Looking for a bridge over troubled water? Krithvi Shyam, our young psychologist, addresses your worst anxieties.

I am a 13-year-old girl studying in Std IX. Off late I am unable to concentrate in my studies and as a result I am scoring low marks. I feel extremely scared to go out and I keep getting nightmares. I am feeling very uncomfortable as I suddenly find myself staring at boys. Can you please help me by telling me what is wrong?

Worried Sick

It sounds like you’re just experiencing the symptoms of recently becoming a teenager. Once you hit puberty, it will feel as though you’ve lost a bit of control over your body and your mind. You’re probably also experiencing many emotions without any explanation. All of this is perfectly normal and everyone goes through it. Instead of hiding in fear from this new phase of your life, embrace it! Start going for outings with your friends, and stick with girls-only groups until you find yourself becoming more comfortable involving boys. If you’re having trouble concentrating on your work, enlist the help of your family or friends by making them ask you questions after you finish studying a chapter. Schedule day-dreaming breaks during your study hours so that you can let your mind wander wherever it wants to during that time without feeling guilty about it. I don’t really have any suggestions about the nightmares though, but maybe you should write them down as soon as you wake up, so that you could go over the content when you’re more alert and figure out what incidents could have caused them (and try to avoid those incidents in the future). Remember to look at the bright side: you’re now one step closer to going to college, one step closer to voting, and one step closer to understanding the adult jokes in Disney movies.

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