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My gap year ruined my mental health...now what... Watch

    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    Hello,
    Apologies for the negativity but i'm lost.
    I am in my first year of university.
    I took a gap year after A-Levels as i wasn't sure about what to study.
    However that year off has proven to be the worst thing i could have done.
    All of my friends went off to uni and i was alone.
    I intended to work and travel, but my mental health problems got in the way. I have always been a shy person but wouldn't say it was ever a huge issue. After a few months of loneliness and lack of direction, I started to suffer panic attacks. Throughout the year my anxiety got worse and worse and i couldn't stick at a job for more than a few days.
    I refused to acknowledge there was a problem or that i needed help, and used uni as my incentive to get through the year.
    Since starting in September it has been a mess.
    I changed course in the first weeks as my first lecture sent my into a complete meltdown.
    I am now 6 weeks into my new course and losing the motivation to do any of my work. I find my course uninteresting, i can't focus and i don't understand or remember anything I'm taught. I have an exam tomorrow and have spent the weekend procrastinating as every time i sit down to study i panic.
    whenever I'm given an assignment it sets off a panic attack and it takes me a long time to even start. I find what I'm studying boring but can't think of an alternative. I have no passions or skills or any sort of direction.
    I have always been extremely academic and was in my schools gifted programme, but right now i feel like an idiot and a complete failure.
    Im considering dropping out but don't know if I'm just being lazy. i don't want to be a quitter and I'm worried ill just feel worse if i leave.
    I enjoy living at uni and find the social side enjoyable, its just the studying i can't cope with. Im scared if i have more time out it will be even harder to get back in to education and my brain will never recover.
    Im lost and confused and miserable, I'm going around in circles and feel like ill never make a decision.
    put up with it and hope it gets better?
    leave and try a different course? (although i have no idea what)
    or give up on education entirely and attempt to succeed without it.
    FML
    rant over.
    • Very Important Poster
    Online

    19
    I wouldnt be so certain the gap year itself was to blame. You sound susceptible to the anxiety anyway and it could have been much worse at uni.
    It doesnt say whether you got treatment in the gap year? If not then get some now.

    You have already paid for the term, so stick it out. Talk to support and your tutor as well as your parents. You can always reapply next year, but do make sure you get treatment.
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    I am in a similar situation myself. I'm in my first year at uni and struggling to cope with the work, due to my anxiety. I also have the same issue with procrastination. I'm considering dropping out and having some time to decide what I want to do, but I don't want to be seen as a failure.

    I'm not the best person to give advice, but I would say talking is the best thing you can do if you're suffering. Do you have a family member or friend who you can confide in about your feelings? Personally, I get kind of claustrophobic if I keep my thoughts bottled up. Also, have you got any support from a GP or therapist? Getting your thoughts heard is really helpful IMO. As the first comment said, talk to your personal tutor about how you're struggling and see what advice they can offer you.

    Ultimately, it's your decision. Remember, you have lots of options, so if you do decide that the course isn't right for you, it's OK. Whatever decision you make, you'll be OK. And if you ever need someone to talk to, my inbox is always open
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Hello,
    Apologies for the negativity but i'm lost.
    I am in my first year of university.
    I took a gap year after A-Levels as i wasn't sure about what to study.
    However that year off has proven to be the worst thing i could have done.
    All of my friends went off to uni and i was alone.
    I intended to work and travel, but my mental health problems got in the way. I have always been a shy person but wouldn't say it was ever a huge issue. After a few months of loneliness and lack of direction, I started to suffer panic attacks. Throughout the year my anxiety got worse and worse and i couldn't stick at a job for more than a few days.
    I refused to acknowledge there was a problem or that i needed help, and used uni as my incentive to get through the year.
    Since starting in September it has been a mess.
    I changed course in the first weeks as my first lecture sent my into a complete meltdown.
    I am now 6 weeks into my new course and losing the motivation to do any of my work. I find my course uninteresting, i can't focus and i don't understand or remember anything I'm taught. I have an exam tomorrow and have spent the weekend procrastinating as every time i sit down to study i panic.
    whenever I'm given an assignment it sets off a panic attack and it takes me a long time to even start. I find what I'm studying boring but can't think of an alternative. I have no passions or skills or any sort of direction.
    I have always been extremely academic and was in my schools gifted programme, but right now i feel like an idiot and a complete failure.
    Im considering dropping out but don't know if I'm just being lazy. i don't want to be a quitter and I'm worried ill just feel worse if i leave.
    I enjoy living at uni and find the social side enjoyable, its just the studying i can't cope with. Im scared if i have more time out it will be even harder to get back in to education and my brain will never recover.
    Im lost and confused and miserable, I'm going around in circles and feel like ill never make a decision.
    put up with it and hope it gets better?
    leave and try a different course? (although i have no idea what)
    or give up on education entirely and attempt to succeed without it.
    FML
    rant over.
    Listen, what if you took this miserable attitude and turned it upside down? Why not start afresh? Yes, that is exactly what you should do. Turn this bad experience into an amazing opportunity!

    How do you do such a thing, you ask?

    1) Use the resources that you do have. You're excellent at academics and I think that's awesome. So, you can use your powers of academy (or alchemy if that's your style), to harvest energy and put it to good use by learning what you want to learn effectively!

    2) Identify and solve the true problem. You have changed course twice. You have also blatantly stated that what you're doing right now is quite uninteresting. So is the uninteresting course the true problem? Could it be? Or is it not because it's uninteresting, but rather your feelings at the moment which are conflicted that would make anything seem uninteresting?

    How do you solve your personal feelings? Well, you like social aspects of University - that's great. You also can handle living there. Great. Apart from what's going on deeper in your mind, these are some of the problems that I've identified from what you've said:

    - Procrastination; a lack of preparation makes you feel anxious about your performance in the exam, thus your grade, and your life - so take this step-by-step and please don't correlate your grades with your life it's not going to help and will only worsen your stress/anxiety
    - Uninteresting course at the moment, and can't think of an alternative
    - You have no passions or skills or any sort of direction.

    To solve procrastination, you need motivation. But ultimately, you need passion and an interesting course, for motivation.

    Possible ways to solve procrastination: Read and watch videos online about procrastination and how to solve it. Go do something that really interests you.

    Possible ways to find something you really enjoy: Now this is the hardest one imo. I think you would really benefit from some practical help and support from careers advisors (I really think that) - trust me, they can often come in real handy in a pinch.

    Also read:
    - The 4-hour workweek
    - How to make friends and influence people
    - The 6 pillars of self-esteem

    Prioritise what is most valuable to you - Identify your goal. Identify what is driving you to achieve that goal. Make a list of what is taking you towards that goal. Eliminate and simplify the list as much as possible. Identify and eliminate your mental and emotional barriers.

    Get involved more in clubs and stuff as well as enhancing your mind by increasing your writing skills, leadership skills, teamwork skills, get involved in some sports - basically do some extracurricular activities and also try getting a part-time job, and hone your organisational and time-management skills. Allocate more time to studying if need be, no matter how good you think you are at academics. Get Evernote app, increase your studying skills.

    For now, be strong. You must be really strong and persistent until you find something that's a bit more relaxed and appropriate for you.

    Summary
    - Careers advisors
    - Those books I mentioned
    - Identifying your goal and prioritising your values
    - Extracurricular activities
    - Be strong until something will work for you
 
 
 
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