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Other Need advice (long read)

  1. Feb 25, 2017 #1

    I posted here because I needed some advice from people who are doing better or have experience. So, I am 21 and enrolled in a computer/electrical engineering and computer science program. My first semester wasn’t good. I only passed 1/3 subjects, I studied only two days before the exams. Mainly because, I feel I had serious depression/distraction and was paralyzed with the reality of my life, I think I wanted to keep living in a dream world because the reality (or real life) is too harsh or too bad. I’ve seen this in others and maybe it’s a self defense mechanism or something, either way the cost of ignoring it is greater than dealing with it.

    I have lost one parent 7 years ago, and soon after my father became disabled and had severe health issues too. He was not able to work since then and is now medically retired. In the meantime I finished high school late as I did not attend for some time (finished at 19) due to some reasons which don't even make sense now (!), in between all this I had a bad relationship which I allowed to affect me to the extent that left me very sad and depressed, along with my normal level of sadness and doom (I had no idea what the future held and never made any plans :/)

    . After that I enrolled in a economics program for 1 semester where I had some kind of severe depression/break from reality again, and I ended up locking myself away for the majority of the time I was there. In fact it was so bad one girl who I sat next to even shouted it out loud “you enjoyed your break locked up in your room”. >:-/. I wanted to develop new economic theories but I realized they are mostly the workings/playthings of bored mathematicians (my opinion) and have little to do with reality (except behavioral economics which is leading the field in new and towards reality). I failed the subject financial accounting there.

    Then at the nagging of my parent who never liked my subject choice anyway I went into my current major. In between this change I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I failed most of the subjects except maths in the first semester. I really started enjoying maths and logic when I started university doing economics, but never really made a dent in the studies of these subjects, except learning a little bit these past 6 months. Sometimes I am very unstable and the girl I had relationship calls me schizophrenic. I stopped taking any medicines since about 3-4 months ago as they were making things worse. I don’t know if I am bipolar but the medicines I will not take, I started self medicating and smoking to get away from my life too I guess.

    Anyway, now my parent’s health is even worse than ever, as confirmed by a medical report, and it was so bad that I was just stunned and silent, trying to reassure him somewhat. I had to leave my parent to study in another town/city, and I cannot do anything to help improve his health. So again I wanted to self destruct (I guess) and stopped studying in the first semester and started reading up on irrelevant things and staying locked up again. None of it helped anyway whatsoever. In fact, I remember wanting to change to pure math, which is ridiculous considering how unprepared and terrible I am at studying for most things. I know the pace and rigour would be too much. So, I am going to the new semester, and with the help of some friends who convinced me I must have a valid plan.

    I think I should keep going forward and finish my degree here, then get a job, work a few years, and then if I have still have the passion go into maths or logic again. My question to you, what do you think? I believe I can work hard and finish/pass the exams, but I don’t know if I am lying to myself again or clinging to a false reality again. I want to succeed because I don’t see myself as having any other choice (what else will I do but a minimum wage job?). I will only plan for each semester and not look too far ahead, first passing the subjects.

    Do you, as someone who can check my profile too, see me as someone who can do it? Or am I lying to myself again and ignoring reality like I have been for the majority of my life.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2017 #2
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  4. Feb 25, 2017 #3
    I dont know. I always feel out of place :sorry:. Do you have any better advice?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  5. Feb 25, 2017 #4


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    Education Advisor

    In my experience, changing plans but not changing behavior rarely leads to any meaningful outcomes. I'm not a doctor or remotely qualified to help you in anyway, but I do offer this advice. It seems like you have a cycle of depression that keeps you from fulfilling your obligations as a student. Until you learn to manage this, through whatever means necessary, you are more than likely going to see the same meager results, regardless of what you do in life.
  6. Feb 27, 2017 #5
    Thank you. I think, part of the problem for me is that I have no idea about what to do for my father . I should've never left his side, but I didn't get into the universities here. He said he will not accept me leaving university.

    I made a load of mistakes along he way and didn't know any better. I will figure something out, even though it is very painful.

    Thank you for your help.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  7. Feb 27, 2017 #6


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    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    You've got a lot on your plate, Logical Dog. University is tough for people that are completely healthy and have a strong family or social support network.

    With respect to your father, I understand completely the need to be close to someone you love who is struggling with health issues. If you haven't already, I recommend making some specific time to talk with your father directly about this. You need to come up with a plan for how you're going to deal with whatever it is that he's facing and your role in how you will support him. Often one of the greatest concerns people face when they have health issues is that of being a burden on their loved ones, particularly if they're used to playing a caregiver role. That plan can include you being away at school, but it's important that you take the time to both verbalize your feelings on that. Without a plan, you'll constantly be questioning your role and whether you're making the right choice. With a plan, everything won't be perfect, but you'll at least have established some parameters for moving forward with this challenge.

    With respect to your own health, go to a doctor and get professional advice. If your medication is not working, you need to go back and work with your healthcare team to figure out how to make it work. Self medicating, or turning to other potentially harmful alternatives will not lead anywhere good. If you're struggling with depression while you're in school, what's going to happen is that you'll probably do okay until you hit that first major challenge - you'll have a week with multiple assignments due, a handful of mid-terms, and some other stressful event and the wheels will fall off your wagon. It's okay to take a break from your education to get yourself into the most healthy state that you can, and then return.

    With respect to not seeing yourself as having any other choice, it's critically important to recognize that life is NOT limited to getting a university degree or working at McDonalds. There are plenty of careers (or at least jobs) out there that pay more than minimum wage that don't require you to invest four years of your life into a university education. There's nothing wrong with working for a few years at construction, or doing sales, or physical labour while you get things in order for your education. In fact, for some people, this can help them to mature a little, build up some savings, and find more direction for when they do spend the big bucks, and ultimately come out ahead.
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