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Welcome to You Need Help! Where you seek advice and we try our very best to give it.
This has traditionally been done by way of individual Formspring accounts, Autostraddle’s Tumblr and a Formspring Friday column, which has all been very fun and insightful. But, because Formspring has a character limit and we’re wildly optimistic w/r/t our time-management skills, we thought we’d go one further and let you use our ASS private messaging to share advice-related feelings, too.
For more info on sending in questions, see the bottom of this post. Let’s get down to bossing people around on the internet! Today we get into some pretty serious stuff.
I’m not sure what’s wrong with me but my perceptions are such that I basically have completely inappropriate emotional reactions (emotions are not lining up) to basic events, I have huge gaps in my memory spanning the last three-five months– a significant part of what I can remember (like days or weeks at a time) is comprised entirely of that staticky fuzz you get on television screens when the receiver goes out (and I know stuff was happening/I wasn’t in a coma or shit because I have journals that relate a variety of events I cannot remember at all) and the parts I do remember are wrong (information also provided by said journals–things that didn’t happen are inserted into real memories, or significant details are changed).
I’m suddenly afraid of everything, keep finding myself places with no idea how I got there or why I’m doing what I’m doing (basically I have almost no short term memory either), I perceive sensory input as flickering or thick or fail to interpret it (e.g. hearing some speak and not being able to process what they’re saying or anything more than that there is noise) and in the last several weeks have started hallucinating (only little things, mostly bugs, which has happened before but only during periods of extreme sleep deprivation) about once or twice a week and I’m kind of scared and I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t want to tell anyone in case something is wrong.
I used to struggle with anxiety and depression but I got better and it was never like this–everything was always clear, I could think then, and I know this is over the suggested word limit but you’ve talked about mental health issues before and it seemed like maybe you might see something in this I don’t.
When I first got this question I wondered if attempting to answer it could be considered irresponsible or even illegal.
To be honest I’ve always wondered why so many of you consult me about your mental health issues instead of doctors or family members, but I imagine it’s got something to do with comfort level or maybe trusting me/us in a way you don’t trust other adults in your life. In other words, I fear that if I don’t answer you, you’re not going to ask anyone else. So I decided it’d be irresponsible to NOT answer it.
However, this is particularly complicated here because while it does seem to be an issue requiring medical attention, we can’t be certain that it’s a mental health issue, it could be a neurological issue. Not that I’m a mental health expert, but I am slightly crazy/on medication and have been very close to a shit-ton of other crazy people over the years.
It’s tricky to pinpoint the cause of the symptom of memory loss, especially if you’re very young. You definitely need to see not only a psychiatrist, but a physician too, and very soon.
You should consider (and tell your doctor) whether you’ve had any recent head trauma or injuries or are on any drugs (prescribed or not) as many have memory loss as a side effect, and think about how recently you’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety. Also consider any emotional trauma you may be dealing with.
Many depressives become forgetful simply because they lose interest in things and stop paying attention to their surroundings, people, events, etc., and attention is required to hold onto memories.
You say that you’re experiencing paranoia and hallucinations — that alone is enough to necessitate a doctor visit.
Now that we’ve covered the physical/medical aspects, I want to talk about this — “I’m kind of scared and I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t want to tell anyone in case something is wrong.”
If it’s a disinterest in life in general that’s enabling your resistance to improve your life by telling someone what’s going on, then that in and of itself is already a symptom of depression. (Trust me, I know!)
But please, if something is wrong, little wing, then you’ve gotta make it right before it gets more wrong. You sound self-aware — you keep a journal, you read Autostraddle — you have lots of things in your life worth remembering! It’s not weak or silly to ask for help. It’s weak and silly NOT to. Don’t let pride, or any internalized stigma about anxiety/depression, stop you. Honestly I think being a little crazy or totally crazy makes people much more interesting and creative. If it is a mental thing then you are so not alone, as I’m sure many commenters will attest.
You need to call someone today. If we’re dealing with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder then things could escalate and get worse really fast, to the point where you’re no longer rational enough to take action to get better or it could start damaging your relationships, work or school. I know that’s hard to imagine right now. But I’ve known a lot of beautiful, smart, caring people (both friends and family members) who left their mental illness untreated and the results have been both devastating and unnecessary (because they could’ve been avoided with treatment).
Of course it’s always possible that you’re completely okay! But you won’t know that ’til you check it out.
The good news is that there’s so many resources, so many medical advancements, and so many people who love you and want you to be well.
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