,
Hi there, love! We relayed your submission to Max. They'll be answering it shortly.