Dear Mesmerizing Meg: Hello, I am a 15 year old female and for a very long time, I’ve been suffering with a very weird thing. When I am sleeping, all out of the sudden I feel like my body is going high very fast, it feels like I’m flying upwards and I feel a ringing in my ears and they feel like they’re gonna pop. My vision is white, and my heart beat is racing, and I’m begging to someone or something to make it stop during the whole thing. I don’t know whether I’m sleeping or I’m awake, I don’t know whether it’s sleep paralysis either. I’ve had this since I was younger and I don’t what to do, I no longer go to sleep because I fear this might happened. Do you have any idea what might cause it? Thank you and have a good day/night 🙂
Kind querent: Thanks, and I hope you’re having a great day too!
This is completely normal, from what I understand. I’ve experienced it as well, and my friend Emilia is some kind of expert on it. I think the key is to not let it scare you. Whatever it is, it’s just your brain reacting to shifting levels of conscious awareness. You might appreciate reading this Wikipedia article about exploding head syndrome. (No, it’s not nearly as vile as it sounds. I promise you that your head isn’t going to explode.) I don’t know all the science behind it, but I hope you can take comfort in the awareness that it’s not all that unheard of. Even though it scares you, there’s no real threat to any of it, if that makes sense; and that might help you quit being afraid when it happens.
Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I plan to just do the bachelor in psychology. And I don’t want to do the extra 6 years to become a registered psychologist. I want to help others. But I am far from smart and I’m concerned I can’t even do the bachelor but it has been something since a small child I’ve dreamed to do. And it’s been something I keep going back too. What can I do with this degree if I complete it?
I’d hate for you to limit yourself. But if you just want to get the BA, you can use it to work in residential treatment facilities for mentally ill and/or abused kids and teens. They’re always looking for new employees! You could also get a degree in social work, which is much, much easier than getting a PhD or PsyD. Often, you can be licensed to offer therapy with said degree, to some capacity. But what I’d recommend is that, once you start your undergrad training, talk to your advisor (or any psych teacher) about these options so that you know what a good path for you would be. I’ve found most college teachers to be quite approachable and eager to help you know about options.
Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I just need another perspective. As a teenager I was always really depressed bc of my insecurities, was not popular in school and had low self-esteem. Then from 16-18, I went to a new school and my ex BFF went too, and she spread rumours about me and made all the popular people in the school that I had never met ignore me. Also she made fun of the way I look. The fact that complete strangers would decide not to be my friend just over what they heard and how I looked gave me zero self esteem. Then I finally got out of that school and I thought I was doing better, but in university it was hard to make friends because I look quite young for my age and I’m not good looking and I could tell when people looked at me they didn’t want to be friends because of it. So I stopped going into uni so much. Then one of my close friends stopped being friends with me, I know now she was taking her own issues out on me. I was depressed and lonely and end up failing school that year. I had been surviving on student loans til then, and I couldn’t find a job. It was really difficult being broke. By the end of that year my cat got sick and I was under a lot of stress for not being able to afford the vet, also on the news there was some psychopath going around killing neighbourhood cats and I lived in constant severe anxiety. I was also more devastated at a job rejection and other difficult news. Since then I’ve become like a zombie, don’t care about much, daydream and ruminate the past, and get anxiety over anything.
Kind querent: I’m so sorry about your cat. I’m hoping he survived, but I’m afraid to ask…? But don’t blame yourself. Your cat knew he was loved and cared about. And your former BFF sounds like a total [bleep]. Too many high-schoolers follow a herd mentality, and that’s awful.
Is there any chance you can move back in with your parents? You need some support and structure that they might be able to offer. If you’re living on your own out of a sense that you “should be,” then maybe you’re being too hard on yourself. You’re still figuring out life, and that can take years and years. I’d also like to see you get some career counseling. It’s not too late to go back to college, but at this point, I’d only go if you have a career path in mind. (Student loans are too outrageous these days, and you’re already saddled with some.) Also, you could try to find friends online. I’ve had a lot of luck with that. If you go back to college, please take advantage of your campus’s counseling center. If you don’t, I hope you can get some counseling if/when you move back in with your parents. And please ask them if you can get a new cat friend.