Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

I'm confused. Please help me.

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 3 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • August 1, 2007
  • 07:51 AM

I'm 16 and I think something's wrong with me.
I can't sleep until around midnight, and when I do, I'm terrified to open my eyes while in bed because I'll see something scary.
At night, I'm overly paranoid and my parents think I'm just being a teenager and overreacting to everything.

Like I'm afraid that if I open my eyes, I'll see a murderer coming in to kill me or something.
I'm terrified of lying down in bed at night because if I do, I have to hide under the covers and wait till I fall asleep or I turn the radio on to jazz or classical music to help me sleep. I'm not so bad during the day time, but at night, I'm overly paranoid of things trying to come and kill me. I can't sleep very well, and I have to stay in a lighted room because I think I'll have a better chance of defending myself if something comes for me.

Help me. I hate living like this. My parents don't know, I'm too scared to tell them. I don't want to see a psychiatrist either. I don't know which parent to tell....

I'm afraid of either of their reactions. What do I do? The only person I could trust to tell is so far away she can't help me.

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3 Replies:

  • I'm a 19 yr old female, and I would say that this is totally normal. There is a simple explanation for this - you are scared of the dark. Most kids "outgrow" it, but I'm sure that this phobia persists in many teens and adults, as I am a victim as well. I have been scared of something coming to kill me at night ever since I had a series of nightmares about it between the ages of 3 and 6. Like you, I HAVE to have a night light, I always keep the covers on (even in the summer I have to have a sheet covering me), and I find it comforting to fall asleep to music. Additionally, I have apparently been a poor sleeper since the day I was born, and it has only worsened with time. You think it's bad not being able to sleep until midnight? Try 3 or 4 am. Or worse, never at all, which has been the case several times this past summer. Additionally, when I actually fall asleep, I often awaken several times in the night. Most people go to sleep between 11 and 12 at night; that's not abnormal. Plus, it has been found that in teenagers, melatonin (the hormone that makes you fall asleep) is released later in the night than in children and full-grown adults. This is related to puberty/growth spurts during those years. This is most likely what you are experiencing. I'm not making light of your "condition" as I empathize with you; however I don't think these symptoms alone are indicative of a medical abnormality. Sleep disturbances/abnormalities, as well as disturbances involving other circadian rhythms (such as appetite) may stem from an underlying hypothalamic disorder or other neurological malfunction, so you could get evaluated by an endocrinologist or neurologist, and pursue treatment, if necessary. (This is the approach I am taking, since I also appear to have symptoms of various hormone deficiencies.) You could also look into an anti-anxiety medication, or various types of sleeping pills (or both). I have always just thought of this condition as a weird quirk stemming from the mental trauma when I was little; however, if you really feel that this phobia is interfering with your life, then I would urge you to see a specialist to get the most accurate diagnosis. And tell your parents, so that they can aid you. If this is something that is affecting you so much, I'm sure they will want to do what's necessary to help you. Good luck!
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I'm a 35 year old woman and have similar thoughts and concerns... one would certainly think that by now, I too would have "outgrown" this problem. I too am a wreck without some sort of light on, I like having the tv on. That way I can't lay there hour after hour waiting to hear the next creak or branch brush up against the house, the noise from the tv blocks it out. I also find myself staying awake working until 2 or even 3 am to be sure that once i do go upstairs I will be soooo tired that I can conk out after only 20 or 30 min of being scared. I also agree with the previous person who says to let your parents in on your secret. You may have to put up with a few silly questions, and maybe even a little good natured ribbing, but I know that if it were my child who was having these problems I would feel terrible to think that they couldn't tell me. And worse to think that I did nothing to help. Good luck.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Actually this could be a type of sleep disorder/sleep apnea.http://www.thesleepsite.com/http://www.helpguide.org/life/sleep_disorders.htmSleep Disorders and ProblemsThese two websites should help you understand your symptoms.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • August 14, 2007
    • 09:24 AM
    • 0
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