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Wed Sep 11, 2013, 09:42 PM

Sorry for worrying everyone with my recent cryptic posts. Having major issues...

Sorry for worrying everyone with my recent cryptic posts.

I've been having little breakdowns over these past few days. I've had major ones and minor ones in the past, these are pretty major though I have felt slightly worse. As many know I have a LONG history of anxiety, depression and the like.

The progress I made over the summer was significant so I thought perhaps I had most of my issues beat but I neglected to realize that I'd really never even touched my real issues, the perfectionism, self hate, and the like. Moving into the dorms here was really rather uneventful for me which was good as I was worried I'd have difficulties with the socializing aspects etc, this shows I'm better there than I thought. BUT I also thought that it would help solve my anxieties surrounding school which it did nothing for at all really.

As the days have gone by I've found myself getting more and more overwhelmed. Assignments cause me to panic, I look at the material and because I don't understand it right away or there's stuff that looks difficult my mind just shuts down instantly and I don't think. I come back to my dorm anxious and exhausted from being stressed out in class all day and I don't have the mental fortitude to look at the material. This of course just creates a negative feedback loop where I get more anxious because I'm now getting behind others because I'm not spending enough time on the material, which makes me more anxious and less able to concentrate on the material. Snowball effect.

I was bad enough that last couple of days I would hide in the washrooms between class and cry uncontrollably due to the stress. It took everything I had to not show anything during class, which of course further saps my ability to focus. Part of the reason why I clam up like this is I just completely shut my mind off over the summer while I've been working on myself, weight loss socializing getting out on my own (these were all very good), I didn't think about school or the work I did last term for one second and now I find the material distant and hard to access. Some other students meanwhile have been still working on the material over the summer, some had jobs programming, some took summer courses, some just played with code. I'm not the ONLY one who did nothing of course but I'm probably one of the few who so thoroughly shut their brain off, I didn't want to think about something that gave me stress in the past. So I now find accessing some of this material I learned previously more difficult than it should be.

But of course this shouldn't make me freak out as much as I do, the bigger reason for that is my life long habit of absolute perfectionism and taking everything on mentally all at once instead of working on things one step at a time (something I've never managed to learn to do). Logically it makes no sense to be stressed out to the point of tears and semi suicidal thoughts (not something I'd act on) but there you have it that's how my brain works. I'm more than intelligent enough to handle the material, I got a 91% average in the first term and something like a 89% in the second. But perhaps not emotionally intelligent enough. One thing that HAS surprised me that I've managed to do is to pull myself away from the brink of quitting twice now. In the past I would just quit, full stop (I dropped out of university 4 or 5 times in the past due to these exact issues) but somehow I've managed to not pull that trigger even at my worst, YET anyway.

Today I saw my program head and managed to get my course load reduced by 2 courses this term. That MAY help a bit but I'm far from optimistic about it. It still leaves me with 5 courses, and they assign more work in each than your average university course. One thing this university emphasizes above all else is SHIT loads of work, they cram 3-4 years of work at other institutions into 2 years here. Lots and lots of stories of people working 8AM to midnight every day for the whole term. There are some benefits to this place though, they work closely with industry so job prospects are much higher out of this place. But it's not really the place for someone like me, but now that I'm a year in it's difficult to switch, credits here don't transfer easily and besides I'm in the dorm now. One other thing that prevented me from quitting perhaps is the fear of embarrassment from yet ANOTHER failure in my life. I've walked away from so much else but this time I'd have to clear all my stuff out of my dorm here, I don't think I could face my dorm mates and other class mates doing that. I'd also leave my fellow students hanging since we work in groups here. I seriously don't know if it's a good thing for my health to stay, since I still feel like I might lose it, but I know that it's the better decision if I COULD handle it. I've relied on my parents for far too long for everything, including hiding my previous messes when I burned my bridges, I don't want to do that again. Yet I don't exactly feel strong enough to get through this crisis either. I'm exhausted by the effort of just trying to hold myself together.

I have talked to my psychiatrist and have been on meds for years, many different ones, but these efforts have been of minimal impact. I really should, as others have suggested, see someone almost every day plus therapy (some form of CBT). But that takes a lot of will and effort in it's own right. I could do that if I weren't going to school but with school I neither have the time nor energy to do both (CBT gives you daily exercises, self reflection, it's a lot of daily work). I see my psychiatrist again next week so I'll definitely talk to him and see where I should go with this. I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. It's not like there's no hope. With my reduced course load it's POSSIBLE that I can squeeze through mentally, but I'm not confident. I seesaw a lot from optimism to complete desperation, many times a day. It doesn't help that every fibre of my being is screaming at me to do something totally stupid and fanciful like run away to some lala land and forget about the world. Living a sheltered life with enabling parents where you never have matured properly instills this kind of thought pattern in you. The "what if I could just hide from it all" thinking. It's a fantasy world but not something that's easy to undo after 30+ years of thinking this way. The world seems a lot more harsh and unforgiving than it actually is when you aren't prepared with the tools to face it. It's extra difficult if you have to cobble together such tools when also faced with other major stressors.

Sorry for the whole Encyclopedia Britanica, just thought I owed people an explanation should they care to read it.

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Reply Sorry for worrying everyone with my recent cryptic posts. Having major issues... (Original post)
Locut0s Sep 2013 OP
NYC_SKP Sep 2013 #1
Locut0s Sep 2013 #20
CaliforniaPeggy Sep 2013 #2
Locut0s Sep 2013 #21
vanlassie Sep 2013 #3
Locut0s Sep 2013 #22
vanlassie Sep 2013 #35
Lydia Leftcoast Sep 2013 #48
vanlassie Sep 2013 #51
steve2470 Sep 2013 #49
HipChick Sep 2013 #4
Locut0s Sep 2013 #23
applegrove Sep 2013 #5
Locut0s Sep 2013 #24
applegrove Sep 2013 #28
patricia92243 Sep 2013 #6
Locut0s Sep 2013 #25
Tobin S. Sep 2013 #7
hunter Sep 2013 #15
Locut0s Sep 2013 #26
In_The_Wind Sep 2013 #8
Locut0s Sep 2013 #27
MiddleFingerMom Sep 2013 #9
Locut0s Sep 2013 #29
applegrove Sep 2013 #37
Tuesday Afternoon Sep 2013 #10
Locut0s Sep 2013 #30
Tuesday Afternoon Sep 2013 #33
DebJ Sep 2013 #69
Locut0s Sep 2013 #70
hedgehog Sep 2013 #11
Locut0s Sep 2013 #31
LiberalEsto Sep 2013 #12
Locut0s Sep 2013 #32
Dash87 Sep 2013 #13
Locut0s Sep 2013 #34
Dash87 Sep 2013 #42
Locut0s Sep 2013 #60
Solly Mack Sep 2013 #14
Locut0s Sep 2013 #36
many a good man Sep 2013 #16
Locut0s Sep 2013 #38
handmade34 Sep 2013 #17
Locut0s Sep 2013 #39
Phentex Sep 2013 #18
Locut0s Sep 2013 #40
riderinthestorm Sep 2013 #19
Locut0s Sep 2013 #41
musical_soul Sep 2013 #46
Locut0s Sep 2013 #53
Duer 157099 Sep 2013 #43
Locut0s Sep 2013 #54
Duer 157099 Sep 2013 #63
Lady Freedom Returns Sep 2013 #44
Locut0s Sep 2013 #55
musical_soul Sep 2013 #45
Locut0s Sep 2013 #56
musical_soul Sep 2013 #67
steve2470 Sep 2013 #47
Locut0s Sep 2013 #57
hedgehog Sep 2013 #50
Locut0s Sep 2013 #58
Bunnahabhain Sep 2013 #52
Locut0s Sep 2013 #59
Bunnahabhain Sep 2013 #61
riderinthestorm Sep 2013 #62
Locut0s Sep 2013 #64
musical_soul Sep 2013 #68
Locut0s Sep 2013 #65
GreenPartyVoter Sep 2013 #66
Locut0s Sep 2013 #71
RedCloud Sep 2013 #72
elleng Sep 2013 #73
Tobin S. Sep 2013 #74
steve2470 Sep 2013 #75
Locut0s Sep 2013 #76
a la izquierda Sep 2013 #77

Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2013, 09:46 PM

1. Hang in there, Locut0s!

School is hard, don't take on too much and take pride in your accomplishments.

I highly recommend CBT. Done well it's very effective, rational and somewhat spiritual.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:26 PM

20. Thank you NYC...

It's the combination of having to deal with my emotions AND the work at the same time that's the killer for me. I agree that CBT is probably for me but I can't see being able to do that right now if I plan to stay in school, I wouldn't be able to devote myself to it.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Wed Sep 11, 2013, 09:48 PM

2. My dear Locut0s!

Thank You for posting this. I really mean it...

I just could not figure out what was going on, and I was concerned. This post really clears it up for me.



Now. One step at a time. Talk to your psychiatrist. You must come to grips with what you need to do. Dropping 2 classes will help a lot. There is HOPE.

And of course you're exhausted. I really wish you could transfer but I see that as not being a good option now. Somehow you must realize you do have the tools to do the work........

I'm really thinking you can do this. You must believe in yourself. If you do that, all else becomes possible.


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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:28 PM

21. Thanks Peggy...

I try to tell myself all of this just about as often as I can but it's hard to get myself to actually believe in it. I have the intellectual tools, I don't know that I have the mental ones. But I suppose we will see. Thank you very much for all the support you have offered me, it means everything!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 01:22 AM

3. Do you have something that grounds you?

Like a mantra, maybe? Or it might be a short list of things that are true about you that you can refer to whenever you start to feel anxious and overwhelmed.

"I am capable." Is that true about you? You might want to figure out something like this to repeat to yourself for support.

Some people remind themselves "I am enough as I am."

My short term observation is that you are committed to improving your life. And you are quite willing to be seen, as you are, in your humanity. Many of us hide and just try to look good on the outside. You may be doing personal work right now that will serve you in a far greater way than the school work! You have time. Take your time!

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Response to vanlassie (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:32 PM

22. Something that grounds me...

That's a very good idea. But sadly there isn't anything. I tell myself many things for precisely this reason.

It's not that difficult
You know you can do it
You are up to it
You are blowing it out of proportion
etc etc...

This helps a tiny bit but sadly none of them rise to the level of a mantra in that I don't feel really grounded by them. I don't really feel the truth of them emotionally though I know these facts to be true intellectually. But thank you for the suggestion.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #22)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 10:02 PM

35. Can I say a bit more? The statements you made as examples are

not exactly what I am suggesting. Those statements are round about making you "wrong." Three of them have self blaming in them. Can you see where?
When you GET what is TRUE about you, positive truths about you, instead of the lies you are allowing yourself to continue believing, you will take a step out of that crappy place you have been dwelling in.

So. What is True About You that is positive -all out -no reservations?? I'll start. "You are a perfectly imperfect human being. "

What else is true about YOU, Locut0s? One thing. Positive, without reservations.

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Response to vanlassie (Reply #35)

Fri Sep 13, 2013, 01:06 PM

48. I have a suggestion:

"I am highly intelligent and fully capable of doing the work."

That's what I get from your post. A stupid person could never express himself/herself with such eloquence.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #48)

Fri Sep 13, 2013, 04:27 PM

51. Excellent. A truth one can take a stand on.

What do you think, Locut0s?

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #22)

Fri Sep 13, 2013, 01:23 PM

49. Positive Affirmations/Mantras = short, simple, 100% positive

Negative ones don't work as well.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 01:41 AM

4. I commend you for posting this..

I have been going through stuff, but can't even sum up the courage to post...

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Response to HipChick (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:33 PM

23. PM me if you feel like it...

Misery loves company and all that Seriously I'm not in the best of shape here but if you feel like talking it's often helpful to talk to someone else who understands at least some of what you are going through. Or post in the Mental Health Support group, that's a very friendly environment.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 01:52 AM

5. Hang in there. Get into a new routine with

your 5 courses. Do the homework chunk by chunk and you may find it metatative one day soon.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #5)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:36 PM

24. Thank you applegrove...

I understand the route I need to follow. The trouble is the cloud of panic that gets in my way all the time. It's difficult to do things even bit by bit when you are in fight or flight mode. But I'm going to try. Or at least that's what I'm saying to myself right now.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #24)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:46 PM

28. Building a new routine is a skill. Once you've done it you realize how easy it is

and you'll be confident. Right now you just have to trust that it gets easier as you get older. You've gone through some growth since you started posting here. I hope you'll take stock of that too and up your confidence.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 02:08 AM

6. Reducing the number of classes you are taking is going to help a LOT. It hasn't had time yet

for you to feel the difference - it will - and then you will be able to cope again.

From what you have just said, you are about ten times more self-aware than most people.

It doesn't seem like you are giving yourself credit for just how good you really are doing. Be sure to do that - praise yourself to yourself about your good qualities and also when you do something good - like having the smarts to cancel some of your classes. It took gumption and get-up-and-go to do that. You deserve praise.

Keep us posted. We are your friends.

Patricia

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Response to patricia92243 (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:38 PM

25. That's very kind of you to say patricia...

It means a lot!!

It's true I rarely give myself much credit for my own accomplishments and instead focus almost exclusively on the negatives and the 10% not done, etc... It's part and parcel of my perfectionist leanings, it pervades my every mode of thinking sadly. DU is a very kind and supportive place, well the Lounge is anyway . I thank everyone here for listening to my drivel

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 05:29 AM

7. About this time last year I was ready to drop out of school

I had run across a buzz saw of a math class that was required for my major. It was a difficult course and there was a ton of work involved. I sat down to do my homework one night, couldn't figure it out right away, and just gave up. I went to drop out, but couldn't because there was a glitch with the automated system used for that. I had to sleep on it and wait until the next day.

All that next day I was planning on heading back up to school after work and dropping my classes. I told my wife I was going to do it. She was disappointed in me. She's always said that I'm the smartest person she's ever known. I was stressing her out.

Then I realized something. I've done some difficult things in my time, but it's usually been because circumstances forced me to. A lot of times in my life when I was presented with a serious challenge I would back down. I had dropped out of school twice before.

I decided that I wasn't going to back down from challenges anymore.

Here I am a year later and still in school. Not only did I get through that tough math class, I got an 'A' in there. I feel like I can actually accomplish that degree now. I have confidence in my mind.

I have found most professors are either willing to help students who are struggling or will point you in the right direction to get help. Open up a dialogue with your professors and see if they can help you.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 05:15 PM

15. Second this, Locut0s.

You and Tobin S. are smart people.

I've never been sure about my own smarts, in fact I'm often an idiot. But I've learned to muddle through and I did graduate from college in spite of all the bridges I'd burned.



Here's a funny story:

The Chair of the English department did not like me. She would not sign off that I'd completed the minimum English requirements even though her predecessor had allowed me to take several upper division English courses without prerequisites. All I needed to graduate was her signature. I'd go to her office and she would not be there. I'd make appointments but something would come up and she'd leave note on her door. I think she did not want to see a grown man cry. It disturbed her. She knew one of her friends had once dropped me off at the Student Health Center after I'd suffered a bad reaction to the oral steroids I'd been prescribed for asthma.

My worst psychotic states were always amusing and never threatening. Hunter was swimming in the dark and lost his clothes. Hunter fell off a cliff. Hunter was running barefoot through a deserted industrial park and his feet were bleeding.

I think the campus police had me classified a "Mostly Harmless." Better me then the domestic violence and other sordid calls they got in the early A.M.. I was their friendly donut break. But English Department Chair avoided me until she took off for a year in England for something prestigious.

A school dean, the guy who got me kicked out of school the first time for fighting with his teaching assistant (I did no violence, it was his T.A. throwing things at me! Chalk, erasers, and then a book!!!) he signed off on the English requirements and said, "I think you should go to graduate school, Hunter. BUT NOT HERE!"

Bless his heart, he was a wise man. I escaped my past.

Keep writing code, posts, whatever, even if not "perfect." There is no perfect.



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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:43 PM

26. Thanks Tobin...

We share a lot in common as you have pointed out in the past. Perhaps I will be able to summon the courage to get through like you have. I vacillate back and forth so much on the issue every day that I would think I suffer from bipolarism if I didn't know any better. One moment I'm fairly confident and talking to the teacher and students to clarify things. The next I'm a total mess. Back and forth. Even at my best though there is far too much background anxiety and it's constantly sapping my energy levels. I REALLY need to be able to somehow narrow my window of focus to at most a week at a time. I don't know how but I feel that's the key. If I can't put the rest of the stuff in the "fog of war" ahead of me and not think of it I could do it. But instead I always but everything in the context of the whole semester or more at once.

"I can't understand X RIGHT FUCKING NOW, how am I going to get through all this stuff when it's only going to get harder". Instead I should just say to myself "ok let's sit down until I understand x. Now when y comes up later (whenever that may be) I'll understand and or do the same with that". But I don't feel this in my bones, instead my brain just shuts off.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 07:53 AM

8. You can always contact me if you need a shoulder to lean on.

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Response to In_The_Wind (Reply #8)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:44 PM

27. Thank you ITW...

I may indeed PM you at some point. I feel more than a bit ashamed of my situation at my age but having everyone here to bounce my anxieties off of DOES help. You are all kinder and more supportive than I deserve and I'm very much grateful to you and everyone else!!!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 08:08 AM

9. I would bet that the majority of students at your school (an actual 50%+)...

.
.
.
... are experiencing the exact same problems that you are -- they're pretty much universal
student issues. I started with 18 semester hours and was overwhelmed. Moved to 15 and
STILL overwhelmed. I was much more centered when I went to 12.
.
Have you checked out your school's counselor's/advisors? Because your problems ARE so
universal, they may be of more help with these specific issues than your psychiatrist, etc.
.
Your postings here have always given me the impression that you're VERY bright, perhaps
"gifted" and, as such, you may not have been confronted with as many things that are
actually intellectually challenging for you. Now that you ARE running into more things that
are difficult, you're flexing intellectual and self-motivational muscles that you didn't know
you had... and now they're aching like hell from their unaccustomed usage. Didn't you
ever feel like quitting when you first started doing some major walks/hikes?
.
Your confidence and abilities will grow, sometimes BARELY incrementally... sometimes
exponentially -- but the more you accomplish, the more you will be ABLE to accomplish.
.
You'll have a baseline, a history. More-and-more you'll be able to say, "Pfffttt, last
month I got through that... THIS is comparatively nothing."
.
Unless you expect to be able to easily complete 20-mile mental/intellectual "hikes"
without building up to those levels gradually.
.
.
.
You've DONE things. You'll be able to do more and bigger things with time and
experience. Trust me on this... I know firsthand of what I'm saying.
.
.
.

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Response to MiddleFingerMom (Reply #9)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:55 PM

29. Thank you MFM...

You may have a point with that. I've worked physically hard in my life before. When I worked at 7-11 and NCIX I was one of the more hard working individuals there. But I suppose I've never had much of the experience of being exposed to something that I really had to work hard at mentally. I usually pick most stuff up by osmosis with a little added practise to polish up my understanding. Those who have had to work hard at school most of the time really have a leg up on me in this respect. It IS possible that like you say a lot of my anxiety might stem from not having had to use those particular sets of 'muscles' before.

However I still think that my major problem is my perfectionism. I can't get a C+ or B without thinking to myself I don't understand this at all. I know people get by with Cs and graduate, I wish I was of that type of mentality, but I'd just panic and lose it going that route. Stupid thing is this leads to all kinds of unsustainable behaviour. I can't just write something down and be content with understanding 50% of it right now and saying to myself "I'll get the rest as I go along". I panic like mad in that situation. Instead I have to look up every key word and concept I don't get. That leads to other topics and key terms I don't get and of course that never ends. Imagine being a car mechanic just starting out and being taught how to replace an oil filter. Instead of being content with that you tell yourself "but yeah I don't understand the oil filter in the greater context of how the engine works". So you panic. Now you have to go off and look up how the rest of the engine works so you get where the oil filter fits into the bigger picture. This leads to understanding the physics of the engine and more and more. In the end you never even get past learning how to install the filter, quit the program and leave. Meanwhile others are content with just learning that and leaving the rest a mystery till some later date. They are the ones who end up becoming mechanics, despite the fact that you (with this issue) may have more potential. It's a maddening issue that I can't come to terms with. My brain just shuts off when I'm encountered with new stuff. I can't compartmentalize the world and say. NO Just tackle this one small thing and fuck the rest of it till later.

Then there is the issue of always wanting to please everyone and being worried of the repercussions. This semester we have an industry project where we work on code for a real company out in the wild. We contact said company set up a real meeting and the code we write actually get's used later in their products. If I were a different person I'd feel this was an exciting opportunity. Instead I worry about the added responsibility I now have, now it's not just school, if I fuck this up I'm actually angering a real business person. And again my brain goes into panic mode.

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Response to MiddleFingerMom (Reply #9)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 10:18 PM

37. Great advice MFM. I would add that even the act of crying will excercise some muscles

and start building up a space inside you that is more confident.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 08:20 AM

10. Five courses may still be too much. You may want to consider cutting back one more ...

what is the minimum requirement you need to be considered as carrying a full load for the semester? If the school requires less credits for the semester I would do that.

You have tried to take on way too much and, have set yourself up for this vicious cycle.

Bad enough when others do it to you - The least you can do is be kind to yourself.

You owe your self that much.

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Response to Tuesday Afternoon (Reply #10)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:57 PM

30. Technically I could cut one more but I was strongly recommended against it...

At least by the program head. He said that the 2 that I dropped are really the only ones that I can drop that don't have much in the way of repercussions next term. If I drop other stuff it starts to become difficult and expensive to make up.

But you are right for my own sanity it may be necessary. Sadly I won't be able to really judge until it's kind of too late. Or I suppose I could just end up failing one if I find it too hard later.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #30)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 10:00 PM

33. your mental health is more important ... be kind to your self. yes, the curriculum may be

such that you are off track but, better that than the other alternative.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #30)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 05:32 AM

69. Locut0s, my heart really, really goes out to you. Stick with it! YOU are worth it.

This will be long; I will tell you why I can connect with what you are saying...and why I really really wish I could just
reach out to you and hug you and maybe open a textbook with you and give you whatever support I can. I can relate
to you from my own experience, with OCD and perfectionism (which I think derives quite a bit from lower self-esteem).
I can relate because my sister has similar approaches right now in her college pursuits. I can relate because my
son has BP, OCD, ADD, severe anxiety, and he is going to try college again in January.

But first: Regarding the expensive to make up part...perhaps the MOST expensive option would be the one that weakens your chances of completing the entire course of study? In other words, slower and steadier may be the very best option. Difficult to make up...I presume that means perhaps that all courses aren't offered all the time or each semester, and one ends up waiting to get into the courses? You need to do what will work best for YOU. If it takes I dunno two more years, or four more years, but you complete it, and complete it being able to have time to breathe a bit and still be human...I'd say it is darn well worth it. Bet it won't take you even half as long as it took me to get my degree. How does 35 years strike you? No kidding. 1973-2008. IT WAS WORTH IT.



About being in a school with a more challenging program: here's an opposite experience. School is one of the few things in life that came naturally to me. I was painfully shy, had very low self-esteem, and little in common with most people.... my interests were intellectual, which other people had no interest in, and it seems much of the world only wants beer or stoned oblivion and to speak of TV or movie or internet personalities who impact no one and nothing of any significance...I can never remember who those people are, and couldn't care less what they have done unless it is a contribution to humanity.........so, I was always a loner. Painfully alone. Education, that was a breeze, and I have always been interested in everything. School I could do...alone. That was the one place in life I could feel some success (until I began working full-time and succeeded there as well). I began college in 1973, age 17, right after high school, went for two semesters, and dropped out because I was bored to death. I could only afford a community college, because my mother refused to fill out any financial aid papers. She said since I wasn't a minority, there would be no scholarship help. My teachers were going crazy, telling me I could go to any college I wanted to, ANY college, and they couldn't stand it that I couldn't go. I can still see dear old Miss Bell literally yelling and almost tearing her hair out. But Mom wouldn't budge. It was 20 years later I found out that Mom saw no need for women to get an education, nor to even take science or math in high school. (I found out when my daughter went to college...I had my condo foreclosed on because the choice was to lose my home, or she would lose her education, and I could not have her suffer as I had done all my life for lack of a degree....) I was stunned when Mom revealed that. My mother is a brilliant woman (side effect of Marfins syndrome), sent me to private grade school, and had always shown great value for education....until college. So I could only go to a crap school, with no advanced classes available, and the English class I was forced to take spent six full weeks on 'how to write a term paper'. OMG. The other classes were similarly horrendous. In one class all the tests were multiple choice, the teacher gave us the list of the 20 questions on the test in advance, and then he would curve the test, dropping about 5 questions, because most of the lazy bums who were supposed to be students still couldn't pass the test otherwise. It was slow death by brain asphyxiation. In high school, I had taken college level courses; in this college, I was forced to take courses that I could have aced in 8th grade. In contrast, in my later years, I had fantastic professors that challenged me to my limits, and who were not-so-secretly thrilled that when I answered essay questions, I would write two pages instead of two paragraphs... I just loved the topics so much (American history) that I loved to repeat it ALL back. Writing the essays helped to grind the information in (use it or lose it).

At age 18, I went to work full-time, and went to school part-time, trying to figure out what I should do. Then I got married very young, at 19, and a great deal of the reason for that was parental pressure: unvoiced but clear as day: a woman's job was to get married and have children, period. I got married, had 2 children, and then divorced by age 28, with devastating financial consequences. So I went to college every chance I got over the years; some of my employers paid for my classes. It was extremely difficult to manage, as a single parent I worked either two jobs, or 70 hour a week crap management jobs no one else would take, plus went to school, and never did I get any assistance from anyone with the children...not their father, nor my parents, nor sisters...no one...my son was bipolar, and no one had the energy to handle him, not even so much as to come to visit with me for an hour, so it was all on me, completely, for 20 years. Single parents of children with severe BP don't have friends....even if you have time, no one wants to be around. No one. I still remember reading Descartes at 2 am, in-between sessions of trying to help my son sleep, then getting up at 7am to get the kids to school, then going to work for 11 hour days, then dinner and baths and housecleaning and study again in-between another round of my son's nightly terrors. But I never gave up. I couldn't go to school every semester, nor every year, and frequently had to stop for years at a time due to financial and other constraints, but I never gave up. I graduated summa cum laude in December of 2008....35 years later. It was worth it. All of it. I'll never see a financial gain for this education (certified as a teacher, just as 20,000 were laid off in Pa), but it was worth it. FOR ME. For my self-esteem, and certainly for the way in broadened my mind and my understanding of so many more facets of this world. YOU ARE WORTH IT TOO. DON'T GIVE UP. WE ARE ALL HERE PLUGGING FOR YOU!

Even though school was fun and relatively easy for me, I too approached college with OCD, turning two years of my life into a torment. By the age of 50, I had completed two years of college, (some credits expired over time...had to take two science courses with labs twice, and I switched from business courses (paid by employers) to Education) and I had the opportunity with a remarriage to go back full time to school. It had been 10 years since I last went to school, and age was beginning to make everything a little harder. I did 40 hours of homework a week with a 5 class load each semester, with a one hour commute each way to the college, plus worked part-time, and had to handle everything in the household (I love my husband but he does nothing outside of his job). It was almost suicide, physically. It was too much, the standards I set for myself, but I HAD to graduate summa cum laude, because I knew I could. I could not bear the thought of wasting any of the opportunity I finally had. But boy, did I sweat it. And my sister is doing this now, she has very bad OCD,and she sweats the grades and screams about the work...and always aces it...but doubts she will get that 'A' the entire tortuous time....just like I did. We make our lives unnecessarily hellish...but that's just who/how we are...well thank goodness it doesn't last forever. That's the best part: there is a finish line. Count the days necessary and watch them shrink. Stick it through, and you will come to the pot o gold at the end. It is worth it because YOU are worth it.

Your story really touches me, because my son will be going through something somewhat similar..if he is able to maintain his courage and does go back to school in January as he currently plans. He is bipolar, with OCD, ADD, terrible anxiety, and he is age 31. He took two college classes before and 'aced' them, but he is still terrified. TERRIFIED. FILLED WITH SICKENING, PARALYZING TERROR. It is torture...torture for him, and torture for me, because my children mean everything to me. He is terrified...and yet, he is brilliant. That's not just Mom speaking. All of his teachers felt compelled to marvel at his brilliance, while mourning his inability to use that brilliance due to his emotional control problems. It is really hell to be so smart, smart enough to know your problem is emotions you can't control...and to know that you can't help that you can't control them........and that most of the rest of the world has the attitude "gee, just get over it".....it is torment. He is a hard and dedicated worker, always must do 110%...and then, his emotions spin out of control. It is hell. One bright spot is that he is smart enough to make intelligent decisions about his meds...which often have been the cause of the problems, rather than the solution. With feedback from those close to him (me and his girlfriend), he eventually figures out which med is the problem, and insists with his doctor that a change be made...and he has always been right. Maybe ONE day the perfect med will be found.......one can always dream........

Mania has one advantage: his mind works at an amazing speed, sucking up information and processing it, putting it all together, at an amazing pace. He has an amazing store of knowledge and instant recall for so many things regarding social studies, politics, science, and computer hardware...........but he has absolutely no math or writing skills whatsoever. His BP began afflicting him by kindergarten, and by 6th grade he was totally off-the-wall. He grew to be 7' tall, so keeping him steady on his meds was impossible; he just grew too fast to stabilize...he grew a full shoe size one October and another full shoe size that November, in 7th grade. The best we could achieve was a two-week stretch of peace here and there, little islands of rest between months of agony for both of us, and his sister. He could not remain emotionally stable enough to focus for long because of his emotions, and at the same time the materials they gave him to work with bored him to death. Each special ed teacher had so many students at so many different levels, they just handed him a text and said Read it, and that was about it, once he got to sixth grade. No personal instruction, no educational interaction. Books, and worksheets, shut up and work by yourself. For five years. Once he was given the same text book for social studies two years in a row. He told the teacher about it, and she said do it again...couldn't even get him a different book. Since I was working two jobs during the day, plus dealing with his emotional tirades in the evenings and his nightmares half the night, I couldn't give him much assistance myself by trying to teach him...he just was in no state to be taught, and I was exhausted. For decades. So, as a result, he has middle school math skills.......MAYBE middle school, and cannot construct much of a sentence...forget a paragraph or a term paper. This is a frightening way to begin college. But he is brilliant, and mostly stable now (anxiety being his greatest detriment), and I am going to try to tutor him via telephone and internet. And I have some strategies that I used myself that I am trying to get him to employ: study the text BEFORE you start the course, as far ahead as possible.... great stress reliever for me! I am sure I can move him up a few courses in math in a few months, before he takes the placement tests at the college. He will likely still be taking some remedials, but I hope we can mitigate that. The writing, though, that will be a very painful process, to be learning BOTH his course of study, and basic writing skills. That will just take time and a LOT of help....and praying that he doesn't panic and quit. It will be very very hard for him, despite his brilliance and incredible work ethic ... the panic is overwhelming and this will certainly trigger it time and time and time again, and I can only help from 65 miles away for the most part.

Since the age of 21, he has been trapped in the public assistance nightmare. The only way I could 'afford' to get him the mental health care he so desperately needed, was to 'throw him out', because otherwise, there would be no public assistance and no health care....for as long as I could, I had paid $800 a month for his meds alone, plus doctor visits...after 21, I couldn't cover him on my work insurance. I was just barely able to pay rent, utilities, food and his medical care...but nothing else...you know, 'little things' like clothing and car repairs....devastatingly impossible to pay for. So I had to find another way. I was able to get him into a special program in our town in Maryland...immediately...so he never lacked shelter, food, utilities. The program knew how to get him help immediately, a miracle with the way those things are set up. Had he lived with me, he would have received no help at all, and within months, I would have been choosing (once again) between food or utilities, etc. This came up exactly at the same time I met my future husband and moved 90 minutes away to a neighboring state, ergo rendering him 'homeless', which was a requirement for him to be able to get into this special program. It seemed like Providence. It still does. My son had reached a point where living with me was making him dependent in a very negative way for both him, and for me. The program was able to help him in ways that I never could have done, just because I AM his mother, and he is bipolar. That's too long a story to explain.

He eventually became (mostly) steady on different meds, praise the Lord, and through public assistance has had his own apartment, (a very tiny hole of a place dating to 1861) and some independence, and........nothing else. Just crap minimum wage jobs...but if he ever earns the limit...I think between $12k and $15k, somewhere in there...he will lose all public assistance........even though his health care needs would absorb almost all of that, leaving no money for housing (about $900 a month minimum) or food. While earning perhaps $6k to $8k a year, he has already lost SNAP (well, unless you want to count $12 a month I think it is), and do you know how much groceries are for a 7' tall young adult male? And he has lost some forms of medical assistance as well. So he has been TRAPPED in this nightmare......great position to be in when you suffer from depression and anxiety often to begin with. You CAN'T work yourself up the ladder from minimum wage, the system won't let you. I am powerless to help him financially, except occasional bits here and there; I am unemployed and my husband had to retire early due to his health, and he now works part-time in the hopes we can keep a roof over our heads until Medicare kicks in (our health insurance is $1525 a month). My son's only hope is to complete college in the hopes of obtaining employment with a salary that allows for medicine/insurance, food, rent, and clothing. If he can't achieve that, he said he'd rather be dead than face age 41 in the same hopeless position he has been in since age 21. He wants to do something with computers. He is always tearing them apart and re-building them for friends, and speaking in a mumbo-jumbo I don't even want to learn. But most of all, he just wants the basic human dignity of a job, and a paycheck, and of taking care of himself, himself...and to get married one day. His girlfriend also has emotional disorders. They aren't 'allowed' to marry...because then the only assistance they would get would be assistance for one of them, but this would have to somehow pay for both of them to survive, which is impossible. This is tearing him to pieces. They live really far away from each other, also, so getting time together is really hard. But beyond all that, the extreme humiliation of being dependent on public assistance is eating him up from the inside out, and literally getting close to killing him.

So, each and every day, dear Locut0s, I will be thinking of you, and praying for you, and watching for your updates. I understand the anxiety, the panics, the OCD, the doing-too-much, the fear of failure. I understand that you are an OVERACHIEVER, not an underachiever, because you have to invest many, many more times the effort and COURAGE to do what others without these difficulties think is oh so hard! And very few of those people will appreciate just how much courage, and patience, and try-and-try again, and don't give up it requires. And few of them could come anywhere close to doing what you have done. They don't know, but I do, and so do others here on DU.

So I wish I could be there to sit with you and go through a text and give you encouragement, and keep reminding you that you are worth this battle, and tell you that if you keep on fighting this battle, as best you can, one day you will find out you have won. And hopefully realize you are ten times the man that your cohorts in college were.








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Response to DebJ (Reply #69)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 06:10 PM

70. OMG thanks for this but...

I really don't feel I'm up to this right now. I'm self destructive right now and not in a good place. My heart goes out to you and your son, he sounds like a brave and very good person. My thoughts are with him and you. Perhaps I can work on myself first then get through something like this later? Sorry for the short reply to your post, may say more later when I'm in a better state of mind.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 10:31 AM

11. One day, one hour, ten minutes at a time!

We're rooting for you!

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #11)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:58 PM

31. That's the mentality I wish I could adopt...

I keep telling myself that's the key. But my brain doesn't work that way yet. I instantly go into fight or flight mode. Thanks for the support, it means a huge amount!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 01:14 PM

12. That's a lot of stress to be dealing with, Locut0s

And it sounds like you've taken some steps in the right direction.

I wonder, do you have seasonal depression? I do, and I'm already craving carbs and starting to feel low around sunset, even though we're still 10 days from the fall equinox. Time to haul out the Sun Box.

Could you arrange to get as much exposure to sunlight or bright light as you can, between classes? Especially in the late afternoon.

Ask your psychiatrist about this. If it seems to be a possibility with you, you could get a prescription for a Sun Box for light therapy and that might help somewhat.

Good luck! We're here for you.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #12)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:59 PM

32. Thanks LiberalEsto...

I don't think I suffer from SAD but the thought did occur to me in the past. For one it's been sunny and beautiful here this whole time. For another I've had similar breakdowns in the past at different times of the year that didn't coincide with fall or winter. The only common connection to my issues has been school or some other major stressor. Thanks for the suggestion though!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 01:27 PM

13. Hey what's your major?

I originally started in Nursing, and those classes were mentally grueling.

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Response to Dash87 (Reply #13)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 10:00 PM

34. Computer Science....

Basically, programming. It's a broad field and we cover many different aspects, programming languages etc... I've heard Nursing can be tough as well!

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #34)

Fri Sep 13, 2013, 12:07 AM

42. What are you finding confusing? Is it a particular programming language? Something else?

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Response to Dash87 (Reply #42)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 05:50 AM

60. It's not really something that's tangible...

There's no one thing that I can pin down. As I explained below I go through the day with a very high general background level of anxiety. Little things will add to it. I get an assignment that I don't immediately understand, a question throws me off for a bit, I'm surprised by the fact that I don't remember some detail from last year, I don't ace something that I feel should be a strong suite for me, etc... The anxiety builds through the day as these things pile up. Then of course there's the fact that I'll take on whole assignments in my head as one giant single task that must be done, instead of the 100 small steps it actually is. This leads to more anxiety. Eventually I have something of a break down and I'm a total mess for a few hours. I feel much better after but even then the anxiety begins to grow again making it difficult to hunker down and study and do the work which is what I really need to do to make some of this go away.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 01:35 PM

14. (((Locut0s)))

Hang in there.

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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #14)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 10:17 PM

36. Thanks Solly. I'm overwhelmed by the...

Kindness and support here!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 06:54 PM

16. Consider cutting back to two classes

I was on the seven year plan for my B.A., most semesters only taking two courses.

Of course, I was working full time during all of this. Any more than two classes at a time would have driven me over the edge. You need to considering working on yourself the equivalent of a full time job. Sure, it takes longer but the payoff is worth it!

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Response to many a good man (Reply #16)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 10:23 PM

38. That's true working on yourself is sort of a full time job...

But I can't actually cut down to 2. Although this is a university their programme are set and you don't register for individual courses like at most colleges /universities. Instead it's a set menu of courses that everyone goes through at the same time. They want everyone to have a similar experience and have group work and projects etc. They try to tie the stuff together more tightly as well. I COULD do that if I were taking part time but that's all at night and a totally different set of teachers and classmates. I don't think I can transition smoothly to the part time option and certainly wouldn't be able to stay in residence.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 07:15 PM

17. thanks for the update...

we're all on your side!!!

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Response to handmade34 (Reply #17)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 10:24 PM

39. Thanks handmade....

The support means a lot!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:04 PM

18. Hope things settle down for you...

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Response to Phentex (Reply #18)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 10:27 PM

40. I hope so too...

I go from optimism to despair many times a day. I hope the seesaw calms down soon. Thank you!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:15 PM

19. Cut back on another class! And try to stop the negative tapes playing in your head

Also talk to your professors. You are not the only one going through this. Not by a long shot.

You just need to keep talking. Talking to us, your counselor, your profs....



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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #19)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 10:32 PM

41. Thank you riderinthestorm...

I don't think I can drop another course. This university is a bit unique in that regard. But I think I will talk to my profs. I've been reluctant to till now but I could use the mental support even if they can't do much else. Thanks!

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #41)

Fri Sep 13, 2013, 09:23 AM

46. Are you sure this university is right for you?

I'm not trying to be pushy. It's just that most would say that you shouldn't go passed four courses.

There are other options. Most universities will consider you full time at four courses and part time at one to two courses.

There is also online if you're good at learning stuff online. You don't have to pay all the same fees that come with a regular university. You can go at your own pace. The only thing about them is that they may or may not qualify for financial aid.

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Response to musical_soul (Reply #46)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 04:45 AM

53. Thank you musical_soul. Indeed there are other universities but...

It's difficult for me to drop everything here at this point. I'm in group projects with others and I know I would leave them hanging if I suddenly dropped. I know that's probably not something I should be thinking about in the face of my own sanity being questioned at times but I do worry about the embarrassment. Then there's the issue of it being somewhat difficult to transfer the credits I have now over to another institution. And lastly I'd probably have to wait till next semester at least to get in anywhere else. I suppose I'd also feel something of a failure given the number of times I've dropped out of school already in the past. I'd find it difficult to face other family members as they probably think things were getting better for me over the summer.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Fri Sep 13, 2013, 01:35 AM

43. Think about the successes you've had in your life

Whatever they are, whenever they came, think about them, dwell on them and make sure to think of them often. You're in a negative loop that feeds itself, as you know.

And I don't mean major successes, I just mean *any* that you've had, however small. A good grade, whatever. Recall how you felt when that happened. Bring those thoughts forward and remember how it made you feel. Keep doing that. Dig into your memories for anything that made you feel good about yourself.

Maybe that will help break the cycle? Just try it. Good luck. I think you should stick with it.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #43)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 04:51 AM

54. It's difficult for me to do this...

One of the issues with having perfectionism is that you dwell on your failures almost by definition of the problem. But yes you are right I should focus on the positive. Perhaps I should try to create a detailed list of all my successes, something I can look at to remind myself of who I am during my worst moments. Because honestly I often have difficulty thinking of any successes.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #54)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 05:20 PM

63. It isn't about having tons of them, just find one or two

The point is to remember just one and to practice remembering it and making the memory stronger and stronger and more vivid and colorful in your imagination. If you do this often, you can train your brain to go there more easily. Try it.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Fri Sep 13, 2013, 02:06 AM

44. Hang in there!

I have been there done that, so I can relate.

You said you have a therapist meet soon, right? Make sure to tell him EVERYTHING!

Jus talking one on one can work in ways meds can't.

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Response to Lady Freedom Returns (Reply #44)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 04:53 AM

55. Actually my Dr. just called to move the appointment...



Something came up and he has to move the date. I'll try to see if I can reschedule a sooner meeting, say it's an emergency or something. Thanks for the support!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Fri Sep 13, 2013, 08:42 AM

45. How many courses are you taking?

Today I saw my program head and managed to get my course load reduced by 2 courses this term. That MAY help a bit but I'm far from optimistic about it. It still leaves me with 5 courses, and they assign more work in each than your average university course. One thing this university emphasizes above all else is SHIT loads of work, they cram 3-4 years of work at other institutions into 2 years here.


Okay, I think this is some of the problem right here. At a university level, you should never take more than four courses. I used to occasionally take five courses when I was at my community college, but even that was too much. I'm surprised they would let you take seven courses. This isn't high school. The work is more intense. Seven courses at the university level would be too much for anybody. I would drop one more course. More than four would be enough to stress nearly anybody out. The good news is that you are working to improve yourself. You've done great over the summer. Be proud of that.

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Response to musical_soul (Reply #45)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 04:56 AM

56. This place has a real work you to death mantra...

They pride themselves on the work load they ask you to go through. Some programs have 8 courses or more! That's something like 40 hours of class time per week, not counting study and homework time! However I've heard of some similar work loads in other programs at other institutions, for example this isn't out of the norm for engineering. It's just that they do this for many more programs here.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #56)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 10:32 PM

67. Well, I have to say.......

I had some depression issues in college. I sometimes dropped classes because it was too much for me in one semester. I was afraid of failing. I honestly think if I took seven classes at a university level, I might be feeling the way you do right now. There are mental problems that are physical (chemical imbalance), some that were environmental (which need therapy), and then there's what an old friend of mine used to call situational depression. That happens when you're in a situation that's too much for you. In my case, it was being around people who were bad for me. I think in some cases, it might be too much of a work load. I'd seriously look at other schools. That's just my opinion though.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Fri Sep 13, 2013, 12:29 PM

47. my ideas

Last edited Fri Sep 13, 2013, 01:12 PM - Edit history (1)

1- GET INTO PSYCHOTHERAPY AND STAY THERE. No excuses. You can find someone affordable in your area I'm sure.

2- Get your meds titrated properly. This requires a lot of feedback to your doc until it gets fine-tuned correctly.

3- Others have the right idea about lowering your class load.

4- Others are correct about slowing down and eventually stopping the negative self-talk.

5- Think baby steps. Think long term. This will not get cured in one month, I'm afraid.

6- You are very bright and have potential. Do this slowly. Who cares if it takes you a few extra years.

7- Your mental health is more important than anything else. Don't set yourself up for failure. Baby steps.

8- Remind yourself every day SOMEHOW what is GOOD about you and what your positive achievements have been.

Please take us seriously. The only easy thing to do is take meds, and they are NOT the 100% solution.

PSYCHOTHERAPY + MEDICATION + TIME + PATIENCE + BABYSTEPS = long term success

copy that down......memorize it....
manhugs



eta: My apologies for being so blunt. I do care...and I think you know that via PM's.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #47)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 05:28 AM

57. You aren't being too blunt!...

1) I agree this would do me good but I really think that it's something of an either or thing right now. Either I stay here and try to get through the semester OR I to the psychotherapy. I say that because most CBT forms of therapy are almost a full time job in of themselves over the course of a couple of months. I couldn't properly devote myself to it if I'm here at school. I still go back and forth every day if I should stay here or not.

2)Right now I'm only seeing my psychiatrist once every second week. And in fact he left a message on my phone that he has to cancel next weeks appointment and reschedule. I believe he's only here 2 days a week on campus, probably has his own practice somewhere. I should be seeing him much more often but I don't believe he has the time. Every psychiatrist always seems to be booked full 200% it seems.

3)I still have a few days to decide if I can drop another course. I might. I've dropped the ones that I can make up easily later already, the rest will be difficult due to scheduling and not having part time equivalents.

4)Yes the negative self talk is a long standing thing, life long. I MUST stop it but this is why I will need the therapy to stop. Stopping of my own volition is very difficult. I've found some tools that help here and there but they seem like peace meal solutions, small temporary relief.

5)This is true. The problem is it's going to take years to fully address. That I am very aware of. Sadly the anxiety is very much immediate and it wrecks havoc with my life in the present. I suppose if I get it under control in the long run it would be worth it even if it did mean yet another failed attempt this year.

6)This is true but I'm 31 now and it starts to ring less true as I age. When I was in my 20s I had plenty of time to mess up. I feel like I'm getting farther and farther behind as the years go by. Your hire-ability also diminishes as you age. If you graduate with a degree at 40 and enter a job market with little actual experience, it's difficult when competing with 30 year olds who already have 10 years of actual experience as well as that degree. But I agree with the general principle.

7)I fluctuate back and forth many times a day as to whether I should drop this and try again later. There are times of the day when I'm an absolute fucking mess and can't do a thing. Other times I'm almost optimistic. In class I can still usually pay enough attention that I'm asking questions, taking notes and things are fine. I can chat and even joke / laugh with my other class mates as well and things seem relatively normal. But there is a huge amount of anxiety induced background noise all the time that no one else is aware of. This noise builds to a head sometimes and I have these little breakdowns / attacks (not quite your classic panic attack but something similar). It's impossible for me to judge if I can't actually get through this or not. If it's too much for me to be doing right now. Or if things will get better if I just stick with it and push through the bad times.

8)I'm trying to do this more and more. As recommended above I'm trying to build a mantra of sorts. One thing that has helped is I continually tell myself "it's OK to screw up, failure is part of the learning process, it's OK to screw up". I find this helps when the anxiety is on the low side. It doesn't do all that much at other times though.

I'm going to have to do some research into what therapists are in my area and who are highly rated. Like in everything else quality varies all over the map. Sadly despite universal health care only psychiatrists are covered here in Canada, therapy / psychologists are not. But like you said there probably is something affordable.

Thanks for the support it means a HUGE amount to me, even if I'm not getting much better right now!

Don't worry about being blunt, you were nothing of the sort!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Fri Sep 13, 2013, 01:30 PM

50. It's Friday afternoon - I hope you're feeling better!

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #50)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 05:30 AM

58. Thanks hedgehog. I am now that it's evening, afternoon was tough!...

I keep having these breakdowns / attacks. They aren't you classic panic attacks quite but they are certainly periods where the anxiety builds to the point where I break down and I'm a complete mess. I feel much better afterwards though. This morning wasn't too bad, but year the afternoon was shit. Luckily I'm not too bad as of right now.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Fri Sep 13, 2013, 04:37 PM

52. This might not be a popular statement but...

 

Claims of perfectionism can be excuses for not doing. Go fail at something on purpose and get used to failure. If you're not failing totally at something you're not taking enough risks. In my final year of undergrad I took 21 credit hours per semester, worked at least 40 hours a week, and still found time to do blow off the fannies of random trim. Life is not something we're going to get out of alive; live it that way!

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Response to Bunnahabhain (Reply #52)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 05:43 AM

59. You certainly have a point...

What you are saying is similar to what MFM suggested might be going on. However I think your second point is where you have nailed it and it has less to do with simply not wanting to do the work. The problem is that I have an almost zero tolerance threshold for failure or perceived failure. If I understand the material and what is expected of me I traditionally have been more than willing to work very hard. I have always been described as one of the harder workers by the managers I've work under at previous jobs. And when it came to hobbies and tasks I take on 100% myself I can work obsessively at these things. The problem is when I feel I am about to fail or when I feel there is a lot expected of me, I don't deal with perceived responsibility well, then I panic. My brain shuts down and I go into avoidance mode. In this case you are right I avoid doing the material, the issue snowballs and things get worse. But it doesn't stem from not wanting to work hard, if I could just fucking not panic and calm down, and if I could own this work as my own, then I could work as hard as the hardest worker out there. I know this.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #59)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 10:45 AM

61. I was not trying to say you're afraid of hard work

 

I mentioned the course load and work load I had to point out cutting course work might be solving a problem that is not there. You sound like you have the capacity but are not living up to it. You also mention you're 30+ so you need to not stretch out your schooling and get out there in the working world.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 04:42 PM

62. How are you doing today LocutOs? Check in if you can...

Thinking of you....

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 06:31 PM

64. I wonder if I have borderline personality disorder?...

I realise self diagnosis is probably not a good thing to get into but I can't help but research my issues. Everything fits very well except one of the hallmarks I lack most of the time which is strong feelings of anger. This being said everything else fits very well. From wiki:

"People with BPD feel emotions more easily, more deeply, and for longer than others do. Emotions may repeatedly re-fire, or reinitiate, prolonging their emotional reactions. Consequently, it can take a long time for people with BPD to return to a stable emotional baseline following an intense emotional experience.

In Marsha Linehan's view, the sensitivity, intensity, and duration with which people with BPD feel emotions have both positive and negative effects. People with BPD are often exceptionally idealistic, joyful, and loving. However, they can feel overwhelmed by negative emotions, experiencing intense grief instead of sadness, shame and humiliation instead of mild embarrassment, rage instead of annoyance, and panic instead of nervousness. People with BPD are especially sensitive to feelings of rejection, isolation, and perceived failure. Before learning other coping mechanisms, their efforts to manage or escape from their intense negative emotions can lead to self-injury or suicidal behavior. They are often aware of the intensity of their negative emotional reactions and, since they cannot regulate them, shut them down entirely. This can be harmful to people with BPD, as negative emotions alert people to the presence of a problematic situation and move them to address it.

While people with BPD feel joy intensely, they are especially prone to dysphoria, or feelings of mental and emotional distress. Zanarini et al. recognize four categories of dysphoria that are typical of this condition: extreme emotions; destructiveness or self-destructiveness; feeling fragmented or lacking identity; and feelings of victimization. Within these categories, a BPD diagnosis is strongly associated with a combination of three specific states: 1) feeling betrayed, 2) "feeling like hurting myself", and 3) feeling out of control. Since there is great variety in the types of dysphoria experienced by people with BPD, the amplitude of the distress is a helpful indicator of borderline personality disorder.

In addition to intense emotions, people with BPD experience emotional lability, or changeability. Although the term suggests rapid changes between depression and elation, the mood swings in people with this condition actually occur more frequently between anger and anxiety, and between depression and anxiety.
"

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #64)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 10:36 PM

68. I would bring those concerns up to the therapist....

but I would let him/her do the final diagnosing. If you haven't been diagnosed with that yet, there's probably a reason.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 07:00 PM

65. I feel extremely embarrassed that...

To have these breakdowns at my age and as a guy. I know it's a stupid stereotype, that guys have to be emotionally strong and stoic. But I can't help but feel mortified at having these crying episodes. You aren't supposed to be racked by tears and emotions as a guy at my age, again I know that's not true but I feel it. I try not to show any 'weakness' in public and so put on a happy sociable face. Except my parents no one knows the true depth of my problems, most don't even know anything is wrong at all. God I'm exhausted.

This being said I do feel much better after one of these breakdowns as they are an extreme form of stress relief.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 07:49 PM

66. Oh my Lord! Talk about a flashback! *hugs* College went

very similarly for me, although I didn't stop and start. (Came close to it, though.)

I was diagnosed as General Anxiety and Depressed. As it turns out, I am actually Bipolar 2 and Anxiety, so I went through school misdiagnosed, incorrectly medicated, and mishandled by the support staff. (Not their fault, though.) I had a few breakdowns during school that in retrospect I wonder if they should have landed me in the hospital if I had told anyone what was really going on.

Anyway, all of that rambling about myself was actually just me trying to say that I really, really, really, really, REALLY understand what you are going through. Please feel free to PM me if you like, or leave a note in Mental Health. I'm not on DU much any more, but would like to stay in touch with you if I can. I know you can get through this one little step at a time.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 06:11 PM

71. I think i have to quit...

I'm becoming self destructive. Drinking, taking pills in response to the anxiety.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #71)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 11:32 AM

72. Instead you should follow this motto: "Another Day, another A!"

It begins with protein.

Load up on protein. Your brain will thank you for it. Lecithin with a meal may help too. Practice the five tibetans for free online ancient "yoga". Take walks if need to be to calm your soul.

Think in total darkness to sharpen your mind.

Listen to Mozart and Vivaldi to help remember. Sit right up in the front of the class for maximum learning.
Use colors to highlight material you don't know that well.

I, father of Pink Cloud, (winner of a 4 year all paid scholarship at a major university in the US of A) and Blue Cloud (now entering a pestigious academy of his own.) have spoken.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #71)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 11:53 AM

73. Darn, hate to hear this but

IMO you must see a psychiatrist, often, as I've suggested before, every day, or 5 days/week or somesuch, because whatever they've been doing for you clearly isn't working. And/or find a different doc?

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #71)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:37 PM

74. Well, for fuck's sake, don't kill yourself.

Check your PM.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Tue Sep 17, 2013, 08:57 PM

75. status update please, if you don't mind ? PM me otherwise please, ty nt

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2013, 03:10 AM

76. Update: almost went to hospital, may still...

I'm sorry to worry everyone. Everyone here has been more supportive of me than I deserve or have any right to accept and I thank you for it!!!! I've dropped out, these last few days have been nervous breakdown hell I didn't attempt suicide but I was self harming, drinking till I blacked out and bin eating / purging, I've done some shameful stuff, nothing really bad just embarrassing, and my parents have had to do the leg work to get me out of the school while I went crazy. I've had breakdowns before but not quite this bad. I'm back home now trying to calm down and piece myself together. Trying to decide if I should admit myself to a mental health facility or not. The only real advantage of that would be that they could monitor me closely while they tried to adjust / change my meds to something that might be better. I don't know. I'm exhausted. I think I'll sleep the next few days. I know there is more to life than college. Even if I can't hack that, but I can't help but feel my life is over. It will take a few days at east before I'm thinking straight.

thanks

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2013, 06:50 AM

77. Talk to your profs...

Believe me, some of us eggheads at the front of the class have been there.
I just skimmed your post, as I have to get to class. But I'm much more sympathetic to students who seek out help in my classes first, rather than letting things snowball. We get paid to work with students.

Suerte!

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