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Want to get better but not sure how!

Community Member

Hi all! I am a frequent reader of These forums and struggling a bit at the moment so thought I would reach out.

I am a third year uni student who has a wonderful family, great home and loves what she studies. And yet for some reason I struggle to go on. I have had depression and anxiety for the past few years and it always gets worse when I’m studying.

There is a lot of pressure to do well and get a job at the end of this, so it is hard to not judge myself or feel guilty when I can’t study. But my brain won’t let me!! I’m a chronic over thinker, and always end up spiralling pretty quickly once I begin to doubt myself.

There is a history of mental illness in my family, and I have been on anti-depressants for years. I’ve recently started seeing a new psychologist because I know CBT doesn’t work for me and I genuinely want to get better! We are working on some mindfulness and ACT but it’s hard to remember to do the practice or to actually want to do them.

I am cynical and judgemental, but only towards myself. I am always feeling so guilty and ashamed when I freak out and end up just having a guilty nap to calm down, which works but then I feel like I’ve wasted time.

I know I am sick and need to have self-compassion towards myself, but I can’t help feeling that in the real world life doesn’t just stop when you get sick. I can’t see any way through this but just to suck it up and push through. I am waiting for my life to have meaning so it doesn’t feel like I am just going through the motions.

I have identified one of my problems being that I am driven by approaching life as a to do list. That means I finish my essay tick, get to uni tick, eat lunch tick, go for a run tick, do a meditation tick- so I’m not really getting what I want out of these actions, just getting through them!

i just want to know if anyone has some suggestions for self compassion and how to stop living my life like a to do list and try to actually enjoy something/be in the moment every once in a while!

i hope you all are doing well and that someone can sympathise, in the past reading these threads and seeing someone felt just like me and got though it really helped!

sorry this is long,

lauren :))

1 Reply 1

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Lozz__ / lauren

Thank you for your post and it's good to have you here on the forums! I saw your name pop up on other threads too so it's great that you're becoming more than just a reader 🙂

I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling; I totally hear a lot of self- criticism coming through in your post, from the pressure to do well and I even get the sense of the pressure from yourself to be kinder to yourself ? Does that sound right? For what it's worth, I personally beat myself up for being mean to myself too. It's ironic. I am glad though that you're seeing a psychologist. Have you shared this stuff with them too?

You mentioned your psychologist gave you some practices but it's hard to want to do them - what do you think is stopping you or what makes you not want to do them?

I think that mindfulness can tie in so well with self-compassion even though it may seem different at times; being able to sit with that doubt without spiralling, or sit with that feeling of guilt and shame without wanting to nap. While you're right that the world doesn't stop when we get sick, that doesn't mean we have to suck it up and push through.

One part of ACT I like is around values-based living, which is working on living the life that is important to you. So if you're going for a run, why is that important to you - how do you want to feel afterwards? Are you going for a run because it's Tuesday at 6pm and that's what you do, or because you like to listen to X Podcast and the way your heart races? The actions are totally the same, but by thinking a bit more about what we do, we can kind of incorporate a bit more meaning into our lives and make this stuff matter rather than it feeling like a to do list.

I hope this gives you something to think about! It would be good to know what practices has been suggested already so I don't double up on that or can try and think outside the square 🙂