Archive for category Self-esteem

Feeling that Reality is Unreal


It feels like NOTHING is real, but…that doesn’t depress me. Shouldn’t it? For the past few months (and nothing I can think of significant has happened in the past few months, at least nothing out of the ordinary) i’ve begun to feel as if the world around me wasn’t real. But it’s not…depressing or scary…and the fact that its not scary, is a little bit odd to me. I don’t feel particularly unhappy or unsafe, in fact, you could even say that recently I’ve been happier than normal. But even sitting down in the living room typing this seems like it isn’t really happening. It’s like i’m just thinking really hard about things happening or watching some odd 3d projection of information pretending to be physical matter or light or whatever. Shouldn’t I be depressed? Why do I feel so strangely…I don’t even know how to explain it. Not euphoric, because that’s too extreme, just…disconnected. A sort of happy isolation. Am I crazy, or am I like…SUPER CRAZY? What’s wrong with me?

A. I would need many more details about your symptoms to know what, if anything, may be wrong. For instance, it would have been helpful to have answers to the following questions:

  • Do you have a recent history of substance use?
  • How often do you feel as though nothing is real?
  • When did these feelings begin?
  • Are you able to distinguish between what is real and what isn’t?
  • Are you engaging in any particular activity when these feelings occur?
  • Did you recently began taking a new medication?

There are several general possibilities that may explain your symptoms: a significant lack of sleep or the use of drugs or alcohol. If you have used drugs or alcohol recently, your symptoms may be a side effect of those substances. I receive many letters from individuals who have recently “smoked something” and subsequently feel similar to what you have described.

It’s also possible that you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Depersonalization disorder is characterized by feeling detached or estranged from oneself. Sometimes individuals with this disorder describe feeling as though they are in a movie or living in a dream. Some individuals who experience depersonalization worry that they are “crazy.”

On some occasions, individuals with depersonalization disorder experience derealization. Derealization is the experience of feeling as though the external world is strange or not real. Depersonalization disorder typically develops in adolescence or early adulthood (average age is about 16) and can be exacerbated by a traumatic event. Depersonalization disorder is categorized as a dissociative disorder and may be associated with other conditions such as schizophrenia, panic disorder, acute stress disorder, another type of dissociative disorder, drug use, or a general medical problem.

My recommendation is to have an evaluation by a mental health professional. An evaluation could determine if you should be concerned about your symptoms, if your symptoms require treatment and if you have a mental health condition. It is advantageous to receive an objective opinion from a trained professional when experiencing unusual psychological symptoms. Please take care. I wish you the best of luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Should I Have Thrown out my Parents?


I inherited a house I lived in for 12 years with my family, from my grandpa for taking care of him until his death. My parents constantly state that I stole the house from them.

My father lost his job and they moved in with us. They constantly verbally abuse me front of my children calling me improper names. My brother also moved in with his PitBull who attacked my 12 year old daughter and killed her guinea pig front of her. It took me 3 hours to calm her and my parents response was it was my daughters fault for holding her pet. I asked my brother to remove the dog.

We took my daughter on vacation so she can rest from he trauma; I asked my parents to please make sure the dog’s belonging is gone when we return. It was not; therefore I asked my father why very nicely and he attacked me. I had 5 witnesses and he swore that I will never be able to keep my house he will make sure of it. I asked him to leave the house and never came back. This is not the only time he has treated me this way. He hit me until I was 21 and when I was pregnant he cursed my child in my stomach hoping she would die front of strangers on the street. My mom also blames me for how my brother turned out. She says it is all my faoult because when I was 16 I worked too much instead of raising him right while she was at work.

I know I am abused but they always make me feel guilty and I forgive them. This time I am protecting my children who I raise with love and respect. Did I do the right thing by throwing my parents out? Also, I never asked my brother to leave but he broke many things in the house and told me he never wants to see us again. Should I report the incident to the police? Pitt-bull attack and vandalism?

A: Please listen to your own good sense. You are living in an environment of domestic violence. Just because these people are related to you does not, not, not mean that they are entitled to abuse you emotionally, verbally, and physically. You have been worn down to the point that you can no longer see clearly how badly you are being treated and you accept the blaming and shaming. You have nothing to apologize for! The abuse is now being extended to your daughter. Let the tiger-mom in you come out. She needs your protection.

You can’t just tell these people to leave. They will make you miserable. They’ve already shown they are capable of violence. You need support and legal help to separate you from this family safely. Please look at this website to learn how to go about getting the help you need.

If your family has access to this computer, delete this message and your inbox history and use the computer at your library or at a friend’s house to explore your options.

These people are dangerous. Protect yourself and your daughter.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Feeling Worthless on Stage


So I’m a singer and actress. im on stage all the time at my school but everytime i try and do something right, someone else does it better and makes me feel like im nothing. The teachers dont do anything about it. People bully me and pick on me and i cant take it anymore. i cant do what i love if people treat me like dirt. No one seems to see what im able to do and how much talent i have. Im not the one to get jelous, i never do but its hard when so many people hate you.

A. If you have not reported the bullying behavior of your peers to school authorities, then do so immediately. If your teachers won’t listen, then report it to the principal or the guidance counselor, or whomever will listen. In many schools throughout the country, there is a “no tolerance” policy with regard to bullying. That essentially means that no bullying will be tolerated from any student, under any circumstances and the offender shall be punished accordingly.

The other aspect of this problem is “feeling worthless on stage.” Those feelings may be related to low self-esteem. If you do not have high regard for yourself, then you may minimize your talents and abilities. Just because you feel “worthless” does mean that you are worthless. Your self-evaluation is likely inaccurate and based on a low opinion of yourself.

Many people are convinced that they know what other people think about them, when in reality they do not. Try not to make assumptions.

It takes time to develop self-esteem. Self-esteem is derived from competence and life accomplishments. I would encourage you to focus on your development as an actress and as a singer and practice often. Try not to be concerned about what other people think of you, and speak to your parents or the school about the bullying problems. I wish you the best of luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Am I Anorexic?


Hi I’m 15, female, 5’2 and 87. I’m completely obsessed with food. It literally rules my life. I stay up all night thinking and planning what I will eat the next day. I love making food for others but I never eat it. I find it hard to eat over 400 calories a day. I am on my feet every minute I am awake, I never sit down. I workout and exercise also. Not as much as I should. I cancel plans with my friends because I’m afraid they will make me eat or I will be confronted with food. I have constant urges to throw up but I never have. I also self harm by cutting.
I cancel all plans with friends also because I hate being social. I’m a nice person, I just get nervous around other people. I hate staying the night at other peoples’ houses because I have certain routines that I do every day.

I’m constantly sad. Nothing makes me happy. Not even going on vacations or “fun” trips to the mall or amusement park. Being with friends doesn’t make me happy, it just makes me freak out. I constantly think people are judging me. What the heck is wrong with me?? Eating disorder? Anxiety? OCD? Depression? I’ve taken many online quizzes and I’ve scored high on all of the above disorders. I haven’t been to a doctor in over a year, I’m afraid they’ll force me to gain weight and eat. I have insomnia also. Please help. I feel suicidal all the time but I’ve never attempted. I feel like I’m constantly bothering people.

A. I am sorry that you are suffering. You asked about whether you have anxiety, OCD, depression, or an eating disorder. I cannot know with certainty. What fundamentally seems to be driving your behavior is anxiety and fear.

You also seem to lack self-esteem. You are constantly worried about what other people think of you. You worry that you are “bothering people” which may indicate that you consider yourself unimportant.

You are not functioning well. Your eating or sleeping patterns are unstable and you are experiencing significant mental health symptoms, all of which are disrupting your life. You need help. Receiving help at this time is especially imperative because you admitted that you are considering suicide. People often consider suicide when they feel as though they have no other option or they don’t know what to do.

I would advise you to see a mental health professional. You should also have a physical evaluation by a medical professional to determine what damage your body has sustained. Undergoing those evaluations will help to determine your psychological and physical health status.

Accessing professional mental health treatment is the wisest and most efficient approach to your problems. Asking for help may be difficult but force yourself to do it anyway. There are many people who have had very similar problems, received help and their life has significantly improved. If you are willing to seek professional help, then you can expect the same, positive outcome. There is a great deal of hope if you are willing to seek treatment. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Do I Have an Issue?


Hi, I’m 14. I’ve been in high school for about a year now. I started becoming very very lonely. I used to go out with my “friends”. Now I stay home every single day & it’s summer. I sometimes cry myself to sleep because I feel so unwanted! My parents are divorce, I live with my dad & my dad HATES my mom. I haven’t seen my mom in 4 years. Witch probably makes me so emotional. I sometimes even cry because I don’t think I feel love or understood by anyone. I don’t like talking a bout my feelings to people because I feel unwanted, I feel like they won’t care. I keep so much to myself. It brakes me. I believe my dad is Bi-Polar & has anger issues, witch could be a reason why I get mad very easy. I hate my body so much! I’m fat! Im very insecure. I have so much emotion in me. I’m always sad, I could be happy for one minute then back to sad. I also sleep my whole day away.

A. It seems as though you may be experiencing symptoms of depression. You have negative thoughts, you don’t feel good about yourself and you are withdrawing from friends and family. Your feelings may be related to the breakup of your parents’ marriage or their contentious relationship. They may be so focused on battling each other that they are neglecting your emotional needs.

Another aspect of this problem is that you have been without your mother for four years. It is unclear why you have not seen your mother for such a long time but this likely is contributing to your problems.

I would strongly advise you to speak to your father or other members of your family about the possibility of professional help. Don’t ignore these problems. Your symptoms need to be addressed. It seems as though your father is currently unable to meet your emotional needs and if that is the case, then you should seek help from a mental health professional. A therapist can assist you in developing coping skills and the processing of your feelings in a psychologically healthy way.

If you feel uncomfortable approaching your father about this issue, then as soon as school begins next month, speak to a guidance counselor. The guidance counselor could assist you in addressing these problems or refer you to a mental health professional.

In the meantime, force yourself to be in the presence of others. That may not be easy but do it anyway. The less that you are isolated, the better. Isolation increases the likelihood of negative feelings. I would also encourage you to begin writing in a journal. A journal could be helpful in a number of ways including being a release for your emotions and documenting your symptoms. When and if you have the opportunity to meet with a mental health professional, having those notes from your journal could greatly assist the therapist in determining what might be wrong. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Inability to Trust


I come from a very driven family and have always felt the need to be perfect, accomplished and intelligent.I have frequently accused of over-thinking things. Up until the last year or two, this condition has not bothered me. Recently however, it has started to severly hinder my life. I cannot trust my family because I feel as if I am constantly checking and rechecking their words or actions. Any time my mother gets frustrated with me, I instantly feel like I have failed and start defending myself. This has caused much strife between my mother and I. It has also tainted my relationships with friends. Sometimes, I feel so insecure and afraid I don’t want to be around any one at all. I want to push all my friends away and have everyone leave me alone. The worst time is when I feel this way with my significant other. I simply cannot allow myself to trust him even though I want to. I feel torn, unsure and scared. I am constantly checking and rechecking his words and actions. I constantly feel like I am not good enough. I have this huge fear of being compared to his ex girlfriends and I will never allow myself to accept a compliment from him, or anyone for that matter. I feel as if I can’t get my mind to be at peace. I just want to be able to trust someone and not constantly doubt them. I want to be able to feel ok with having someone be in my life and not feel the urge to run them off.

I have not sought any medical attention since I do not want to make a big deal out of it with my family. I have tried researching what disorder or phobia might be causing these symptoms with no luck. Do you have any insights, opinions or information that could help me get over this constant uncertainty?

A. I am not certain exactly what you meant by the expression “constantly checking and re-checking” the words and actions of others. Does that mean that you are questioning them about what they’re saying? Are you attempting to ensure that what they’re saying is accurate? It would’ve been helpful to have had a more thorough explanation of what you meant by that phrase.

Your inability to trust may be your way of attempting to protect yourself from being hurt. It seems as though you are constantly in a defensive mode. Individuals who are characteristically defensive often are that way because they don’t like to be wrong. Being wrong, in their mind, might equate to being “no good.” They don’t take criticism easily and feel as though it is an affront to the core of their being.

At the heart of the problem may be a lack of confidence. If you don’t feel good about yourself, then what others say about you may be perceived as an attack. This hypersensitivity to criticism may be part of the problem.

This problem is “severely hindering your life.” For that reason, I would highly recommend counseling. You stated that you do not want to “make a big deal out” out of this problem but left untreated, you risk ruining every important relationship in your life. Without those relationships, you will be unhappy. You may only need a few counseling sessions to adjust your thinking. I hope you will consider counseling. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Trying to Be Someone You’re Not


Alison Dilaurentis, a character in the show Pretty Little Liars is very mean,popular,gorgeous,and queen Bee. I just love her personality and they way she acts. She always gets what she wants. I want to be just like that. I love her fashion and her room decor
so I want to my fashion and room just like hers, but I don’t feel right because its not right to be mean and spoiled but I really want too and I would feel bad if I treated the way she treated other people. I feel a little weird because I’m not naturally (mostly) like that. I mean I could act like her but I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do. I feel like I’m a copycat and not being original, and that is probably one of the worse feelings ever.

A: It is tempting to identify with a character who gets everything she wants. But perhaps you want to be like her for only part of her portrayal. It sounds like you want to be like the parts of her that achieves her goals, is popular and takes care of herself. Mean doesn’t make those things happen.

While you are working on your room, look around for a character that has all these traits – but without the one you don’t want. My guess is that role model will be much more appealing. Don’t try to be who you’re not.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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