Do I have a mental disorder?

Posted by claire987 @claire987, May 20, 2023

I am a 14 year old girl and I am pretty convinced that I have some kind of mental disorder. For my entire life, my family and friends have called me weird special and made jokes like "All in favor of Claire getting tested". It is without a doubt that I have high level anxiety. I would go through periods of time when I would go into my parents room many times a night, convinced that I was dying of a rare illness. So terrified of dying in the middle of the night that I worked myself into panic attacks. The anxiety also goes social, (Ex: When I was in 6th grade I was so shy that there was only 2 people I spoke to in the school all year.) When I am in an awkward, anxious situation I usually either shut down and become incredibly shy, or become extremely outgoing and over the top. Both ways make people think I'm special needs. My mom said that she's always thought that I have low level autism because I am very organized, don't like change, and extremely obsessive. The tantrums surely don't help. Still to this day, they have to bring extra doctors in and my mom has to sit on me to hold me down when I need a finger prick. I am also a very emotional person which has led me to think maybe I have bipolar disorder. My family always says that my mood is always -100 or +100, never in between. (I often get upset over dumb stuff). I know that I think differently than most of my family and friends. Honestly I don't think my sister thinks at all. It's like my brain never turns off. I am also relatively smart, and I know that autistic kids are known to be very smart. I am in AIG and a year ahead in math, but I don't consider myself very good at math. Anyways I am a curious human so part of me wants to get tested just so I can know why I am the way I am. But part of me doesn't want to know because what if it holds me back. Any thoughts on whether I should get formally tested for anything? Or what you think I have and don't have?

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Hello @claire987 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. First, I want to say that feeling shy or anxious isn't weird; they are real feelings that you may be needing help experiencing and navigating.

Anxiety is a very real feeling for so many people and it helps to have support from those around you to find your way through difficult situations and to get any professional help you feel you would benefit from so that you can live in a way that is comfortable for you. If your behavior in situations is concerning to you, I would share that with your most trusted parent or adult, in general, to advocate for testing that could allow you to better understand why behaviors happen and how you can learn to cope throughout your life.

The most important thing I want you to remember is that we all have parts about us that make us unique and not everyone will see or respect those differences, but that doesn't make you wrong or bad or weird.

You are certainly well-spoken and obviously very smart, given your writing. I am proud of you for reaching out to seek connections from others! Do you feel comfortable talking to an adult about your need for support?


Hello Claire,

I feel it's best to avoid self-diagnosing or otherwise applying labels on yourself, especially if you haven't yet spoken to a mental health professional about what's been going on in your life. I agree very much with the advice @amandajro has given. Even if you do get a mental health diagnosis, that's not the end of the world, nor does it mean anything about your worth as a person. What's important is you get help so your quality of life can improve.


Hello @claire987, regarding what you said, "what if it holds me back", I can share my experience: For me, looking into some of the reasons for why I am the way I am has been helpful to me. I believe it has helped me to understand myself a little better. It can also be nice to find other people who have similar experiences and characteristics. This can be both reassuring and helpful in a practical way.
That said, getting formal tests doesn't always lead to correct diagnoses right away. Sometimes, you may need to see a few different specialists before someone is able to give you the insight you are looking for. Some professionals are very familiar with one diagnosis but they may not have even heard of others that may also apply.
Even grownups can be imperfect, sometimes. And even experts can't possibly know everything there is to know in the world.
All in all, I feel like searching out help and information is usually a good thing, in the end.
I especially agree with what @amandajro said about everyone being unique. We are ALL unique, and that is a good thing!


Sure get tested they may have med. For you. I'm sure you would like to feel less anxious. Meds to help you sleep. Sounds like a lot of pain attacks. You're fine all so common.


Evaluation could bring a better understanding and clarity about your health. Many people are stigmatized, but that can sabotage efforts to improve a persons quality of life.

We can’t heal or bring about a remedy if we don’t know what is wrong.

Knowing what is wrong is half the battle.

Sometimes people say things without thinking of how it makes another feel.

Best of Luck and I hope you feel better soon.


Hi, @claire987, there is something I'd like to add to my former comment about testing and diagnosing. Maybe it is sometimes too easy, in general, to see getting a diagnosis as sort of 'the end of the story' or a 'solution'. This isn't quite how I see it. A diagnosis can be helpful, but even with something like a genetic test or a collection of symptoms that 'looks like' a particular syndrome, we are still left with the same questions: How can I (or anyone) be my best self? How can I get along in the world, and maybe even help make it a better place?

There are some diagnoses, both in physical medicine and in behavioral medicine, that have few if any cures or even treatments, aside from trying to treat symptoms. So while having one or more diagnoses can sometimes point us in a direction as far as researching how we can make life better, they aren't a magic wand. We still have to find the things that work for us in our lives. This might include things like recognizing and making the most of your strengths, and coming up with ways we can cope with difficult situations that may come up in the future.

It sounds like you are already on this kind of path. It seems like you have some good habits of being self-reflective and interested in learning what you can about many different subjects. These kinds of tendencies will help you no matter what!

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