The in-between after the bad days and before the good days

Hi, I’m A.

I’m 20 years old and have just finished my 1st year of a new study. And it’s great! I like what I’m learning and the people around me are awesome! I even got to move out and experience that side of growing up!


Before I started this study, I had a tough time getting through middle school/high school (I’m from the Netherlands, so the system is different here). I got diagnosed with dysthymia, social anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder over the years and had a few rounds of therapy. It wasn’t great but I was young and naive and didn’t want to understand what was happening or why I would want to accept that. Now that I’m older I know and understand a little bit better. But I also know and understand that I am still not getting better. Definitely not as good as I would like to be.
Before I started this study, I took a gap year and worked a lot. I also went back into therapy to sort things out after school had ended and all my school-related problems were easier to work on. This didn’t go as planned and ended with my therapist saying my problems were too big/tough to work on from the plan we had agreed on. Sucked for me, but that was it.
I felt bad for a while, but decided to look onto the new year that was ahead of me and went in fresh into the new study. And it was great. Until it wasn’t anymore. Because I had never noticed how perfectionistic I was or how badly I feared failing in anything, but it was bad. Anything below really good was bad for me. And that sucked even harder because I chose the hardest course but really wanted to continue learning. I made it, though. With good enough grades and enough points to be able to continue the study. So yay, me!
But this year I realized that there is still so much I can’t handle. During the gap year I was fine. But this was because I had the time and space to deal with things in my own time. I had a lot of free time and my work was no problem to me. But this schoolyear was different. I worked through a lot of stress and found out I still have a really bad self-image. I wouldn’t say I hate myself, but it’s close to that. Luckily, I got a lot of help from my studycoach and available help from school (school-psychologists and school-deans). But everytime I had a good conversation with someone, I would get stuck on the fact that they all recommended professional help to me and every positive thing they said would feel like a lie in my mind. “You should be proud of how you’re doing” frustrated me almost enough to start crying in that office.

And I realized that those are reasons to get help. And I’ve asked ‘professionals’ at school how to get help. And I do want help…
But I’ve been there and done that. And I also don’t want to go through it again. Last times, it felt like they didn’t listen to me. Especially when the problem turned out to be something else. And I realized that one of my biggest problems is continuing the progress I’m making. Because starting something is easy. It’s the steps after that I need help with. So that would mean longer periods of help. But I’m not sure if that can be arranged if it is not a serious mental illness. And I just…

It is a lot of smaller problems that become one big problem. Not being able to deal with stress, bad self-esteem/-image, social anxiety, general anxiety, big up’s and down’s that really take a toll on me, being too scared to trust anyone, getting these almost obsessive motivations to do something only to stop doing them and never doing them again after a short while. It sucks. And I just don’t know how to get help. What do I ask for? How do I make clear what exactly is happening if it is a lot?
Mom’s saying it is who I am, but I would hate to have to live with this much stress and anxiety forever. So yeah, help would be nice but how? Help?

hi friend,
thanks so much for posting. this is a really tough situation. first of all, I want you to know that you aren’t alone. you’re dealing with a lot and it seems like you’re putting a lot of stress on yourself and it seems like you can’t help it? maybe I’m wrong, but it does sound like you are putting more pressure on yourself than you need to.
maybe you could figure out a system that works best for you so that you’re getting your work done but also giving yourself time to breathe and heal. maybe set specific times during the day for work and studying, then set goals for yourself to relax. if you don’t relax and rest, you won’t work up to what you want because your mind is tired and your body is tired. you deserve to give yourself some time to heal while juggling all of this.
I would also encourage you to please just keep posting. share whatever is on your mind. feel free to join our discord and stop by our streams! we would love to have you there and support you whenever you need it: )
maybe getting a tutor would be good for you? maybe they could help you and give you tips on how to juggle your school work. or talk to your teachers?
I also wanna encourage you to try writing what you’re feeling and thinking down on paper. sometimes when you write stuff down then reread it, you kinda get clarity from it and see what’s really going on. it’s also a great way to clear your head.
we are here for you friend. I hope you find encouragement here and feel welcome: ) you are heard and seen here, and we care about you. I’m sorry you’re going through this and you don’t have to deal with it alone. please keep coming back and sharing: )
stay strong

1 Like

Thank you for posting and sharing what’s going on. I can really relate to what you shared. I’ve been diagnosed with dysthymia, general anxiety and OCD. I think it’s awesome that your looking to better things for yourself while in school. I didn’t address my health while in college and it impacted me negatively. As an adult I tried counseling a few times and to be honest I had to switch counslors a few times to find one that I felt understood who I was and the issues I was trying to work through. It’s a bummer to hear folks tell you “you should be proud of how you’re doing”. I’ve heard that before and for me I always felt like it was also a lie or something they said to be nice. The counslor I’ve started going to recently helped put things in a better view for me personally. It’s like I have to look at things in my life that I feel I’m not doing good enough in a different way, basically I look at the situation as if I’m looking at someone else’s life. I’m really patient with other people and very understanding but when it comes to myself, I have no patients and generally don’t like myself. But by looking at the situation as if it’s someone else I’m better able to see the success in things and the hurdles of the situations then if I look at myself not being good enough. In looking back at that explanation I don’t know how much sense that makes as it’s a bit cumbersome but it’s something that has helped me, as I’m very much a work in progress still. As I type this I’m trying to look at a work event I held this morning that didn’t go good enough for me but find the success of it and taking time to better understand the things I can and can’t control of that particular situaiton.

Also if it’s at all helpful, I know for me if I get tired and run down my dysthymia gets really magnified and intense. I’ve learned recently that I really need to take care of myself to give things in my life 100% of who I am. Sometimes it requires me to not doing something I had planned on doing for my career and taking a few minutes to go for a run or something to help get the dysthymia down.