October 23, 2023 at 3:58 pm #423666
I’m a 21 year old guy attending college in Europe having serious issue about being dissapointed and obsessing over my decision to study the degree i’m studying to the point i cannot enjoy life anymore. I understand that i’m just 21 year old and thus my decision may not be as decisive to my life, but it feels this way.
So to give some backround: Throughout school i had a vague inclination towards wanting to be a “scientist that cures diseases and finding new drugs etc”. I also had the “wish” for my job to be high-esteemed and to enable me to travel the world and embark on adventures without any additional economic concerns. I beleive this two factors acted like my “driving forces” through my teen life, making me vaugely considering Pharmacy ir Biology degrees for college.
In my country you get to choose a degree through something like a “National Exam” where the higher your marks the more “freedom” you have to choose your university and degree. When my time came i unexcpectedely managed to be able to choose almost any university and degree i wanted. Choosing “Medicine” started coming to my mind now, seeing that i had the chance of choosing it, even though it was something i never seriously considered before.
So my 18 year old self had to choose in one week what to study in college.
The idea of studying Medicine grew bigger and bigger, starting to consider embarking on a possibly exciting path that unraveled unexcpectedely in my life. At the same time though, the fear of being a doctor started to grow too. I started feeling that i couldn’t handle the burder of seeing dying patients and images of me being unhappy and incompetent were growing bigger and bigger too. Also the medical school i was able to go was in another city (Pharmacy and Biology schools were in my hometown), so the fear of moving out also terrified me.
After an extremly stressfull week osscilating between the excitement but also terror of exploring medical school, i decided last minute (literally) before the deadline to remove medical schools from my preferences list, meaning that i was going to study Biology that was my next choice.
The previously crippling fear about choosing medicine eroded but so did the excitement. A new feeling arised in an unforseen magnitude: dissapointment. The following weeks i became extremely dissapointed over not choosing medicine, i had lost any interest in exploring the world of “college” that i just had entered and Biology degree seemed more like lesser compromise.
This was the point that i felt like i became the side character of my own life, something that unfortunatelly stays with me to this day. I don’t have dreams about my future life anymore and i just feel a “worse” version of myself.
I should note that since then i’m also most of the time at a state of depersonalization/derealization. Also i still feel the need to figure out what degree should i study resulting in me searching the web countless hours for the “answer” even after years of the moment of the actuall choice.
Three years have passed since then but i still feel that i made the “wrong” choice. It feels like someone was calling me to embark on an adventure but i denied it. My life before felt like a movie, i was setting goals and i was trying to develop myself perosnally but unfortunatelly not anymore.
So what are your thoughts on overcoming big life regrets and how one can become again the “Protagonist” of his life if he feels the choice he made rendered him an “Extra”?
I understand i may be a little dramatic considering other issues that many people go through. Nevertheless I hope that if someone relates will also be able to benefit from any advice given.
Thank you everyone for your time.
Hope you have a great day!
P.S: Sorry for my English and the long post.October 23, 2023 at 5:22 pm #423674anitaParticipant
Dear Teo Desin:
Having to decide what to study, and considering moving to a different city (if you chose medicine) was such an extremely stressful emotional experience for you, so overwhelming, that you found yourself in “a state of depersonalization/ derealization“.
“Three years have passed since then but I still feel that i made the ‘wrong’ choice.“- three years have passed and you are still experiencing an elevated stress level
“So what are your thoughts on overcoming big life regrets and how one can become again the ‘Protagonist’ of his life if he feels the choice he made rendered him an ‘Extra‘”- experiencing life as the central character in your life vs being on the sidelines of your life, an extra character, requires first that you lower your stress level and keep it manageable. Having a daily routine and structure in your daily life is part of it. Aerobic daily exercise is very helpful. Online guided meditations and other Mindfulness practices can help a lot. So can quality psychotherapy.
I hope to receive your response to my reply and hope to communicate with you further.
anitaOctober 24, 2023 at 11:51 am #423702RobertaParticipant
Dear Teo Desin
Firstly congratulations in passing your exams to enable you to continue with your education.
Please may I ask how much longer do you have before you finish this course? Can your course go towards your medical degree? Are you able to start a medical degree after you have completed this course?
Do similar thoughts of failure/pressure encroach on other areas of your life?
Working/Volunteering for an organisations such as Medicine sans Frontiers gives you an opportunity to travel and help the most needy.
Wishing you all the best in finding your raison D’EtreOctober 25, 2023 at 2:28 am #423718
Thank you for your answer. Indeed i feel that a lot of stress has accumulated in body and that my mind is trying to calm me down too by causing me brain fog. I would surely try to add more time for meditation in my life since i practice it sparsely. Also about psychotherapy, are there certain types of psychotherapy you would recommend? I have tried CBT but i think it made enter the “thinking” realm even more.
Also one thing that is holding me back from calming down is that i constantly feel the need to figure out what is the best choice for me to have as a degree. For example i may still search the web and constantly think if i should study medicine after my course or if medicine is my “calling”. It’s like i don’t let myself calm down unless i have figure it out. I’m afraid if i let myself “free” i won’t know what is my “calling’ and that i may later deceive myself to settle for the easiest path even if deep down i would know it wouldn’t fulfil me.
What are your recommendations on overcoming this constant search for the “answer” that doesn’t let me to calm down by using appropriate routine, practices and changing my mindset?
Thanks again for your time.October 25, 2023 at 2:53 am #423719
Thank you for your time to answer. I have two years to graduate from my course and i can go to medical school after my degree entering it in the 2nd year (out of 6 years).
I beleive that in such a magnitude thoughts of failure/pressure were present only in the area of college degree choice. There were some instances before that i have felt that i have failed (like in an exam in school) or that i have felt pressured but they were manageable and short-lasting.
Indeed volunteering on organizations like Medicine sans Frontiers is something that have passed my mind.
Also something i didn’t mentioned is that before making the decesion about medicine i did shadowed a doctor in the hospital (my best-friend’s mum). Even though i really liked the “diagnosis investigation” part, seeing children and their families suffering really made me think that i may don’t want to see “suffering” everyday. Instead the idea of helping them from the backround through research seemed mkre appealing. Still since shadowing was only for some hours i don’t know if i got a repressntative glimpse in medicine.
Thank you again for your consideration.October 25, 2023 at 9:05 am #423726anitaParticipant
Dear Teo Desin:
You are welcome.
“About psychotherapy, are there certain types of psychotherapy you would recommend? I have tried CBT but I think it made enter the ‘thinking’ realm even more“-
– My first high-quality therapist was a CBT certified therapist, but he incorporated a high dose of Mindfulness principles and practices into therapy because he realized that my first and foremost need was to calm down on a regular basis, aka to practice emotion regulation skills.
“Also one thing that is holding me back from calming down is that I constantly feel the need to figure out what is the best choice for me to have as a degree… I don’t let myself calm down unless I have figure it out… constant search for the ‘answer’“-
– this reads like OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) to me. I am not a psychotherapist though, nor am I a health professional of any kind. I am not qualified to diagnose anyone, nor are these forums the place for such.. BUT I know OCD (have been diagnosed with it), and it reads to me like you are obsessed with figuring out the best choice for a degree and your compulsion is to constantly search (“constant search“) for the answer.
“What are your recommendations on overcoming this constant search for the ‘answer’ that doesn’t let me to calm down by using appropriate routine, practices and changing my mindset?“- Firstly, realize that this constant search is a Problem and not a solution. You need to lessen the search itself (the compulsion). Secondly, practice emotion regulation skills/ Mindfulness on an hourly and daily basis. Thirdly, approach the question of your choice of degree from.. an emotionally regulated state of mind.
anitaOctober 26, 2023 at 4:48 am #423748RobertaParticipant
Dear Teo Desin
I get how distressing seeing pain & suffering is and in a hospital situation it is intensified and the long hours of those kinds of occupations takes its toll on the health providers ( I have worked for over 20 years in old age care). So research could possibly suit you better, you would still be helping humanity.
I guess the tricks are to understand what your core purpose is. How do you want to live your life? Get to know your strengths & weaknesses so that you know where & when to push yourself and when to take a step back ie front line doctoring versus research. Learning how to stay with our core values and to be open to do it in small & different ways and not just the big one off gestures. When we learn about ourselves and learn to nurture ourselves we will have the strength, wisdom & compassion to help our fellow travelers on this journey of our lives.
I love this quote from Shantideva it broadens the spectrum of what helping sentient beings looks like.
May I be a protector to those without protection,
A leader for those who journey,
And a boat, a bridge, a passage
For those desiring the further shore.
May the pain of every living creature
Be completely cleared away.
May I be the doctor and the medicine
And may I be the nurse
For all sick beings in the world
Until everyone is healed.
Just like space
And the great elements such as earth,
May I always support the life
Of all the boundless creatures.
And until they pass away from pain
May I also be the source of life
For all the realms of varied beings
That reach unto the ends of space.