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What should I do?
Jun 5, 2008

I feel that I may have a mental disorder of some sort. My symptoms are many and have varied considerably throughout my lifetime, thus I feel like I may need aid in identifying them.

As a child it started with delusions and severe paranoia. I felt as if everyone was plotting against me, using magic dust of some sort to sap my strength and intelligence... It sounds ridiculous but it's true. This fear led to a wide array of strange behaviors such as avoiding human contact, avoiding food (or any item for that matter, such as water) that had been in contact with others that I didn't trust (which was pretty much everyone sans my parents/ grandma). I also developed some habits that can be characterized as obsessive compulsive such as an extreme fear of germs, ritualistic behaviors such as not stepping on cracks and repeating words over and over again. Interestingly enough, the strength of delusions and paranoia diminished year after year and virtually disappeared by high school.

I have been told that if you realize that your behavior or beliefs are absurd, strange, or ridiculous than you weren't considered "crazy". As I have mentioned before, by high school all of these strange delusions were all but gone. I must admit there are certain times when I feel the delusions "resurfacing" (like when someone I don't trust offers me food) but I can easily control such behaviors now.For a while, I actually believed that these paranoid, delusional episodes in my past were all a product of a vivid imagination and feelings of resurgence were simply a product of "muscle memory"... I don't believe this is the case now.

Now that I am within my adult years, I am beginning to see several negative behavioral symptoms and aspects about me that I believe are a byproduct of the mental problems of my past.

First of all, I have frequent episodes of depression that are caused by extremely strong feelings of worthlessness and inferiority. I am an excessive worrier, and I mean excessive. I often have “worry attacks” that leave me in tears. I talk to myself.... ALOT.... I even curse at myself pretty harshly... I am also highly self-conscious. Furthermore, I have trouble forming meaningful relationships, although I do make friends easily. Strangely I am passive and quite introverted toward strangers; I don't like to fight (perhaps due to a strong sense self-preservation) despite being a United States Marine. In fact, the most troubling symptoms are the ones that adversely affect my performance in the United States Marine Corps, lack of concentration/focus being numbered top among them. I have been considered by most of my marine comrades, and several of those who I have met throughout my Marine Corps career, to be "lost" or stupid, which I believe stems from this lack of focus. I for one don't believe I am stupid. I receive high marks in school and will be attending one of the most respectable public universities in the world. However, I constantly find myself making mistakes. My inability to speak my mind properly (stutter) under stressful circumstances (such as being "chewed out" by a superior for a mistake) doesn't help the "lost" image of myself either. Should I be deployed (which has not happened yet), I believe that my inability to conform properly to the stresses of the Marine Corps will endanger both the lives of myself and my comrades.

This high lack of concentration, this dislike of activities that require concentration, also affects other areas of my life. Although I receive high marks in school, I find it extremely difficult to study for long periods and procrastinate uncontrollably. On a typical day, it is not uncommon for me to fully intend to study but wind up procrastinating 9 hours straight... I can't even concentrate when it is a necessity such as on days when I need to take a final. On such a day as the hours tick by, I would be afflicted with strong feelings of hopelessness and be filled with extreme despair.. I mumble and curse myself... grab my head.. moan and sometimes feel the need to bang my head or hurt myself.... Thus I find myself studying in short bursts with lengthy breaks (thereby wasting time) or cramming (thereby not retaining information in my long term memory). I also daydream excessively and have trouble remembering things in the short term.

I have had a childhood that can be considered by some as "traumatic". My late father was an alcoholic by most standards and was the source for a lot of the misery in my life. He died in a car crash... didn't miss him much.

Most of my friends would consider me to be a normal guy. Perhaps a few may believe that I'm tad bit eccentric but not overtly so. All of them would be shocked at how deep my mental illness reaches (or has reached), which further reinforced my initial belief that there was nothing wrong with me. I joined the Marines believing I was a healthy and normal person; I’m afraid if I disclose this to my superiors I am going to be cast out and my secret exposed thus leaving my future plans in ruins…

Anyone have any idea as to what I am afflicted with? Can anyone help me out?"

I have set up an appointment with a graduate student counselor of psychiatry at a university mental health center, because I can't afford a real psychologist due to lack of insurance.

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