Sorta spiraling a bit

This post is largely just going to be a rant and also largely to help me organize my thoughts and clarify what my current problem is. That said, advice is very much welcome. (Also, just a heads up, they’ll be some mild cursing in this post, hopefully that doesn’t bother anyone and sorry if it does).

I’m a junior in university and my fall semester just started 2 days ago (on the 14th) remotely. I feel like a complete failure right now. I haven’t done any homework. I mean literally, I’ve been going to my zoom lectures (well, actually I missed one because I forgot about it, but other than that I’ve made it to all of them) but I just haven’t been doing any of the homework. I haven’t even looked at it. I know I have homework I need to do and required course materials I still haven’t bought but I just can’t get myself to do it. I feel like I got so adjusted to vacation that I’m having a hard time getting back into the routine of the academic year and an even harder time since everything is remote and I’ve always struggled with remote learning.

Something I’ve known about myself for awhile is that my productivity and the degree to which I seem to have my shit together varies from week to week and from day to day. For example, in the couple days leading up to the semester starting, I felt like I was doing good, staying on top of things. Now, I can barely get out of bed in time to log on to morning lectures and I’m not doing any homework. So maybe I’ll “snap out of it” soon and have a couple days or a week of high productivity. But I know another bad week will follow that one. It feels like I can never stabilize into a long term sustainable routine of productivity, just bursts that last 3 or 4 days at most, and I feel like that means I’ll get no where in life.

I really feel like I’m not going to graduate. I’ve had this sorta sinking feeling for the past year or so that it just won’t work for me and I’ll never finish this fucking degree. I did the first 2 years worth of credit at community college, which was a lot easier than university. I transferred to university last semester and barely passed my classes and over the summer I reworked my degree plan in such a way that extends it by a semester, so while this was supposed to be the second semester of my junior year it’s now my first semester of my junior year. It seems like every semester there’s a class I drop because it’s too hard and looking at some of the required classes I still have to pass to get my degree, I just don’t know if I can do it. I’m a math major so a lot of the classes are upper level mathematics courses and tend to be really difficult. I feel like there’s a certain aspect of imposter syndrome to it as well, but I don’t think it even is imposter syndrome since I really don’t think it’s just in my head. All the other students in the major seem to be smarter than me. Other students talk about easily getting As in courses I struggled to get a C in. Plus, what I want to do with my degree seems to change month to month and sometimes even week to week. Long term goals are impossible for me to form, so I barely even know what I’m getting this degree for. I started taking community college classes at 14 and got my associates at 17. There was a time when I thought I’d have a bachelor’s at 19 (I’m 18 right now). Now my degree plan says I’ll get it at 20, but when I see all the classes I’ll probably have to retake or drop or put off, I feel like I’m just never going to get it.

My family thinks highly of me. They talk about how impressive it is that I started college early and I’m getting a math major and I know that they’ll love me no matter what, they’re really quite supportive, but I’m afraid of that pride just sorta draining away slowly. I feel like they’re just going to watch my continue to stretch out my degree plan further and further and never be able to move on with my life and eventually I’ll have to drop out and admit that adult life just isn’t something I can handle. I really don’t want to admit to myself or my family or my friends that I failed out of university, but I feel like that’s where I’m heading.

I’m also not sleeping well. I’ve had insomnia for years without realizing it and finally made an appointment to talk to my doc about it over the summer. We talked mainly about lifestyle changes I can make to sleep better and we also adjusted my stimulant meds a bit (I take my afternoon dose sooner now and my morning dose was switched to slow release with a slightly higher dose). We have a one month follow up scheduled for September 14th where she said if it seemed the lifestyle changes weren’t effective enough on their own, we’d talk about some pharmaceutical solutions. I really feel like I need that, but I also feel like my insomnia is my own fault because I haven’t been maintaining the lifestyle changes she recommended, which had been daily exercise, healthy diet, and a more consistent sleep schedule. It takes me hours to fall asleep each night and because of morning classes I’m getting maybe 5 hours of sleep a night. I’m exhausted and more hyperactive all day because of my insomnia. I don’t know if I can wait until the 14th the follow up appointment. When I do finally have the follow up, I think I’m going to more strongly emphasize that I think I need some pharmaceutical help sleeping, I’ll probably start with something over the counter like melatonin, but I’ll talk to my doctor about that.

Okay, now that I’ve sufficiently ranted about my problems, here’s what I’m currently at least planning to do about it:

  1. Get back into using my bullet journal. I haven’t used it in a couple days and it’s still the best system I’ve found that works for me.
  2. Go for morning runs. Jogging is the form of exercise I find I can stick to the best and it helps with my focus and my sleep. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to try getting back into it, even if it’s not every day and even if sometimes it’s just a 5 minute run around the block.
  3. I’m going to try completing 2 homework assignments today. No matter how small, I really need to at least START doing some of my homework, and 2 assignments seems like a good place to start.
  4. I’m going to take a shower. For me, the more I spiral the less I practice good hygiene. I haven’t showered in a couple days, so I should do that today.
  5. I’m really going to more seriously look at CBT and probably bring it up with my parents. I’ve been thinking about starting it for awhile but putting it off for awhile, I think it’s getting increasingly clear I could really benefit from it.

So yeah, I have a plan and hopefully I’ll make progress, but I still feel like I’m falling apart. My entire university experience feels like it can be summarized with the phrase “one step forward, two steps back” and the bullet points above just feel like the one step forward part. But anyway, thanks for letting me rant, it really does help me. Also, best of luck to anyone else whose struggling.

EDIT: Felt like posting an update. I’m doing better since posting this. I’ve gotten out of that downward spiral and while I still don’t feel like I’m totally on top of things, I’m taking steps in the right direction. I’ve been able to start working on my homework and doing some studying; while I’m still procrastinating and getting things in at the last second, at least I’m getting most of them in now. I also dropped down to part time (3 classes instead of 4) so that made my schedule a bit more manageable. I’ve also had a couple consultation sessions with ADHD coaches and am going to set up regular sessions with the coach I found most helpful.

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Your “bullet points” . . .

  1. :+1:
  2. :+1:
  3. :+1:
  4. :+1:
  5. :question:

Why “:question:” for 5. - Based on my experience with CBT . . . If you have trouble doing homework . . . You’ll have trouble with the in-between sessions’ homework assignments. I wonder if finding a good ADHD Coach might not be a better choice . . . (?)

Q: Aside from school, have you ever worked a regular paying job?

My son struggled to complete college. Took 3 schools over 7 years. Finally he did graduate. During the interludes he worked, “computer guy” (helping “Dummies” with basic stuff) and landscaping work (hard labor). It took him time . . . And non-academic experience (i.e. work) . . . to finally figure out what he wanted to study. Not earth science (1st school) and not political science (2nd school). He was good with computers and so he decided to enroll in a school where he majored in computer engineering. After graduation he took a job in electrical engineering. Hands-on . . . in the field . . . not behind a desk . . . no committees and minimal meetings . . .

He has been doing this now for close to 20 years, successfully.

Now his journey was right for him. He did it his way, which took awhile . . . But he discovered things about himself along the way that enabled him to figure it all out

And perhaps key to his success was finding what excited him . . . and therefore what motivated him.

So I’ll stop preaching like a grandfather (which I am) and leave you to consider some of my ideas.

Thanks for “listening”!

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Thanks so much for the response and I’m glad your son found a path that worked for him. I don’t have any work experience but am hoping to get some during my next break from school or if I end up taking this semester off (I still have a couple weeks to drop my classes with a refund, until the end of add/drop). Also, thanks for the advice on CBT, I don’t really know the difference but will look into it if I decide to pursue any sort of psychological support like an ADHD coach or therapist.

Thanks again!

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Your most welcome😎

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Have you ever been diagnosed with depression? Because what I am reading reminds me a lot of how I get whenever I get into on of my dips. Especially the not showering thing and having a hard time getting out of bed, as well as the not being able to do homework part. If you haven’t I think that this is definitly bring it up on the 14th to your doctor, as it is treatable and putting you on some anti-depressants should really help you out.

As for your insomnia, I have it to. I think it is tied both to my depression and my ADHD. I am currently on an upswing so I have an easier time with sleeping, but I still take medication for it. Have been taking it since I was 14 and been through a bunch of different types, and I am currently using Melatonin which is a natural medicine based on the hormone in the body and simply helps you to relax and fall asleep (so it is not one of those “sleeping pills” that kind of “forces” your body to sleep, instead it simply helps the natural processes along). Though I would love to recommend it, it is insanely expensive already here in Sweden so I don’t know how it looks like in the U.S - I guess it depends on the insurance provider. But if you find it interesting you should definitly look into it with your doc as it is really good.

Your points are super good, but hard to do I imagine. So try to find an accountability buddy that is extremely good at being on your case - preferably someone you can get irritated at and shout and still not lose that relationship, so maybe a family member. It is not shameful to have your parents to still tell you to do your homework or to go take a shower. It would help and it sounds like they love you so I am sure they will be more than happy to help you out. Also, tell them about your fears and how your struggling. It is important to build a supportsystem, but that system is pretty useless if it doesn’t know how to help you out.

Best of luck and well wishes from Sweden.

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Absolutely . . .

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Since you left a very helpful reply, I felt like replying with an update.

I am doing better now. I’ve started getting my homework assignments in and thankfully didn’t end up missing any major ones during my week or so of not being able to get much of anything done. I considered taking the semester off in order to try working, but ultimately since full time work and internships are hard to find right now, I decided to instead drop down to being a part time student to make the course load more manageable. If I get to a place where I feel like I’ve got my class work under control and have some extra time, I also might want to try working as a tutor this semester part time (tutoring is probably one of the few jobs that are actually much easier to find in the age of covid, since there’s now a big market for working remotely as a tutor with K-12 aged students).

I also have started ADHD coaching. Or at least I’m about to start it. I’ve met with 2 different coaches for 30 minute information sessions and felt I quite liked the second one, so am going to set up weekly half hour sessions with her, which can change in frequency or length depending on what we find is most helpful.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply, stay safe.

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Glad to hear you are doing better . . .

:+1::+1::+1::+1::+1::+1::+1::+1::+1:

You’re very welcome! And you too stay safe . . .

Look forward to hearing from you in the future . . . Whether it be The Good, The Bad, or The Ugly! :sunglasses:

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