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Dr John B
Dr John B , Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 557
Experience:  PhD in Clinical Psychology, registered clinical psychologist.
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I failed my first year college. I never wanted to go to college

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I failed my first year college. I never wanted to go to college but my parents made me. I wanted to join the army. Now i am repeating my year with this unbearable pressure of doing well. I have thought of suicide as well but I just feel that's cowardly. I guess my main problem is I give up easily. And even though I try to improve, eventually I just go back to the way I was which is most of the time being lazy. I really want to do well but I just can't concentrate on studies. I have an attention span of a 5 yr old and I can remember things that happened 10 yrs back but not what I read yesterday. I think I need help but I don't know what anyone else can do for me.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr John B replied 4 years ago.


I'm very sorry to hear of the situation. Suicidal ideation, memory disturbance and poor concentration are all classic symptoms of Depression and it sounds very much like you may have Developed a degree of the illness. What has your mood been like? How is your sleep cycle? Are you more tearful than usual? Are you enjoying the things you usually enjoy (hobbies, leisure activities, etc)? How have your energy levels been?

After you respond to these questions I'll advice you on how to proceed.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
My mood has mostly been 'what the **** am i doing with my life' kind of mood. When I am not in lectures, i am locked in my room with the blinds drawn, on my computer surfing the net. I go to sleep any time after 1am and wake up after 9am. Am i more tearful than usual? No. I do feel sad sometimes. Sad about my life in general and how I wasn't able to do what I wanted to, sad about letting my parents down and most of the time i feel like a loser and a failure. I used to have a lot of hobbies before joining college. I used to play lots of sports and I was enthusiastic about trying new things. Since I joined the university, i left the activities i joined midway because I just couldn't bother getting out of my room and I just felt plain lazy. I should also mention I am an international student, so i have this notion in my head that no one likes me. For eg. i took up jiujitsu as an extra curricular activity and I was always the last one to get a partner. Most of the times, I would be left alone and one of the instructors had to pair up with me. In studies, when we sometimes work in a group, no one bothers to know my opinion or even acknowledge my presence there. So whether in lectures or in the activities, I always felt that i was unwanted and repulsive.
Expert:  Dr John B replied 4 years ago.

Ok, thanks for the information.

It just so happens that I treat international students as a specialty (at last count I've worked with students from over 35 different countries) and so I can tell you that the experience you are describing is very, very common. Transitioning to a new country is extremely stressful and we often see students begin to develop a reactive depression - something you appear to be describing clearly. Obviously you have some large questions to work through (relating to your parents and life pathway) and while these are important the key issue right now is to begin to lift the lowering mood. Depression actually alters the way in which you see things and so while your mood is down it is not the best time to be trying to answer any large questions.

The main treatment approaches for Depression are anti-depressant medication, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or a combination of the two. I can recommend this excellent website here as a starting point for learning more about the treatment of

The recommended sequence of treatments to try is:

1) Self-help using a CBT based program

2) CBT with a therapist

3) CBT & an antidepressant medication (usually a Selective Serotonin Re uptake

You can confirm that this is the correct order by checking these treatment recommendations here.

CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to solve problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic
procedure. Treatment is technique driven, brief, direct and time-limited (normally 10-12 sessions). CBT is used in individual therapy as well as group settings, and the techniques are often adapted for self-help applications. I would strongly encourage you to consider CBT as I would expect you get great benefit from this approach.

Start by working through this excellent CBT based self-help program here. It should take several weeks to complete, is completely free and will teach you everything you need to know about Depression and what you can do about it. Alternatively, you could take a look at a book which will teach you some introductory techniques for dealing with Depression at home. I can recommend a well known manual titled Mind Over Mood and another book titled The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for
Depression; A Step by Step Program
as good places to start. You can find them
both here.

If you find you aren't making the kind of progress you would like using a self-help approach I would then recommend you consult with a CBT trained therapist. CBT is usually offered by Clinical Psychologists (although not exclusively) and you should check whether your student health services provide this service (they usually do). If they do not then you can contact The British Psychological Society here for assistance with finding an appropriately trained Psychologist in your local area. The NHS covers sessions with a Psychologist in many circumstances and you can begin to check this option here (sometimes international students have access to NHS services as part of their visa arrangements). Also, take a look at an article published by the American Psychology Association here. It's an interview with a senior
Psychologist and covers some of the things you should consider when you looking
for a Psychologist.

I hope this has been of some help. Please let me know if you have further questions or would like me to clarify any part of my answer.

Dr John B, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 557
Experience: PhD in Clinical Psychology, registered clinical psychologist.
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