Monday, October 27, 2008

My So-Called Life

Posted by Anonymous.

I hate my life.

I’m very aware of how teenaged that sounds, and I probably need a slap upside the head for thinking it and two for typing it. And that is exactly why this is the only time I’ve ever said it to anyone.

It looks good on paper. I’m 21, in a major university, and working a part time job that by all accounts, I should be in love with. I live with two considerate roommates, and I live in a good area of my city. I’ve got two parents who would do anything for me. Where’s the downside, right?

I. Hate. It.

I’m miserable being this far away from my parents, my family and my friends. I miss having that support system at my fingertips, and physically there. My parents are always a phone call away, but it’s not the same as a hug from my dad. In 21 years of life, I have never felt so alone. It’s ridiculous of me, because that family is not gone, but it’s not there physically and I don’t belong anymore.

There are days I can’t bring myself to drag myself out of bed, shower and get to class. I just can’t. I want to but I just can’t. There are three things that inevitably follow that: me crying, me feeling absolutely numb, or me eating more junk food than any person should. The repercussions of the first two aside, the third is resulting in weight gain. I’m not at the point of obese yet, but it’s getting to the point of chubby around the midsection, which (call me vain, if you’d like) isn’t helping with the self esteem levels.

I’m also not a typical university student. I don’t drink to excess (I have never been drunk in my life; believe it or not), I’ve never smoked or tried any drugs. That puts me on the outside of the university social life right from the get go. Everything revolves around alcohol, so it seems, and when that’s happening, I’m uncomfortable and desperately want to leave. I last all of 5 minutes in a bar before I’m searching out emergency exits to make my escape.

The last three years of my life have been, by far, my least favourite. I feel like I’m drowning and I don’t know how much longer I can stay above the surface. I’m not a crier, but I’ve burst into tears too many times without knowing what caused it. I’ve spent too many hours feeling terrible and not knowing why, and I’ve had far too many mornings where getting out of bed and keeping up the happy public face is impossible.

In my mind, I’ve got the perfect picture of where I want my life to go, and it’s the one thing that keeps me going. I want to be a teacher and it’s what's keeping me in university. I want to get married, have children and create my own family where I belong. But that dream is slipping further and further away, and I don’t think I can keep swimming.


Anonymous said...

I am not a doctor. It sounds to me, however, like you're clinically depressed. If you don't have your own doctor where you are, go to the university's clinic. They should help you figure out if you're depressed, and whether therapy, meds, or a combo, might make sense in your case.

You have dreams and goals you mentioned. You're at school to get the education to make that happen. Any other results are simply extra.

Get the help you need, and you'll start finding your Joy again.

Anonymous said...

I could have written this in college!! That was, hands DOWN, the most unhappy time of my life. I didn't drink much either and it's really isolating!! I had some other things going on, including estrangement from my family.

For me it got bad enough that I told myself that the bad outweighed the good and if one more bad thing happened I'd commit suicide. The very next morning I overslept and missed work - about the most mortifying thing ever at the time. That pushed me to seek help.

Therapy helped, antidepressants helped. More than anything, about 6 months after the above incident I met my husband. He really gave me that "home" I so desperately needed.

Know that you are not alone. The way you feel is very normal. Please get help. And most of all, know that it gets way, way better!


Lindsay said...

Wow, this could have been me, too. I ran home as fast as my legs could carry me! Three things that helped:
1. Therapy - it should be included in your tuition. They see this all the time and can even find you friends that are in your same shoes.
2. Antianxiety/depression medication - I was always a happy person until college and medication has helped me get back to being myself (and maintaining those dreams you have for your life).
3. Smile - a family friend reminded me to physically smile. It sometimes (not all the time!) leads to genuine smiling.

I'll be sending positive thoughts your way!

katesaid said...

Sarah? Is that you?

No, you can't be my sister... she's 22 and our father has never exactly been a phone call away.

But otherwise, this is what she has been going through for the past handful of years. It's so hard and so sad, and I know she's in for one more transition when she finishes school and finds someplace to settle and live.

I hope that you both find ways to care for yourselves... see a counselor. It's worth it. If they suggest meds, take them. Life does not have to be this hard. Accepting help does not equal failure.

Tarasview said...

ah honey, I'm so sorry you are hurting.

And you know what? It is completely ok to be homesick. And it is a GREAT thing that you don't get drunk and act like a complete moron!

But I do agree with commenter #1- I think you may be suffering from depression- which I have struggled with for years. I bet that there is a counsellor of some kind, or a chaplain on campus that you could talk to. Or if you have access just head out to your nearest doctor and tell her/him what has been going on.

And don't feel ashamed for feeling that way- there are LOTS of us who struggle with depression but it is key to get help.

Praying for you tonight.

Anonymous said...

I'm sitting here in tears because it's brought back so many memories for me. I could have written that during my first and second year of uni. I ended up very depressed and suicidal.

Please get help. I know my university had some amazing resources once I started to tell people that I was not doing well and that I needed help. Keeping asking for help until you get it.

The other thing that made a difference for me (apart from meds and therapy)- was cutting back on my courses. It allowed me to take care of myself and travel back home more often. It's hard to do, because it felt like I was "failing", but boy - it saved me.

I too had (and still do have) the amazing supportive parents. Have you told them? I know that telling my parents that I was miserable, sad, lonely and hated school lifted the biggest weight off my shoulders. I felt that I could breathe once they knew and understood how horrible I was feeling and how I wasn't coping. Please tell them.

Getting help was the best thing I ever did.

Please let us know how you're doing. I'll be thinking and praying for you.


Anonymous said...

I agree with the other commenters, you sound clinically depressed. There is nothing to be ashamed of in that. Understanding it and getting help will free you to regain perspective and again work toward your goals. Depression is a real illness and just like with appendicitis or diabetes, you need to go to medical professionals to get the help that you need. Therapy and probably at least short term antidepressants are the most usual course of action.

Get the help you need. Pick up that phone and tell your family what you are feeling. Ask them to help encourage you to get the help and follow through with it. You are going to continue to be unmotivated for awhile still, but don't give up just empower those who love you most to be the support system you really need right now.

sarah said...

University is so miserable at times, but you're not alone! I experienced the same feelings in college, and it took me a year to realize it wasn't normal, it was depression. It sounds like what you're going through. My heart aches for you. Go see the student health clinic, or even better-most colleges have a free counseling service for students. Try it. You have nothing to lose, and making the decision (even that little thing) can feel so much better. I wish you luck. Write back to let us know how you're doing.

Anonymous said...

For persons like me (and you, possibly) who are prone to depression, major life changes can trigger a bout of it. I had a big episode of depression (believe it or not) after getting married to a wonderful man (whom I am still married to -- it wasn't his fault!). And moving away from home to go to college would definitely qualify as a major life change.
Get help. There's absolutely no need to soldier on alone.

Anonymous said...

You sound like you are either a senior or junior. I had a high school teacher with whom I was real close with tell me that I could do anything for 6 months. If you are a senior then you are around 6 months from being done and home.

If it is real serious call your folks and ask one or both of them to come visit you real soon.

Get involved with something a cause or something. I volunteered at the Peds. ICU while in college. I held babies whose parents could not be there 24/7. It really put life in perspective.

Amy said...

I could have written this when I was in college... and I was clinically depressed.

Print this out and take it to Student Health Services TODAY, and get yourself some help.

For what it's worth, I'm 32 now, and no longer depressed (I'm off my Zoloft, and in spite of a couple bumps in the road this month, I'm FINE), and I'm loving life. This too shall pass, Sweetie, this too shall pass.


Kai said...

I definitely could have written this in college. I suffered terrible depression near the end and dropped out with only two classes left.

I know it's hard, but start by forcing yourself out of bed to do things you like. Go sit in a park, join a book club, the volunteering suggestion is a GREAT one, go out and buy the ingredients to make something anything that gives you something to look forward to.

And just remember, it WON'T always be like this....better times will come.

pkzcass said...

I disagree with many of the commenters here that you're clinically depressed and need medication. I'm not a doctor, but I've got common sense. Yes, you may be depressed because of your circumstances and feel powerless to change them. But you know what's wrong, and it sounds like there's one thing you can do to feel better. Go home!!! Tell your parents how you feel, finish out the semester, and then either take a semester off or transfer to a local college or something. Just go home. If you parents are as supportive of you as you say, they will welcome you with open arms and would rather have you home safe that away at school feeling miserable and possibly suicidal. I saw many classmates like this in college. Some just aren't cut out for living in dorms or being away from home. Now as a parent, if my son was having the same problems as you are, I'd be there in a heartbeat to pack up his things and bring him home. It's nothing to be ashamed of; you are who you are. If you're a homebody, that's OKAY.

First and foremost, tell your family how you're feeling. Maybe just telling them that will help you to finish. If it doesn't, make plans to go home as soon as the semester is over.

Good luck, and please let us know how you are doing.

Emmie {orange + barrel} said...

I had several roommates in college that went through the same thing. There are tons of resources at colleges to help you out, and most of them are free.

I couldn't agree more with the person who said something about volunteering. I was far away from my family during college and getting involved in the community makes things feel more like home.

Don't quit! You can do it!

Anonymous said...

I'm with pkzcass - go home! Being homesick doesn't necessarily mean that you're clinically depressed! You miss your family, you don't want to be away from them! My oldest son will go away to college in 2 1/2 years, and I would never want him to go through what you're going through. If he told me that he's feeling what you're feeling, I'd immediately get him enrolled in a nearby university and get him home. There's nothing wrong with that! Talk to your family, don't suffer for no reason!

Anonymous said...

Mom, Dad

This is why you need to send your teens away for long extended periods of time. So they get used to being away from you.

to poster, it will get better in time- seek help and don't run home

Suki said...

Are you in my uni - even my class? This is practically everyone's story, and that makes it all the sadder. Well.. mine is different but let's not go there.
You need some help, now. Talk to your parents about how you're feeling, take some leave and go home for a while, let grades slip a little for a semester and spend some time with yourself. You're worth it. And being chubby is oftener than not adorable - take it from someone who sees so many people who look so cute and cuddly except for that dissatisfied expression on their faces.
Take care of yourself, don't give in to the depression. Get some help. We've all been through bad phases, and we all find our own ways to survive.

Issas Crazy World said...

I'm just an outsider and I have no medical background, so I won't even bother to try and tell you anything about that.

But I will say, if you can transfer to your home town and go home. If you are miserable and hate it there and you love your home and family, go home. It's not a failure to know that you belong closer to home. It's not a bad thing at all, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I went to school in my hometown, because honestly, I adore my family. You can finish your degree and find a job and do whatever you want to do, way easier if you feel supported. If it were me, or if you were one of my kids, I'd tell you the same to your mom and dad. Be honest. Tell them everything. My guess is, they'll want to help you figure it out and find a solution that works for you.

To Anon @ 9:55am...that is so not the point. Shipping teens off isn't helpful. Supporting them to become adults is. There is a difference between coddling them and teaching them to become responsible adults. Not all kids need to get away from their family to become worthwhile adults. If this poster has tried to make it work for three years, she now knows it isn't right for her.

Green said...

I'm 32 now, but when I first went away to college less than two days after my parents dropped me off I called and told them it was not the place for me.

I also never drink, and STILL have a very hard time with others who have a hard time with me not drinking. I simply won't go to bars anymore. There are a slew of other things you can do besides bar hopping.

You may want to talk to someone who runs an AA group on campus and ask them to give you some ideas of what they suggest to alcoholics regarding activities that don't involve drinking. Make friends with your local library? Go to the gym? Rent movies? Cook a fancy dish once a week on Fridays?

I don't think there's anything wrong with you loving your family and wanting to be near them. Some people have great parents and want to spend time with them. There's nothing wrong with that. Can your parents come up for a weekend? Or can you go home for a weekend? Thanksgiving is less than a month away - can you make it without a visit until then?

Can you ask them to up the care packages? Hang in there. Keep in mind that you need to build up your ability to do difficult things. It's important to do things that are hard, so when you're faced with other hard things you can tell yourself, "Shit, I got through four years away from home, so I can DEFINITELY get through a blah blah blah."

Here is what my mom would say to you if you said all this to her: You want to be a teacher. What would you say if a former student called you and said all this was going on with her?

Tiffi33 said...

as someone who does suffer from major depression, I think you are as well.
is it permanent?
prolly not..but it does bear talking to someone..meds if needed...
My depression first reared its head when I was 18 and moved 2000 miles away from was horrible..

don't wait as long as I did to get treatment of some kind..I waited till I was 25 and had 2 kids before I was it before then OK?

Deidre said...

Goodness - This was also me in college. The days of sitting around and watching "America's Next Top Model" and crying!

I'm not going to event try to give advice! However, it'll be two years since i graduated from college in May, I can say moving to a place I love has made a world of difference.

Lottifish said...

I wasn't a party person in college either. Never did the drug thing and was not (and am still not) a big drinker. Trust me there are others like you, it's just a matter of finding them. Try looking into some extracurricular activities at school, you can meet some really great people.

And remember that there is no shame in transferring to a University closer to home. Some people are just meant to be by their family :)

Wesley said...

I'm with everyone else, reading this brought back memories of being in college. It sucked. Just know that 90% of the people around you are in the same boat....the other 10% are drunk.

I'm praying for you, you'll get through this and graduate and never look back.

Kandee said...

Everyone, stop medicating this poor child! Holy cow. You wonder why the pharmaceutical companies are so powerful? They've got you all advertising their drugs.

Anyway, you are probably suffering from a society that talks more about the individual and less about the family, but you are experiencing, none-the-less, the side effects of being separated from your home nest before you're ready to fly.

Find a solution. It will probably involve your family. Leave home when you're ready, not when billboards, college recruiters, tv, and the neighbors tell you to.

You love your family. You miss your family. It's great to see that those emotional bonds still exist in a society so dead set on making people do things on their own. Your success will only be enhanced by doing it together with your family, and with their loving support, you'll soon see why it's silly to do it alone.


Dawn said...

I would also say go home and transfer to a university there.. I hated college. I too, was not a drinker or partier and that really made me feel left out. I just prefer to stay in and read or watch some tv. Now, I'm 33 and I'm much more social. I do like to have a drink and I feel that I came into my skin more. I also like to be close to home, and I don't think anything is wrong with that.
Trust your gut. There's nothing to be ashamed of here, you've stuck it out long enough.

H Oh said...

You are at a moment in life that is tough. Remember when you graduated from elementary school? That was a point in life when the world opened up so unbearably large it was almost to much to handle. But back then we had our comfort zone at home. We had a support group, which you so strongly miss. I look back on the past and see myself being 21 again and it sounds alot like your's only I was married with children. It may be a whole different story but it was entirely the same feeling. You are aloof and you have to find yourself, you have to learn how to stand tall and embrace that which we don't like to get to what we love. I have watched my niece go through this as well. She is coming around, she is becoming comfy with life. Hang in there chicky! Keep your head up and be strong! (((cyber hugs)))

Anonymous said...

I could have written this 3 years ago. Heck, even just 1.5 years ago. I moved out of state for college. I was always close with my family, but I was ready for the challenge, or so I thought. It's been 4 years since I moved away and I am finally happy and plan on staying here. But in those years of being homesick, I was also depressed. My university had given a whole speech about being helpful to homesick kids, etc, but when it came to depression, this top 20 university just didn't get it. I was asked to leave after 2 semesters of being too depressed to get out of bed and attend class (there was a successful year between each one). I am now 23, working full time as a nanny, and finishing my degree with Phoenix online. Being asked to leave was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was able to focus on getting the help I needed, even though, like you, I saw my dreams slipping away. I never imagined I wouldn't graduate college on time, but I never imagined being so depressed, either.

I don't have any advice for you, except maybe to take a break from school for a semester and focus on getting yourself to a manageable point. Maybe even going home for a little while if you need to (I was the type that wanted to be as far as possible from my hometown, but desperately missed my family).I just wanted to say I have been there and it WILL get better. I still struggle every single day, but I have not missed a single day of work in 13 months (I couldn't go a week without sleeping through classes). Keep your dream alive, but know it's ok to change and adjust your dream. There is no set path to reach your dreams. You never know what you'll find...

Steph said...

I ditto the first comment. Peace to you.

Amanda said...

I went through this exact same thing when I went away to school. I ended up going to counseling (all paid for by my college) and I was diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder and Anxiety/panic attacks. Going to that counselor helped me more than anything in the world. It took a lot for me to convince myself that it was okay to ask for help, but I finally did.

OHN said...

My middle son just started his first year away at college. His biggest worry was that he was going to be the only one that doesn't "party" on campus and he would have no social life.

He started going to the rec center and met others that had the same thoughts he did and has become good friends with several guys.

He also makes it home from school every 2 weeks or so and it does ALL of us so much good to reconnect. I don't know how far away you are from your family but if it is too far and you are miserable, there is NOTHING wrong with finding a school closer to home. In the long run, you need to be happy and if that is closer to home, then don't hesitate.

Anonymous said...

I know medication helped me but I recommend being sure that's what you want because getting off of them is worse than anything I ever experienced while depressed. Learning to ask for help is part of becoming a healthy adult. We all need it from time to time, and it is nice to know you have family to support you when you need it. Also, maybe some of the students who drink feel just as bad as you and are medicating themselves with alcohol. Good for you that you are aware how you feel, try not to put so much pressure to be perfect on yourself, even if it seems like other people in your family are.(they aren't, no one is, you probably seem perfect to someone else and look how you really feel-remember "keeping up the happy public face") It is ok to just be who you are and feelings aren't good or bad, only actions. My prayers are with you.