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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, as you can tell I could do with some advice as I don't know who else to turn to.

So recently I've felt like I'm on the verge of a breakdown and I'm struggling to find a way to overcome what I'm feeling. I'm crying multiple times a day over virtually nothing, I have a lot of things on my plate and one of the worst things is obsessive thoughts over death I can't control.

The obsessive thoughts over death and what is after terrify me, it was like one day I really started to think about it and I guess anxiety took hold and hasn't let go. I can't control the thoughts or accept them, and it really stops me from doing anything.

I dread the thought of going back to college as I know the stress and amount of work might just break me. Along with the stress of general college work and exams looming ahead, I have to take a lot of time off for hospital appointments due to some health problems which cause me pain everyday. The pain also means I can no longer participate in any of my hobbies as I can no longer exercise or do anything more than a short amount of walking. The time off means I struggle to catch up a lot of the time which lends to even more stress.

I travel over 2 hours on public transport to get to college so I rarely have time once I'm home to then do anything but work. I think it's really taking a toll on me and everything is just building up. I've tried to take up a few hobbies but again I just don't have time and they tend to be just a fleeting obsession.

I confide in my boyfriend a lot and he's very supportive but he's at a loss of what else he can do for me. He means the world to me but it seems ever since we've been dating I've been overly emotional and sensitive. I can see I'm too dependant on him and when I'm alone I feel frozen, like I can't get on with my own life and goals. It infuriates me that I can see this but can't seem to overcome it.

I am having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for depression/anxiety/panic disorder as well right now but that's coming to an end and it hasn't helped me one ounce. My therapist is quite incompetent and I just don't think the therapy suits me.

In summary, I just don't know who else to turn to. If I speak with my doctor again they will just refer me and that will take months to finally get an appointment; besides, I rarely have the time to visit a therapist and have to have phone call appointments instead. I've been considering speaking to a trusted teacher as the college counsellor has been quite patronising to me in the past and dismissed my worries.

Has anyone experienced something similar? I could just do with some advice.
 

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Everything comes to an end sooner or later. How is one expected to enjoy a movie when you know two hours from the start it'll all be over?

This goes for everything: Good food, great sex, sunny days, starry nights...

One exception: Chain smoking. Because when one cigarette runs out, you simply light another. The fun never ends.
 

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2 hours on public transport=audiobooks. Engage that brain so it doesn't go feral.

Maybe there's nothing really wrong with you, and what's wrong is we live in a world that isn't aware of death. If people were, they wouldn't act the way they do. So what's really bothering you is not death, but the lies upon lies denying it. Your sense of being out of step with everybody else.

If ignorance is bliss, that bliss won't be available to some of us. So figure out how to get bliss without ignorance. Stop pushing death out of your mind, and start staring it down. Stop running away, and confront it.

One way to do that is to find something in your life that you think makes up for the fact that much of it involves suffering and then you die. You need something you can say, "but this makes it worth all the shit and the sadness." You're still young, so you're not behind schedule or anything. Once you know what you're looking for, you'll have a better chance of finding it. When you're young, your hobbies should be fleeting! That just means you're trying a variety of things. They can't all work out.

However, I still have nightmares I'm not keeping up with my university classes. (The nightmares are usually as a student, and I used to teach them.) It's a kind of stress that's so intense, it will give you nightmares decades later. So that's not so abnormal either. You may be fixating on the existential as a defense against that overwhelming stress. Thinking about death may be somehow preferable to thinking about the upcoming test. At least if you die, you never get to find out you really suck at something you wish you were good at.

University really sucks for doing this to humans. Maybe you would improve your state of mind by breaking your schedule into manageable chunks and sticking to it. Each little shot of satisfaction you get by doing what you set out to do will be a reassurance that you're not some kind of freak accident who can't cope. That's what you sound like you think you are, and it just sounds to me like you can't cope in ignorance. That's a good thing. It means you're awake. If you've got that, you have your whole life to work out the details.
 

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Thank you for the advice, it's nice to know I'm probably not crazy. I'm just hoping it will pass and perhaps it will once I'm back into a routine. I do tend to take a book with me when travelling but maybe I'll consider audiobooks for when I'm tired.
 
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Yes, life sucks, and we suffer and die, and if we stop and think about how much MORE others are suffering. . . . I know, but I've learned to just focus on what's in front of me and what I can actually do.

Sometimes I have morbid or negative thoughts that everything is pointless or hopeless. But I know that these thoughts will only make me feel worse, and I'll have to work really hard to pull myself out of the abyss. I'm lazy and don't want to work so hard, so I tell myself, "Yes, it's true, everything is terrible and scary, but let's not go there." Then I DO something. You say you don't really have time for hobbies. Maybe you can find distractions that aren't really "hobbies," like cooking, or talking about the weather to some handy acquaintance. Try to do something a bit different from time to time so you're not always operating on automatic.

But don't overload yourself. As Ti doms we need time to think, to just sit with a coffee and stare at the wall. Respect this part of you, but encourage your brain to think about better stuff. It will take practice, so be patient with yourself if you seem to be taking a long time to figure out how. Try a variety of things until you find what works.

Our ability to think ahead and see possibilities (including bad ones) can be used as a tool rather than something to torture us. For example, if you think university is going to break you, figure out what the worst parts are and try to avoid them. If you can't cope with essay writing or memorization or large classes or computer work, avoid those things as much as you can, and use your energy for things that suit you better. If you tend to get depressed in the winter, see if you can take fewer classes in winter, or take easier classes in the winter and save the hard work for fall semester. Not all of these options will be available to you, but you get the idea.

I was 30 when I realized I was really going to die someday. I was lying in bed at the time, and I tried to hide from the truth by pulling the covers over my head! No escape. It had the opposite effect on me from what you're going through: Since that happened, I accept that I'll die, and it's okay. Maybe you're just too young to be looking at this. If you're college age you should still be feeling invincible. So it's a big conflict.

You have real challenges such as physical pain and having to take time off because of it. You need to be realistic about your abilities. For example, can you go to school part-time? Should you be following some other career path altogether (maybe one that doesn't require a college education)? You might think that you have to go to college or that other students never have problems. Or maybe it's your parents who are putting pressure on you. If so, maybe you need to confront your parents.

However, if you want to continue in college, maybe you can make some adjustments, as suggested in a previous paragraph.

For what it's worth, I never have nightmares about my student days. But I agree with @Eryngo that it helps to break things down into manageable chunks and to buoy yourself up with small satisfactions and accomplishments.

I don't know what it's like to live with pain, but my boyfriend has chronic pain and has let himself become a very negative thinker in some ways. I wish I could just shake him and say "don't go there!" But I admit that when I was younger I was really miserable too. Most of it was because of conflicts, e.g., reality not meeting expectations. For example, I had a child but didn't want to be a mother. There didn't seem to be any realistic or moral way of reconciling my reality and my desires. In your case, yo might not be able to get rid of the pain, but you might be able to adjust your lifestyle, the demands of college, etc.

This was long, but I hope you find some useful or hopeful tidbit in there.
 

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@TheGrandDesign.
I'd also like to recommend as @DarkBarlow says it.
"Everything comes to an end sooner or later" or as I usually say it "Times change"
Problems disappear ever so slowly. Death is far away and won't come to you before you're ready for it.


Now to actually give some useful advice, something I've experienced works always and on everyone going through hell.

Remember you're not alone, confide, confess, conquer with company. Nobody ever did anything alone
Einstein had a wife and an ocean of fellow scientists
Napolean had armies, france and practically western europe.
Mr. Curie(praise the gods) had Madam Curie.

In my country we have two very useful idioms which goes something like this
"for every hour the gods work, they rest twice"
When you're hard at work(especially in regards to university) you have to rest and rejuvenate your minds, because what you're learning is what in previous times could be considered the work of gods.

The other idiom is
"To live is never enough, one must experience the sunshine, the freedom and the little flowers"
I guess, you'll need to rest and enjoy yourself for a bit before you go out and beat the world single handedly.
I've had to do this too, a lot as well. Especially before university, as I had to let go of a lot of built up tension.
 

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The only thing I want to add is that you might want to seriously consider dropping out of college. Even if you really don't want to, put it on the table and seriously consider it. Make plans for what you would do and what would happen if you decided you really couldn't take it anymore. Don't think it would be the end of the world, because it really isn't, plenty of people drop out and are doing just fine (I dropped out while getting my master's degree myself).

Once you are comfortable with the idea that quitting wouldn't be the end of the world, that it is a viable alternative if you really can't keep up anymore, it takes away a lot of the stress of having to keep up. Staying in college becomes a choice instead of a responsibility.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@islandlight Thank you for the advice, there were many helpful bits and I've realised I should probably stop working myself so hard and perhaps that will ease the stress a little.

@Jonn Thank you, it's nice to be reminded that I can confide in people and seek some support from those I know.

@Pifanjr I did consider it briefly but considering I only have six months left I might as well keep going. It was my first day back after winter break today and it wasn't so bad, but if I find I'm still not coping I think I'll keep it in mind. Thank you!
 
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Lots of good comments above. I see where you said you only have six months of school left. I know six months seems like a long time when you are facing it down, but if you can stick it out, you will be past that. As long as you are not stressing because you're having doubts about what you are majoring in, because that could continue then after school.

I'm sure I'm saying things you've heard before but as for death. We all die, but if we concern ourselves with it we let it rob us of living. I used to think that there was nothing after death, and I determined not to worry about it. Well, since I came to know God, I have a different view, but that is another subject.

As for worry, it accomplishes nothing. You can only do your best in something, and after that what else can you do? And your best will change from day to day. 100% of effort one day, may not be as productive as 100% of effort another day. There is a book you may want to read called The Four Agreements. It's not long, and makes a lot of sense on how we relate to the world and what we expect from ourselves.

Big picture. Don't be too hard on yourself. I think most of us have hit some tough times in our lives where we feel like you do. Wish you the best.
 

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@srgwriter Thank you so much, I am doing Physics and I am very happy with it, it's mostly just the amount of work. But as you said, six months isn't too long and hopefully I should be able to stick it out. Thanks for the book recommendation too, I'll check it out.
 

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I think I'm experiencing the same problems as you. I feel like I'm on the edge every single day, and I just can't seem to relax or do what I really want. I can't talk to anybody either because I'm uncomfortable disclosing my problems with others. Meanwhile, I have to keep up with my studies because I might be placed on academic probation next year. I also haven't paid my tuition fee yet, so I'm currently on financial hold.

However, even though I feel like I'm drowning and sometimes I don't want to wake up because I'm going to have to go through my troubles again, I still force myself to look forward to something exciting. To be honest, I've recently become apathetic to all my previous hobbies and interests, so it's difficult to find passion, but I try to be open to new experiences. Also, when it's too overwhelming for me, I try to just live for the day or for the next hour. I try not to think about any future events and just focus on what's happening now and what I'll be doing in this whole 60 minutes. Then, I give myself a break and just listen to my favorite music. I usually focus on my breathing and think about the lyrics of the song or the instruments that the musicians use. I try to give my full attention to other things, and not about my problems. To do this, I reason with myself that thinking about my worries won't solve them. For example, I mentally tell myself that I can worry about them later, but for now, I just want to take a break and calm myself (it's like I'm procrastinating about my worries).

There are times when I would just cry myself to sleep, but I feel good afterwards because I somehow feel less tense. Anyway, I know it's not easy to go through your hardships right now, but hey, you have this forum to vent and release whatever is troubling you. As an added bonus, you would also have other people replying to you and communicating with you. You're not a terrible person for having anxiety or dealing with obsessive thoughts. You just have to be really patient with yourself. Give yourself some time to cry and worry, and then take a break. Allow yourself to find other things to think about that won't make you feel scared or worried. If you think you need to work on something, then go ahead and fix it. Brainstorm solutions that could help you solve it. Don't let your panic catch you first and then go into an anxiety death-spiral.
 
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