I feel like I am sinking

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    Hi. I am a student. (18 years old)

    I have a major exam coming up. I am overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work assigned to us. Every day, I feel adrenaline rushes and even as I am typing this, I feel on the verge of an anxiety attack. This may be due to the high expectations I have on myself and the pressure of doing well so that I won’t disappoint/embarrass my parents. Since young, I have trouble confiding in people. I used to have close friends in school but not anymore.(my friends really hurt me) Some days, I feel that my existence is hanging by a thread. To make matters worse, my mom shouts at me whenever she sees that I am not studying. She expects me to study whenever she sees me at home. I feel like I can’t do this anymore. I tried meditation but it is really tough for me to stay focused. Are there any suggestions on how to overcome this dark period of my life?


    Dear Sam:

    How can you not be anxious when there is a woman shouting at you whenever she sees that you are not studying. When a person shouts at another, the person being shouted at gets these “adrenaline rushes” you mentioned. And then, even when she is not shouting, the fear of the next time she shouts creates these adrenaline rushes.

    To start with, she has to stop shouting at you, she has to stop immediately. Tell her to stop. Tell her that if she doesn’t stop immediately, you will move out.

    Then if she shouts one more time, you move out. Somehow, move out. If it means you have to put your studies on hold, then do  that, move out somehow and get a job.

    (It is not too much to ask a mother to not shout at her son, is it?)



    Hi Sam,

    I am terribly sorry for the intense emotions you’re feeling- I know it can be overwhelming. What I want to get across right away is that you are NOT your emotions- you’re just experiencing them. Making that distinction is so crucial because it can become very easy to fall into this belief that I AM this depression or I AM this anxiety. You are much more than that. This coming from a person who went through a 4 year struggle with depression. It gets better- please hold on to this statement: This is just temporary. Remind yourself everyday because situations do become better with time.

    For school- It sounds like you need to give yourself some self care. School is important but maintaining good mental health always trumps school. From your writing it sounds like you can be very hard on yourself- please give yourself a break when needed and try do your best on exams/assignments. At the end of the day that’s all we can do in anything- just our best effort. Pace yourself and do one step at time- thinking about the entirety of what needs to get done can be stressful and self- defeating.

    Your  mother-  I don’t know much context of the relationship between you and your mother but try to have effective open communication with her. If she loves you she’ll understand that you’ve going through a rough time and her yelling at you makes it worse. A person is can’t know something until you tell them. Try to have a honest conversation with her and see what happens. Also, you have a right to set up boundaries with your mother. Parents always talk about respecting them but children need to be respected as well. If she continues to shout after you’ve told her how you feel- immediately go to a safe space where she isn’t there- ex: library, your room, friends house, exct. Distance is sometimes the best thing. Its ok/important to protect yourself especially when it comes to family.

    Friends- ” I used to have close friends in school but not anymore.(my friends really hurt me)- I don’t know if you’ve tried to reach out to your previous friends and tell them how they hurt you. Maybe try to reach out to them to see if some friendships can be rekindled. I know its scary to vocalize and share your vulnerability but the best things can happen and change for the better if you do. If it happens to be that you cannot be friends with them try to find new friends. It can be really lonely without people and everybody needs support and to socialize sometimes. I don’t know if you lean more towards being introverted (that is completely ok) but try to go out of your comfort zone and meet new people. It can be really scary to confide in people but trust me a lot of people feel the same way you do. I know I did (and still do at times)!!

    If you are going through really dark moments I would highly recommend therapy- either group or individual. Since you go to university- I would utilize any services they offer and then look elsewhere. Therapy can benefit everyone- if you really want to make things better its pivotal to take that first step towards getting help. Another tip: Please try to be kind to yourself. We’re our own worst critic. Even though it feels like it, life doesn’t have to be so serious- its meant to be enjoyed.

    Tips for well being:

    Listen to music, talk to friends, go to the beach, spend time with family, being around animals/nature, therapy, exercise (there a reason exercise benefits so many esp. people who deal with depression), journaling to better understand yourself, literary anything that makes you happy do it!

    I’ll leave you with these- life gets so much better when you change your perspectives towards yourself and circumstances. It gets better. You matter and are loved. Its hard but don’t give up. You’re stronger than you know. <3

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