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Am I depressed? What should I do? Watch

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    Hi, I'm sorry if I ramble on or if I sound really annoying but I need some advice.

    I have lost pretty much all motivation since I started uni. I always used to 'coast' and I haven't been an avid reader for a while but it's got to the point where I just feel no desire to do basic things and I just waste my time on my laptop. It's not that I don't enjoy things I used to like - such as seeing friends - but I really struggle to motivate myself. On top of that, I have a shopping addiction (this might sound funny or made up but it's actually very real and very worrying) and I kind of worked out when I emailed the counselling service that I often go shopping when I feel sad or empty. I used to enjoy shopping but now whenever I go it's accompanied by all the feelings of guilt and worry that I've come to associate with my addiction). Concentrating on just reading 5 sheets of paper becomes a huge task. My course is very intense and reading based and this lack of concentration and motivation is a huge problem. All the enthusiasm that I used to have for my subject has gone out of the window.

    My sleeping pattern is totally screwed - I am pretty much nocturnal and have missed several lectures, a few seminars and one tutorial due to oversleeping. If I'm having a dream (my dreams are usually quite disturbing nowadays) I just completely miss my alarm. I am often tired and find it difficult to properly function. I don't think the college food helps, but I've found that regardless of whether I wake up at 8 or 12, I will feel tired by the end of the day. I can't read without yawning constantly and nearly falling asleep.

    I have also lost a lot of self-confidence since I started uni. I am surrounded by the brightest people in the country and it intimidates me. I often feel mediocre and don't contribute to class discussions, because I don't understand them or don't want to make an idiot out of myself. I ended up handing in my first critical commentary a week and a half late because I just had this barrier in front of me telling me that I couldn't do it. I have been proud of some of the essays I've produced but there is a constant voice in the back of my head telling me 'You didn't even read the book, you just read some criticism'. I broke down in tears when I got my report (I've had a lot of these 'breakdowns' over term) and I cried again yesterday because my situation just seemed so out of control and exams are around the corner and I know I'm going to mess this term up again. I have always had mood swings but I often feel upset or stressed or irritable nowadays, even though there isn't an obvious direct cause.

    I suppose the main 'traumatic' factors for me this term have been the work situation and the fact that I became sexually and romantically involved with my roommate but she got a girlfriend who goes to the same college as us, despite still liking me and being compatible with me. I resolved to get over her after weeks of feeling miserable about it and arguing with her but she opened some wounds again lately and I don't know, it's just contributed to a general low feeling that I've had for some time. On New Years' Day, after having quite a bit of alcohol, I broke down in tears about it all and cried for about 2 hours. I get ups and downs, like everyone, but even when I feel relatively happy there is always underlying worry and guilt. I ended up going to the Nightline service at 3am once because I was so sad and just talked and cried for hours.

    It's not that I can't be happy or enjoy myself. I had a lovely Christmas and no doubt I will have some great moments with friends next term. But going to such an intensive university with zero motivation, a shopping addiction, underlying unhappiness and bad sleep patterns is horrible. I have considered dropping out several times (although not seriously). Often I feel really alone because none of my friends seem to understand me. I saw an advert for a clinical study involving antidepressants and jumped at the chance to take part, because I've heard that antidepressants can improve motivation and studies have shown that they can be extremely beneficial for shopping addicts. I'm not sure if it's happening anymore because no one has contacted me about it.

    I have no idea if I have depression or if I'm just overreacting. I think if my situation doesn't improve then it is a possibility. I took an internet quiz (although I know that these things definitely aren't gospel, far from it) and I came out as about half on the scale, and I was told that I may have mild to moderate depression and that I should go and see a doctor. I was already planning to go to counselling group sessions on overcoming exam stress, anxiety, procrastination habits, bad sleep patterns etc and I've contacted a counsellor about my shopping addiction, so I wasn't sure whether I should just leave it and hope that things improve. I probably sound so annoying to people who genuinely have depression but I just felt like this was the best place to post and that hopefully people will be able to give me some advice.
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    Do what makes you happy, if you think you'll be happier if you drop out then do so...
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    Hey there anonymous poster,

    (You’re in for a long read but I feel like if I’m going to offer advice I had better give it the best I can) So, I'm sorry to hear this hasn't been a great start to the New Year for you - but not to worry, we can make it a better one in no time! Sounds like you've been going through a bit of a rough time, you poor thing :hugs:

    It's funny - for a large part of this, I felt like I was reading my own mind from when I was about 17-19. You cannot imagine how un-alone you are. University, with all its radical changes, is enough to throw a spanner in the works for anyone. Even a quick trawl through this forum will show you that quite a lot of people are very much in the same boat, especially at this point of the year with exam stress seeming to intensify everything.

    - You know, I've sort of become used to giving people advice on depression-related problems now; and having come through depression myself (without sounding arrogant) I had learnt some useful tips to tell people ... but actually, weirdly, what I am compelled to say to you most of all is this: you seem like a really nice person. Honestly. I mean, firstly (and I'm sorry if this strikes a chord) but to me, it just sounds as if you're someone who has trusted another person, given yourself unreservedly to them, and then been unexpectedly been let down. That's enough to hurt anyone deeply the first few times it happens, so please, don't apologise for being upset! In fact, in everything you describe, you have nothing to apologise for - you will see that some people, want to listen, and some people are happy to help, and you certainly aren't bothering anyone so for goodness sake, don't apologise! You say you feel guilty about trying to re-direct your upset into shopping, and guilty for the way you feel: trust me everyone has their own coping mechanisms, but we can gradually re-ascribe better ones, so there is no need to feel guilty because you've simply responded in your own way to the pressures you've been struggling with; everyone does it when they're going through a tough time. I really don't know if I'm making any sense to you here, but I'm just trying to say stop beating yourself up for basically unconsciously finding a solution to things that were completely out of your control. You don't need to be a genius to suss that one out - though you probably are Call me crazy but you seem to give vibes of inadequacy, for some unknown reason, and to me that just shows modesty, one of the most admirable qualities. Yeah, from everything you've said, I could safely say, you seem a very nice, sensitive, unassuming person. These are things you can take pride in: qualities that you should be happy you possess because - trust me - a lot of people don't.

    - That sort of leads me on to my next point: happiness. It could just be me, but sometimes it seems to me, even very smart people (which you obviously are, though you say you're not, you modest mouse) seem to almost put too academic a spin on life. Did you know even Einstein had a therapist? A lot of clever, well-educated and even very successful people can continue to have an underlying unhappiness. Even Winston Churchill confessed that the black dog followed him while he was in leadership. He was a great man, and managed to do great things even despite his depression (promise for all of us) but that’s not my point. People who prioritise academic pursuits and ambition too much, often are very lacking in true happiness – whatever that is (!) Ok, I’m only 19 and it’s all probably a bit premature and arrogant to make grand suppositions about what true happiness is , but I think a lot of it just lies in being content with what you are. Self-acceptance, and also acceptance of life as imperfect, leads to you being able to enjoy the little things in life that can make your day great. I mean the little things from a biscuit, to a piece of music that you love, to a good chat with a friend, as opposed to I don’t know seeking out the Nobel Prize or something.

    - This probably links into what you said about self-comparison and academic pressure – comparing yourself to other people, as much as a lot of us tend to do, just isn’t going to help. Reaching for goals is great and is part of what life’s about, but when we do so too seriously I’ve found that the stress of challenges can actually become demeaning, and unproductive - and hence de-motivating. This is one of the places where I can relate to so much of what you’re saying. Look elsewhere: summing yourself up in terms of how things like appearance or academic worth doesn't help anyone with their happiness. As I say, this isn’t a poor reflection on you, practically everyone does it, to a lesser or more extent, heck, it’s probably the hardest thing to resist! But once we do, we are so much closer to being truly happy.

    - So plan of action: As I said before, university is a leap some of us just can't deal with, and it can be really hard to be motivated. Tons of students struggle with motivation when suddenly left to cope with old insecurities and daunting new situations in an unfamiliar environment – this certainly happened with me at first. Right now, what I feel you need to do most may surprise you and you may not agree with it. To be honest, I feel like you sort of need to be less obsessed with how you compare academically and look after yourself and reach for your own happiness a bit more. Respect yourself more as as I said before, you seem like a nice character who deserves respect! Try to be honest enough with yourself about whether you need to take some time out to recuperate step by step because university progress officers are generally open to students taking suspension years if you communicate that you are really struggling, unhappy and about to crash. Evidence from a doctor can help with this. However of course the suspension may not be right, but I was once told by a progress officer 'forget everything else, your happiness is the most important thing'. I can see now, he was right - you can't really work well at anything for a sustained period if you're not really well or happy. If not a suspension year, your tutor or a progress officer can let you know about other support options available, and they will definitely be familiar with people who can’t cope with initial pressure if you are at quite a pressured uni. You say you are at college so I’m guessing Oxbridge or Durham - wherever it is they will have dealt with exactly your problems before and people will have approached them about it first in most cases, so try not to be nervous. I really would encourage you to discuss your sleep issues and work stress issues, in the least, with either tutor or progress officer.


    - You ask are you depressed. Well, there are lots of buzzwords and symptoms of associated with depression and a quick google search will confirm you have communicated a few. Regardless of whether we do or don’t want to use the scary big D word :P (i kid ), I can confidently say you are symptomatic enough to consult a doctor about it. Prescription A.d.s can help the depressed as a good foundation for stabilising mood, but they sure as hell aren’t a magical fairy solution to all your problems, so you ought to see about talking therapy with a counsellor or psychiatrist, ( as well as consider the other possible solutions I mentionned such as support from your personal/academic tutor or possibly taking some time out to go home, recuperate, re-motivate yourself if you feel that you are going to crash. )

    - As someone who has been through first year, remember that freshers stress so much about exams – they are all somehow filled with this idea they haven’t done enough work and are doomed to failure – but then at the end of they day the vast majority pass the year just fine. I remember even people who'd rarely been to lectures passing. Remember the option of re-takes, and all that can be done with the rest of the year that still remains, should you continue the course. I feel you should attend all upcoming exams and give them the best shot you can, as that way you can’t regret anything. Remember that above all the depressive feelings are not your fault and you have nothing to be ashamed of. As I said before, try not to take the academic side of things too seriously. Your health and happiness are the issues at the end of the day: just be kinder to yourself!

    Oh another point: I sort of know what you mean about the shopping addiction thing because it can be a weirdly comforting source of distraction when you’re feeling low, but it probably isn't a serious prob, so try not to be too harsh on yourself. Trust me, I had a lot worse troubles involving alcohol and smoking, which are a lot harder to combat, and remember there are people out there doing drugs. You don’t need me to tell you you want to stay well away from those sorts of solutions.

    Definitely, I cannot assert strongly enough: go and see a doctor at the student health service. Don’t expect immediate change; because change happens slowly and in its various forms but you will get there and when you do, you'll appreciate life more for it. So hang on in there, because if someone as hopeless as me could get there, you certainly can!

    Anyway good luck and if you want to PM about absolutely anything, feel free
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    My best advice for you to help with your uni work is to set yourself goals - that's what I do. I won't allow myself to go on Facebook or text etc unless I have completed a certain uni task. It really does help and after a while you sort of get in to the habbit of naturally doing your work. Shut off all distractions and treat yourself ever half hour with a break - whether that be something trivial like a toilet break or something more adventurous like making a cup of tea and chocolate biscuit! Hehe. I hope you feel better in yourself soon
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    Thank you so much for the response, it must have taken you ages. It made me feel a lot better. I didn't know that Einstein had a therapist. I think I worried that people will just think "Oh, she's the mentally unstable one who can't cope" which is why I didn't really properly tell anyone about it. I've booked an appointment with the doctor and also with the counsellor. I definitely don't want to drop out because I've wanted this for so long and I can't throw it away just because I'm going through some difficult times. If things carry on getting worse then maybe a suspension period would be good, but hopefully it won't have to come to that. I will try to start taking small positive steps to change things Although I realised today that I have another essay due in for Sunday, which I would have known weeks ago but I was too scared to properly read through the vacation worksheet, which is kind of my fault, and my tutor scares me a bit because she says things like "Late work is not acceptable". She knows I've had difficulties last term though so maybe it won't be so difficult talking to her about it again. Having someone on my course as a proper friend would be really good too so if I miss things I can ask for lecture notes without them just thinking that I was too lazy to turn up.
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    Mah god I resonate with this hard. Exactly how I feel (minus the romantic part, as I don't have that as I'm a ****ing ugly ****er with a really ****ty personality). Face it we are all ****ing animals on a rock trying to survive (which these days translates as being socially successful), we are basically drug addicts seeking the chemicals released from sex and love all our lives and when we don't get it we feel even worse.

    The happy/beautiful people are only happy because of sexual/romantic/social success and get their high. To be honest they are sickening mother****ers, airheads and pretending to be caring ****ers. All that happened is they won the genetic lottery, well congratulations ya big bunch of *****.

    Being ugly or socially awkward is the biggest stigma anyone can carry because it's the last socially acceptable thing to mock. You don't get support groups for the ugly; all you get is judgement and laughter. And people wonder why these teenagers in America and various shoot the place up.

    I'd say embrace the bitterness and maybe use it to motivate it yourself.
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    (Original post by Chobo)
    x
    we are basically drug addicts seeking the chemicals released from sex and love all our lives and when we don't get it we feel even worse.

    There's a lot more to our existances than that, believe me. We can feel all sorts of emotions that transcend their chemical basis.


    The happy/beautiful people are only happy because of sexual/romantic/social success and get their high.

    Nope, people who are deemed to be attractive are often grossly unhappy, insecure and/or unsuccessful in finding a loyal loving partner. Many people aren't truly happy anyway.

    Try to stop being so judgemental of a/ yourself and b/ other people. You have many good qualities - every one does - but if you fail to ackowledge them, you will never move forward. Every human being is worth something special to other people so quit beating yourself up with negative irrational self-ideas.
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    (Original post by SummitOfReason)
    we are basically drug addicts seeking the chemicals released from sex and love all our lives and when we don't get it we feel even worse.

    There's a lot more to our existances than that, believe me. We can feel all sorts of emotions that transcend their chemical basis.


    The happy/beautiful people are only happy because of sexual/romantic/social success and get their high.

    Nope, people who are deemed to be attractive are often grossly unhappy, insecure and/or unsuccessful in finding a loyal loving partner. Many people aren't truly happy anyway.

    Try to stop being so judgemental of a/ yourself and b/ other people. You have many good qualities - every one does - but if you fail to ackowledge them, you will never move forward. Every human being is worth something special to other people so quit beating yourself up with negative irrational self-ideas.
    I don't see it that way, we are at the end of the day just a bunch of chemicals. And I can't help the way that my chemicals react to make me fell resentment for most people and myself

    I tried to accept all people for years but to be honest I find the happy ones really ****ing boring people who have nothing important to say and the ones like myself are as equally as miserable *******s so there can't be any joy conversing with them.

    I'm ****ed. We are all ****ed.
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    (Original post by Chobo)
    I don't see it that way, we are at the end of the day just a bunch of chemicals. And I can't help the way that my chemicals react to make me fell resentment for most people and myself

    I tried to accept all people for years but to be honest I find the happy ones really ****ing boring people who have nothing important to say and the ones like myself are as equally as miserable *******s so there can't be any joy conversing with them.

    I'm ****ed. We are all ****ed.
    Ok out of interest how old are you?
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    (Original post by SummitOfReason)
    Ok out of interest how old are you?
    19 and before you start the whole you are too young to form an opinion blah blah, I've been this way since I can remember.

    Some of us will never be happy.
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    (Original post by Chobo)
    I don't see it that way, we are at the end of the day just a bunch of chemicals. And I can't help the way that my chemicals react to make me fell resentment for most people and myself

    I tried to accept all people for years but to be honest I find the happy ones really ****ing boring people who have nothing important to say and the ones like myself are as equally as miserable *******s so there can't be any joy conversing with them.

    I'm ****ed. We are all ****ed.

    I'm also 19 but hey hey don't think I haven't been there. I'm not a person where everything's gone right for me, it's been hard, and I've been really depressed. See my post above to the original poster if you don't believe me.

    There's not just a chemical basis for the way you feel, or antidepressants and the like woulld be able to fix everything. Chemicals no doubt contribute but the mind is a distinct entity from the body and you can train yourself to think more positively about things.

    I know that life can suck but it's all to do with your outlook. If you feel you're ugly, what is it about you that makes you think that? If you feel unhappy, why? PM me if you want. People do care and you will find someone for you who feels the same way. The wait will make it all the better when it happens.
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    OP here. I have many insecurities about my looks, despite other people telling me that I shouldn't. I am considered attractive by some but that doesn't stop me being unhappy or feeling lonely.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    OP here. I have many insecurities about my looks, despite other people telling me that I shouldn't. I am considered attractive by some but that doesn't stop me being unhappy or feeling lonely.
    Lucky you.

    To be honest women get it ****ing lucky, you get to basically say because all the 8/10 guys won't go out with you that you're lonely. Try having ****ing NO ONE interested in you.
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    Yeah I'm really lucky, I was groped 3 times on New Year's Eve. I also have to face the fact that statistically I will face violence or sexual assault at some point in my life. I'm so privileged as a woman.
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    I'm not sure what to do about my diet either. Our kitchen access is practically non existent in college and the food is not great. I'm one of those people who needs lots of veg and wholegrains and pulses or I feel sluggish and eurgh, and I was initially vegetarian but switched back to omnivore because the veggie food either tasted really bad or wasn't nutritious. The average lunch is something like chicken pie, chips and peas, or pasta with a blue cheese sauce, potatoes and carrots. There are so many refined carbohydrates and the vegetable selection is really limited. On the last night, when they were using up all the expensive ingredients which are usually given to the fellows, I had an amazing meal and there were 3 veg portions (not carrots/peas either!) and oily fish and I just felt great eating it and it made me realise how much I'd missed a healthy diet.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Yeah I'm really lucky, I was groped 3 times on New Year's Eve. I also have to face the fact that statistically I will face violence or sexual assault at some point in my life. I'm so privileged as a woman.
    OH PUHLEEEEEASSSSSE.

    So you're basing the fact that you are unlucky on something that *might* happen against something that actually has.
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    (Original post by Chobo)
    OH PUHLEEEEEASSSSSE.

    So you're basing the fact that you are unlucky on something that *might* happen against something that actually has.
    You don't know what's already happened in my life. This thread is about MY life, MY feelings for once. Go make your own. It's not supposed to be a trade off, "I'm so much worse off than you because no one likes me".
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    You don't know what's already happened in my life. This thread is about MY life, MY feelings for once. Go make your own. It's not supposed to be a trade off, "I'm so much worse off than you because no one likes me".
    Yeah, naaaaah. Its a PUBLIC forum so anyone can join in the conversation, this thread isn't your personal space. Maybe your problem in life is its all ME ME ME.

    Oh and I'd say that yes I am worse off and that yes I get that being a female can be hard (especially when things have happened) but being an incel is 10x worse. Not over death of course but that ****e happens to every ****.
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    I'm not interested in your life any more than you're interested in mine.
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    Also, it's a bit rich of you to say that I think it's all about me when I'm not the one who hijack's other people's threads about their personal problems with my own.
 
 
 
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