Should I drop my A Levels because of Anxiety/Depression Watch

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squareberry
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First post.
First thread.

I REALLY NEED SOME ADVICE, ANY CRITICISM IS GREATLY APPRECIATED


Bit of background info about me:
I'm 17, male. My mother died 08/06/10 and since then I have gradually become more anxious and depressed. I used to love school, I was actually doing year 9 maths in year 6. I was excelling. But since she died I had a complete relapse in my school work, forever being behind in coursework/homework.

Where I am now:
For my AS I scraped by with 2 D's and a Pass. Now I have just started my second year of A Levels. I am studying Drama, Media (BTEC) and Photography.

I'm drastically behind in my school work. My father/teacher think I have completed 6 photo shoots, I haven't even finished my first one.

I had 2 large media reports due, 4 days ago, which I still haven't finished.

Frankly, Drama is complete ****. (Sorry if profanity is frowned upon) It makes my social anxiety rocket through the roof. I'm forced to present myself in front of people in the class. When it comes to the two large performances at the end of each year, it is the second worst thing I've experienced. (First being my mothers death)

For 4 months leading up to my AS Year performances I was increasingly fantasizing and multiple suicide methods, even how to make it appear as an accident, to prevent guilt in my father. I don't even know what stopped me from doing it.

Today:
It is my 10th day on my first SSRI medication called Zoloft (Sertraline). I've been feeling a little bit happier in general, but my anxiety has gone through the roof. I've been so agitated that I can't stop chucking a tennis ball against the wall in my room. I was prescribed 14 x 2mg Diazepam (Valium) to help with this, however it doesn't really do much.

Anyway, because of this new medication and heightened anxiety I have not been to school for the past two weeks, and at this rate I don't think I will be going in next week.


The grand Decision:
I have a few options of what I could at this moment in time.

First of all let me tell you the two paths I have on option.

1. I will stay in the UK and work several different jobs to satisfy my own personal interest.
2. I will move to the Netherlands and complete a 4 year university bachelors degree.

Sorry if I have rambled but this is the finale of my boring post.

I cant go and study in the Netherlands if I don't complete my second year.

And relieving 60% of my anxiety by leaving school and starting work. I believe the reinforced routine and the same colleagues won't be as bad as being in school.


Please give me some advice, what do you think I should do next?
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sarahlikesgrapes
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I think you really need to try your best to do as well as possible at college despite your anxiety. I'm sure this is easier said then done, but staying at home won't help anything. You'll just get more and more scared to go back to college and you'll be even further behind. Face your fears and go back

Also do you have any friends that can support you? Because I often feel very isolated and under pressure and HATE presenting things, it makes me have panic attacks, but I have a couple of really great friends who understand and help me through because they know exactly what I'm like and what I'm going through.

Why do you want to go to the Netherlands and not a UK uni? I just thought, wouldn't being away from your family make things worse? I'm not sure about you, but it would make it even harder for me.

I would concentrate on bringing up your grades from last year. If you think about it, you're only going to be at college around 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, for only about another 7 months (less with the holidays) and then you'll never have to go back again! Don't you want to be proud of what you achieved despite the anxiety? If you mess it up now then you might never be able to rectify it. Your state of mind is only temporary, you will get better, but your grades will be with you the rest of your life.

Like I said, I'm sure it is a lot more difficult for you than I'm making out, but whatever you do, just try to do what will make you happy
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pepperthecat
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I'm really sorry you've been having so many problems and about the loss of your mum. An important thing to know about SSRIs (and other antidepressants) is that they can take several weeks to really work. And some of them can (as you have found) make your anxiety symptoms worse for a time. You need to have regular review with your doctor to monitor how you are and assess whether you are on the right drug (different people find that different ones help them.) Also, you might consider repeating your AS year, maybe switching from drama to something else, to give yourself some space and time to address your problems. As well as medication, it would be really helpful to have a course of counselling (if you are not already doing so). Medication is excellent for lifting the symptoms of depression, but doesn't address the root causes. There is help out there - your GP can advise you.
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squareberry
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(Original post by sarahlikesgrapes;45204375
[B
)

Also do you have any friends that can support you? Because I often feel very isolated and under pressure and HATE presenting things, it makes me have panic attacks, but I have a couple of really great friends who understand and help me through because they know exactly what I'm like and what I'm going through.
[/B]
I have very recently rekindled two old friendships from a couple years ago, however they aren't in any my classes and our schedules are completely opposite, meaning we don't see eachother apart from outside school.

Why do you want to go to the Netherlands and not a UK uni? I just thought, wouldn't being away from your family make things worse? I'm not sure about you, but it would make it even harder for me.

Mainly because of the education price, but I also love their architecture and transportation (weird, I know). £1500 per year instead of £9000 in the UK, yes please. Also, I never leave the home apart from school or the doctors. I like to think that If I am able to go to another country, I would be forced to power through any anxiety I have, therefore overcoming. It would also mean that If I could do that, then I could literally do ANYTHING I wanted.

Don't you want to be proud of what you achieved despite the anxiety? If you mess it up now then you might never be able to rectify it. Your state of mind is only temporary, you will get better, but your grades will be with you the rest of your life.

This is one of the main reasons why I believe I should finish this year. The thing is, at this rate I will be kicked off simply because I am that far behind. I'm extremely indecisive and I don't want to make a decision that I will later regret.

Like I said, I'm sure it is a lot more difficult for you than I'm making out, but whatever you do, just try to do what will make you happy

This is one of the main reasons why I think I should leave school, because it will make me happy. Spend the next 3 months solely focusing on fixing my head, then look for a permanent work position.
(Original post by pepperthecat)
You need to have regular review with your doctor to monitor how you are and assess whether you are on the right drug (different people find that different ones help them.)

At the moment I am seeing him once or twice a week. When I went back to him most recently I said that the increased anxiety has kept me house ridden, to which he was then suggesting a different SSRI. But on the Wednesday that just passed I woke up NOT in a depressed mood, which has been the norm for over a year. I told him this and then he changed his tune, saying that's a good reason to continue on Sertraline, and gave me some valium to relieve the anxiety.

Also, you might consider repeating your AS year, maybe switching from drama to something else, to give yourself some space and time to address your problems.

Well the biggest problem for me is new people. The sole reason why I chose to go to Sixth Form is because it was part of the same building of my secondary school, with the same students and teachers. I dread the Idea of a new class, so going down a year or switching courses is a complete no-no for me. I even picked courses at my home centre so I wouldn't have to go on buses to other schools.

As well as medication, it would be really helpful to have a course of counselling (if you are not already doing so). Medication is excellent for lifting the symptoms of depression, but doesn't address the root causes. There is help out there - your GP can advise you.

I started out on a CBT course. Did that for 6 weeks, then had a mental assessment at a third party clinic, so they put me on another CBT course. I was prescribed the meds to make the second course more affective. I will also be starting bereuvment therapy soon. At the moment I am in the doctors for meds 2 times a week and the CBT 1 time a week.

My immediate wish is to drop out, sort my head out, find a stable job and build my own personality.

But the biggest thing holding me back is the worry that I will regret it in the future, forever hating myself.
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laurenatlantic
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Sorry to hear about the loss of your mum
I'd have a word with college to see if you can change your Drama course because that won't help, keep at your photography it's always good to have a creative outlet when you're suffering with these mental health issues, it's about what suits you, also be honest with your teacher and ask for help and I know it' scary but if you're up to date with everything you'll feel 50% less like you're drowning.
Give your meds a chance to kick in, it takes a couple of months to get into your system which is a pain in the arse because you want relief now. (I understand, I'm on meds too)
Try finish your second year at college, if not then don't worry try again the next year

If you ever need to talk I'm always here
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squareberry
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(Original post by laurenatlantic)
Sorry to hear about the loss of your mum
I'd have a word with college to see if you can change your Drama course because that won't help,

I have spoken to them a few times, but we have to do a minimum of 3 A Levels and they said It's too late to join any new courses. Even If I could, I wouldn't because I wouldn't know anybody. I've asked to just do two courses but they won't allow it because it looks bad on their statistics.

also be honest with your teacher and ask for help and I know it's scary but if you're up to date with everything you'll feel 50% less like you're drowning.

I've actually spoken to my teachers and they seem to understand. But the still believe that I'm further ahead than I am, because if they knew the truth (how little I've really done) they'd realise I wasn't worth their time.

Try finish your second year at college, if not then don't worry try again the next year
Thing is, one reason I'm staying is because I know the people somewhat. Whereas to join a new year then it would be completely different.

If you ever need to talk I'm always here
Thank you
I can't even make sense of any of this in my own head.
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pepperthecat
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"I've asked to just do two courses but they won't allow it because it looks bad on their statistics." Stuff their statistics! The college is there to help you achieve your goals - not the other way round. And it will really f*** up their precious stats if you drop out altogether or fail all three subjects. Sorry but that sort of attitude from colleges makes me really cross!
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squareberry
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(Original post by pepperthecat)
"I've asked to just do two courses but they won't allow it because it looks bad on their statistics." Stuff their statistics! The college is there to help you achieve your goals - not the other way round. And it will really f*** up their precious stats if you drop out altogether or fail all three subjects. Sorry but that sort of attitude from colleges makes me really cross!
I know, its ridiculous. The headteacher has taken a college under his belt. So if you aren't doing 3 A levels in his sixth form you have to go and do one course at his college.
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wildleaves
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You obviously have way more potential then what your producing at the moment i think you should take a year off and then redo your As levels after you've sorted everything out
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Nathanielle
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(Original post by wildleaves)
You obviously have way more potential then what your producing at the moment i think you should take a year off and then redo your As levels after you've sorted everything out
That, otherwise you just take it on to university. Take a year out, it helps, really. Especially, because you can concentrate on getting better, which on the other hand opens space again in your head for academic work. Just doing some courses to have some A Level equivalent won't make you happy.
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gr8wizard10
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I wouldn't recommend taking some time out, I have no idea how it feels losing a parent and I'm sorry about your loss. However, playing with your future with your potential could make things worse. I realise you may be depressed but I'd consider retaking your AS exams while doing your A2 and really focusing on your studies as in the long-run this is more important for your personal development. Your grief is obviously doing you no favors and I don't mean to sound harsh but you can undoubtedly do a lot better, so get a grip on yourself and move on.

-The Real World.
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littlesmurfette
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I'm assuming you are 17/18

You have plenty of time. If it was me, personally, I would drop out. Your not only wasting your time but your teachers time as well, not to mention the lies that are building up- I can't see your father being too impressed with you when he finds out the truth and you didn't come to him with your concerns.

I did the same and honestly can't say I regretted it. I'm 25 now- went to uni when I was 22 and now i'm doing a PGCE and *hopefully* in a year I will be working as a primary school teacher. I know if I didn't drop out and take that time for me I wouldn't be where I am at today.

Go to your GP and get yourself some decent counselling. Maybe you need bereavement counselling for your depression from the loss of your mother, and CBT to help you build your confidence again.

First step is to talk to your father and tell him how you feel. You need to be honest with him. Maybe talk to a trusted teacher first if you think that would be easier- that is what I did and they then called my parents in for a meeting. Once you have done that you need to arrange an emergency appointment with your GP.

Your not alone- your certainly not the first, and you certainly won't be the last.

Good luck.
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Nathanielle
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(Original post by Abdul-Karim)
I wouldn't recommend taking some time out, I have no idea how it feels losing a parent and I'm sorry about your loss. However, playing with your future with your potential could make things worse. I realise you may be depressed but I'd consider retaking your AS exams while doing your A2 and really focusing on your studies as in the long-run this is more important for your personal development. Your grief is obviously doing you no favors and I don't mean to sound harsh but you can undoubtedly do a lot better, so get a grip on yourself and move on.

-The Real World.
The real world bothers about what you are able to do, a year out doesn't really hurt, no consistent A Levels with low grades and a bad situation do. And this case does definitely not sound like: I underestimated my As and then had a couple of bad weeks.
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Anonymous #1
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I feel the same as you if many ways but fortunately I have not felt your loss. I'm 17 doing A levels as well. Honestly, don't drop out yet. keep going the best you can even if its slow and long and you feel always behind. stay on this path and then once you're done then you have the option of doing what you what. That's what I'm doing. Take care
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squareberry
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Thank you for replies everybody. For those who don't know, I'm already on a CBT Course and have two different GP's which I see twice a week. My father knows how I feel and supports me greatly however it's only the past few weeks that I have lied to him about my work.

At this stage I think I am going to drop my A levels. Spend the next year sorting my head out, before deciding what I want to do next.

School is being very detrimental to my mental health, I can see clear differences between the school year or half terms. Towards the end of summer break for example, I started becoming happier and was able to find joy again in basic things like XBOX and TV. However, just days into school and I was noticing how much more time I spent contemplating suicide.

I'm still not 100% sure of what to do, because I feel like any kind of choice I make will affect me negatively, so I can't win whatever I do.

I just wanna enjoy living again.
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Anonymous #1
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Good luck for anything and the world would miss a precious soul if you were not here i suffer from anxiety and depression and I'm like you too so i wish you the best and seek happiness xx
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glousck
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(Original post by Abdul-Karim)
I wouldn't recommend taking some time out, I have no idea how it feels losing a parent and I'm sorry about your loss. However, playing with your future with your potential could make things worse. I realise you may be depressed but I'd consider retaking your AS exams while doing your A2 and really focusing on your studies as in the long-run this is more important for your personal development. Your grief is obviously doing you no favors and I don't mean to sound harsh but you can undoubtedly do a lot better, so get a grip on yourself and move on.

-The Real World.
- Guy feels depressed and suicidal after death of a parent
- You offer him advice that consists of "get a grip of yourself and move on"

If you don't understand the first thing about depression/anxiety, please refrain from giving stupid advice to those who suffer from it.
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nmr1991
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I got diagnosed with type1 diabetes half way through college, and what I did was forget about the drawbacks of it and keep working it off, and i've done so up to this point. The way it hits people just like hearing news of cancer or a life-threatening disease must be different for many people like myself, I don't think it has truly hit me, i've never been in denial about it, maybe its the added on stress from coursework and university that keeps it away. I'm just at more risk of heart attack, disease and the flu, and I have a pretty weak heart at the best times, so I can't deal with sudden loud noises like alarms, sirens and that sort of thing. I have become more aware and careful ever since, but i've had my ups and downs like everyone else would have.
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Jew2
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It is a terrible thing. I'm a part time mature student. I did exams a weeks ago and had a meltdown with my ocd and anxiety. Still shaky now and feel detached depersonalization thing. I'm considering deferred in Oct, health first. I understand how you feel, it is nasty. Peace of mind is a luxury when you go through desperate times. If you ever need help no panic are good
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furryface12
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(Original post by Jew2)
It is a terrible thing. I'm a part time mature student. I did exams a weeks ago and had a meltdown with my ocd and anxiety. Still shaky now and feel detached depersonalization thing. I'm considering deferred in Oct, health first. I understand how you feel, it is nasty. Peace of mind is a luxury when you go through desperate times. If you ever need help no panic are good
This is a really old thread so I'm going to close it, sorry to hear about your experiences though. You're welcome to make your own if you need any advice or anything on it.


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