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John-Michaels, Counselor (LPC)
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 625
Experience:  25+ years helping people find solutions...
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I have a question regarding my own behavior. I know that

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Hello, I have a question regarding my own behavior. I know that understanding brings strength so I am attempting to understand so that I can move forward...
You see, I went to college for about 5 years. I was EXTREMELY close to earning my bachelor's degree. I received extensions in six of my courses because I became ill. Now, a year after I was supposed to graduate I am having a very hard time trying to complete the coursework. My professors have worked well with me and my family is very supportive. I quit my job so that I could focus on these last courses, but I am not much further than when I stopped working 3 months ago. I sit down to do the work and I have writer's block. I read the same material over and over again and Im not making sense of it. I just dont understand what has happened to my work ethic. I used to love to write and make great grades. Now, I can barely complete a paper in days. Is fear of failure interfering with my work? I actually walked across the sstage and have nothing to show for it. Why the stagnation? Could it be something else?

Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.

Your question is very evocative that there is so much behind the simple few words you write. Did you ever have periods of this type of "block" before? Can you share more about them? When? How did they abate?

So you've stopped social activities, telephone, etc. So, what are you actually spending your time doing when you're barricaded in your room? Give me a detailed report. Are you actually sitting and staring for 4 hours non stop?

Why are you trying to finish school right now? Is it possible you'd be happier going back to work and finishing at a later date when you really want to?

What was your illness? Your timeline is that the illness seems to have disrupted your life. Is this the case? Is there some trauma involved here?

Was there trauma or abuse in your childhood? What about alcohol or dysfunction in your family when you were growing up?

Are you interested in medications to help? Or self help techniques? Or psychotherapy?

Have you had any mental health issues?

Are you getting any treatment right now? If so, what type? How is it going?

If not, when was the last treatment? What type of treatment was it? Was it helpful?

Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.

Dr. Mark

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Yes, I stare at my computer or coursework for hours, sometimes 7-8 hours. I may read an assignment and commence to write, erase, and rewrite the same paragraph over and over again. I thought it may be a fear of the fast approaching deadline. My courses end at the end of this week, but I have been given until the end of August to complete all six courses by the university. I was diagnosed with IBS and ulcerative colitis. Consequently, I received extensions in six courses. While in school I was extremely involved. I always worked, was apart of various clubs and completed internships. But constantly being at the doctors, suffering from vomiting and not being able to attend all my classes put a damper to my active academic life. Contrary to what I was told to do, I continued my heavy load in involvement, full time schooling, working part time and interning. As a result, my health suffered and I had a hard time keeping up with my workload. After recovery, all of my professors agreed to help me. They all gave me extensions and I have been given a year grace period.

It is IMPERATIVE that I finish school at the end of this month. My parents have supported me emotionally and financially throughout this whole process.

Initally, after walking across the stage and particiapating in graduation activities, I was in denial that I had not truly completed my coursework. Job searches put me back into reality that I had not attained my bachelor's and I needed to... fast. My loans are piling up and my parents can not afford to continue to support me finanically.

I am extremely blessed family wise. My parents and brothers have ALWAYS been there for me. Growing up, being the only girl and the oldest, I was determined to be a high achiever and make my parents proud. The realization that I dissappointed them is paralyzing.

Dr. Mark, all I aspire to do is help others. I know that a bachelor's is key in being able to fulfill my purpose. In fact, a master's is required for most counseling positions. So, I am very discouraged regarding school. If Im having this hard of a time getting a bachelor's, master's seems extremely farfetched. I have had incredible experiences in my young life, Dr. Mark. As a representative, I was afforded the opportunity to travel to various states and four countries, representing my nation and my university. Im trying to find that ambitous, hardworking part of myself again. I dont understand why I am having such a hard time.

IBS has not helped throughout this situation, but it does not cripple my abilities. I have had ailments since I was young, so I know the process of persevernece. I have taken the steps to fight being relaeased from the school. I have taken care of business in that regard, but now is just the actual coursework that I am having such a hard time with. I do not have any mental health issues any longer. At least, I dont think I do. I was extremely depressed in the beginning of the year, due to feelings of failure, but now I have a zest for life and I find joy in the little things. Could it be a fear of inadequacy that is immobilized my ability to produce great work and affected my work ethic?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
I was given the option to open my question to other experts who are available at this time.
Dr. Mark has not yet fully answered my question....

Welcome to JustAnswer! I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. Please note, this is not therapy, but information. I do hope I can help you though.

I do have some questions first though. What would you say is the reason for these feelings of inadequacy? How much time do you feel it would take to just get by on the required assignments? Can you accept just getting by? I really do want to help you but the answers to these questions might help me in doing so.

Thank you!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Well, I have always had very high expectations. My family also has high expectations of me, even after I failed them with not getting my degree. I have gotten past the idea of dissapointing all my instructors who believed in me and now I just want that degree as a tool to catapult me into the future. Im just not sure how to make it occur. Perhaps, I fear the ability to live up to anyone's professional expectations anymore... including my own.

I just need the rest of the month to just get by and I feel that I can complete the work. I thought maybe that is an issue as well. As I begin my work, I feel overwhelmed and my thoughts of not being able to please my professors take over and I am right back where I started. I must kick these thoughts and feelings to the side, so that I can execute my goals quickly and effeiciently like I used to. At this point, it feels like a reoccuring nightmare that I am trying to wake up from. Not getting work done is not me. I have been a hardworking, high achiever all my life.... I am searching desperately for a solution...

Take it from a professional procrastinator, this can be done! I really don't see any reason for you to be alarmed with this fear. You seem to be just an over-achiever that has fallen behind for no fault of your own. You are just not used to working from behind. Now you are just a little overwhelmed. I suggest you take it one step at a time. Determine a priority list. Personally I would start with the most daunting task and set a realistic goal as to when you can get it done. Make that first step a must priority. Don't even think about the next assignment until you have completed that one and so on. Seriously, it can be done. Pat yourself on the back for how far you havE come, then complete the task before you one step at a time. You can do this...don't sweat it. Please ask questions if you wish. I want to hp you through this
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you. That seems very realistic. I have made short goal lists recently, but nothing too detailed. So, perhaps if I make a realistic goal to finish certain assignments and not think about the other classes until I am done with each one, then you believe I can finish it all by the end of August?

You can only do what you can do. Remember you are only trying to graduate. You are not shooting for the deans list. If you set your mind to it, I believe you can...
John-Michaels, Counselor (LPC)
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 625
Experience: 25+ years helping people find solutions...
John-Michaels and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Okay, thank you so much for all of your input. I will do my best :)
Thank you for your positive rating. I am glad I could help you. Hang in there!