I Get Really, Really Scared for No Solid Reason

Published: September 30, 2016
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Okay, so sometimes at night I'll get really really scared for no solid reason. Sometimes I hear voices. Sometimes I imagine bad images or scenarios and get scared. Other times I'll hear random thumps in the night. My family doesn't hear them, whether or not they are awake. I have asked them before if they heard something and they'll say no. When I really start to get panicked/nervous/scared, I'll start shaking and I won't be able to move and I'll cry from fear. I'll feel like the hallways or the bathroom are the only safe places to be. I am 16 years old. I tend to stay away from horror movies because I know I can get scared. The only scary movies I have watched are the Scream series, but I've never imagined the Scream killer would attempt to kill me during these attacks. Also, I'm extremely afraid to tell my parents this because I don't want my parents thinking I'm some lunatic who's afraid that I'm gonna die at night just because I heard something in my head or hear a thump from the house when they're sleeping. I don't know why I'm having these attacks but they're gripping and I'll just be stuck shaking and in horror, scared, for a good amount of time.
Signed: I Get Really, Really Scared for No Solid Reason

Dear I Get Really, Really Scared for No Solid Reason,

TeenHealthFX wants to start by letting you know that there is nothing about what you are saying that makes you a “lunatic.” There are very real fears you are dealing with and these fears are a result of something real you have dealt with (or continue to deal with) in your life. FX cannot know what is specifically contributing to your fears, and perhaps you are not fully aware of it either – but that does not mean that an understandable reason for you feeling this way does not exist.

Given how you have been feeling, FX thinks that it is important for you to meet with a reputable therapist, such as a clinical social worker or clinical psychologist, who can help you to better understand why you are feeling so fearful and how to better manage it. If your parents react to this by thinking you are a “lunatic” then that would be something important to bring into the therapy so it can be addressed. If you think your parents won’t even schedule a consultation for you with a therapist, then speak with a trusted staff member at school, such as a school counselor or school nurse, who can advocate on your behalf so you get the help you need.

FX understands that reaching out for help can be scary – that the idea of opening up to someone or depending on someone can feel like a risk. But it is important that you do reach out so that you get the help you need and so you are not alone in dealing with all of this. And remember that there are people out there who you can depend on and trust.

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

Signed: TeenHealthFX