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by Abigail Van Buren

Middle Schooler's Happy Attitude Suddenly Turns to Tears

DEAR ABBY: I'm in seventh grade. Until recently, I was my usual happy, bubbly self. I saw school as a place to make friends and have more freedom than I did in elementary school. I was always happy and social and made friends easily.

As the months have passed, it seems like, as I look around, everything annoys me. I can't explain why but I have stopped talking to all of my friends for long periods of time. All these terrible emotions build up. I am angry, sad, frustrated. Now everything that has built up inside me comes out at the worst times. I cry a lot and I feel no one understands why.

This may seem like a normal middle-school breakdown that goes away over days, but it's not. People see me crying and think, "Oh no, she's crying for no reason again" or "Why is she crying? What is wrong?" but the thing is I don't know what's wrong with me. At odd moments when I'm alone with my thoughts, these feelings come back, stronger and stronger each time. I can't stop them. Why am I like this? -- ALMOST-TEEN IN TURMOIL

DEAR ALMOST-TEEN: That's a very good question, and one you should ask your parents, because they know you better than I do. The lows you are experiencing may result from the fact that you are maturing and the hormones in your body are changing. However, because you are concerned enough about what's going on to write to me, you may need to be examined by a physician.

If you need help beyond that, the doctor can recommend a referral. I'm glad you wrote. It shows you are an intelligent young lady who recognizes she has a problem and wants to deal with it.

Read more in: Teens