No one to talk to


No one to talk to


your avatar   Amy

I don't really know how to say this but I'll give it my best shot. I have a wonderful, loving family and really nice, likeable friends. I'm not one of the most popular girls, but I have lots of friends and I'm not bullied or anything. So I should be happy, right? Should is my only problem. I'm miserable, but I can't open up to anyone, and I feel like no one cares enough to really try to talk to me and get to know the real me.

I keep everyone believing that they know me completely and that I really love them, and I do, but most of my friends know nothing about me. I really don't think the best about myself. I feel like I'm not good enough to have people waste time and money on me. I feel like I'm really selfish whenever I want to ask for something. I feel like I'm really not important, but my biggest fear is dying and just being forgotten by everyone. As a result, I always ignore myself and try to do whatever others want me to do.

I'm in almost all excellent classes at school, and I have almost no free time. I have exclusive activities and sports every day, even weekends. I have mild insomnia, and waking up at 5:30 for school doesn't help. I always have bags under my eyes and I feel really ugly.

People are always kind as usual to me, but offhand comments and little nits and pricks really hurt me. My mom is very supportive of me, but always honest in saying that I don't have a great voice, am not the best on my basketball team, can't really play bassoon, and scolding me when I get even a 96 on a test.

I don't know why, but I have stopped eating. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE food, but this makes me avoid it. I never eat lunch and usually just eat maybe a cheese stick for dinner. It's not that I think I'm fat (we all have a bit of flub and that's fine) I just... get not hungry? And then there are the voices. Pretty sure it's just schizophrenia. They're not bad voices, or mean, or violent. But they're there.

I'm just so confused and aching inside. I don't know what's wrong with me and what I should do to make myself better. I hope you can help me, because I'm really afraid to talk to anyone in my small town, because everyone knows everything about everyone. There would be no hiding that I'm a psychopath or whatever is wrong with me.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Amy my dear, the clues to your problem are there, in your letter. You are loved, yes, and you have a good family, and I am sure they mean the best for you, but...

From what you wrote, your mom scolds you for scoring "only" 96 on a test, and focuses on all the negatives. No doubt she does this for herself too, so this is not to blame her at all. Unrealized by herself, she has been very damaging. Don't tell her this -- why impose hurt on someone who loves you -- but from now on, you can stop believing the list of things you can't do. You can. Some things you do really, really well, like getting 96 on a test, and other things are your growing edges, like improving your musical skills. Life would be boring if you were instantly perfect at anything you try! So, at first it's not so good, but intelligent practice leads to improvement. When she tells you you're not good at something, your instant thought can be, "Thank you for pointing out where I can improve. Now, how can I get better at this?"

Trouble is, when you were a tiny little girl, you were not yet able to do mental gymnastics like that. You simply believed what mom said. This led to some childish beliefs that continue to rule your life, right now. I don't know what your particular set is, but it could include things like:

  • "No one will love me unless I am perfect at everything."
  • "I know I can't do anything right, so I need to pretend all the time."
  • "What I want doesn't matter; I am here to make everyone else feel good."
  • "I need to be punished for being so awful, so I shouldn't enjoy food."

As I said, these are only guesses.

I imagine there is a counselor at your school. Approach that person, and take your question and my answer with you. A few sessions of cognitive therapy will turn your life around. If there is no school counselor, convince your parents to pay for a few sessions with a good psychologist. It could be their best investment in your future.

Now, about the voices. It's important to keep them a secret from anyone who would put you on anti-psychotic drugs. You DO NOT need such drugs. Look, everyone has "voices." For most people, these are all in "my" voice, and clearly identifiable as "my" thoughts." Some people hear the voices as if they were from "out there:" different from "my thoughts." However, they are still generated by the person. This is actually a very minor difference. The question is: Do the voices tell you to do anything you would disapprove of? If so, it's the same as me having an (obviously internal) urge to do something I disapprove of. I don't do it. If you get the same from a voice, you don't do it. It's not that you are schizophrenic, but that you have an excellent auditory imagination, and internally have a play with multiple characters. What's wrong with that?


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


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