I think I’m ruining my life. I can’t figure out what my problem is and I can’t help but feel like I’m exaggerating the depth of it. I’m currently in medical school – in my 2nd year. I’m supposed to be in the third but I failed my very first year. It’s been like cycle, everything is repeating itself all over again. I can’t explain why I failed my first year. I didn’t fail any exams – I just didn’t go. I kept lying to everyone about it. Summer came and I had to fess up. My dad wanted me to pull out but I insisted on going back because I knew I didn’t fail for the reasons he thought I did. It wasn’t because I couldn’t handle the workload – I just never tried. I gave up in an instant. No one forced me into medical school – I’m here on my own accord.
My 2nd trie at 1st year didn’t go any smoothly. The same cycle repeated itself. I locked myself away from the world, ran away from my problems by watching K-dramas but I had friends to help me out. My family helped me out too. Now, I’m in my 2nd year, about to take a major exam and I’m screwing it up all over again. This year went well to be honest. I made friends, didn’t lock myself out and worked hard (but not to the fullest because I am lazy!) But exam is here and ipdespite having friends who are trying to help me out, I’m falling back into the same cycle. I’m locking them out, lying through my teeth, not going to my exams. My parents have no idea because I lied that I was already done with my exams. I wasn’t always like this. I knew how to motivate myself. I wasn’t always this helpless or childish. Out of three kids, I’m the level headed one. My friends have given up and I’m scared. Why can’t I stop lying? Why can’t I stop panicking? Why can’t I get my shit together? Why do I keep looking for excuses to justify my stupidity. Why am I single-handedly ruining my life? Why do I feel like I’m blowing things out of proportion. Maybe I’m just scared of failing. I’m tired of not being able to figure myself out when I figure people out easily.
Your letter indicates that you judge yourself harshly. Within the contents of a few short paragraphs you called yourself an exaggerator, a liar and someone who was helpless and childish. You also seem to consider yourself a failure because you can’t solve your own problems.
That type of thinking is consistent with people who are depressed and who harbor unrealistic expectations of themselves. Humans are not born with innate problem-solving knowledge. That type of knowledge is learned. Sometimes it is learned from a good mentor or from our parents or caregivers. For those wanting that knowledge, counseling could help. You are the perfect candidate for counseling.
It’s important to stop being so hard on yourself. That kind of attitude has the potential to prevent you from seeking therapeutic help. It is the same kind of attitude that prevails among many in our culture. Seeking mental health treatment is nothing to be ashamed of. Counseling can be immensely empowering and it can change your life for the better. I would recommend trying cognitive behavioral therapy. It is evidence-based and problem-solving oriented. It targets both thinking and behavior. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle