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Depressed And Worried About Having To Quit College


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Soooo, I'm sorry for the novel, but this is the story of the past four years of my life and I feel that it's all relevant to how I'm feeling...

I'm a college student, 22 years old and still stuck on year two of my education. I have been in college since I graduated high school, and now my friends are all starting to graduate and I'm still not anywhere near getting my degree. I was diagnosed with depression, Crohn's Disease, have social anxiety and oftentimes have troubles getting the motivation to get out of bed, let alone complete my coursework. My parents don't understand what I'm going through, and frankly, don't seem to care. They think I'm just being lazy and that maybe college isn't for me and are threatening to withhold all financial help for the coming year unless I succeed this year (I'm set to fail several classes). I make it to class sometimes and my depression seems to be up-and-down, but at this point in the semester, the amount of missed material has become so overwhelming that I'm afraid to go to class or talk to my professors about it, making my depression even worse. I've always kind of struggled with keeping motivated, but now with a strained relationship with my parents, a chronic illness, depression, anxiety, etc. It's becoming impossible to get into my schoolwork, and now it might be too late.

After going off to college, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease as symptoms started to show themselves (because of increased stress, maybe?) and I had my first major flare up the summer after my freshman year. I did fine before I was diagnosed, but since, I have been an absolute wreck. To illustrate my point: Before being diagnosed my college GPA was 4.0 and since I haven't been able to manage more than a 2.8.

Sophomore year was the best of my post-diagnosis studies, but I only took the minimal amount of credits and frequently missed class. My third year, however, was a complete disaster. I went to school despite suffering with pretty bad pains from my Crohn's that only got worse as the semester went on. A few months in I had developed an abscess and fistula and was in constant serious pain. I didn't want to let my parents down and didn't want to take a break from school, so I saw a GI doc hoping to get something to cope with the pain until I could take care of it. He gave me access to essentially unlimited oxycodone, which I used for the rest of the semester before finally having an intestinal resection surgery. Stupidly, I wanted to go back to school two weeks after my surgery, and my parents allowed me to do so. This turned out to be a terrible decision and I stopped attending classes within weeks, struggling with a depressive mood, opiate dependence and lingering pain from my surgery. My parents caught on and drove (300+ miles) to come take me away from it all, but didn't tell me they were coming and it ended up being more of a kidnapping. They took me off all of my medications (including an antidepressant), forced me to quit my pain medication cold turkey, and tried to "cleanse" my body. I sat at home for the rest of that semester "recovering," which basically involved sitting on the couch in an empty house, getting stoned and hating my life.

I worked all that summer, and felt well enough to go back to school in fall of 2013. Things didn't get better, though. I still had troubles getting myself out of bed in the morning, procrasting on my schoolwork sometimes not even completing it, and missing classes. I was officially diagnosed with depression about halfway through the semester and, after a battle with my parents, started taking bupropion. I limped through the rest of the semester using what motivation I got from the honeymoon effect to pass all of my classes but one. When I was home for Christmas break, my father gave me an ultimatum: succeed in the coming semester and start "caring" enough to go to class and do schoolwork, or else they'd completely stop paying for my schooling.

Well... now, here I am... The semester is coming to a close and I feel that I'm going to get something less than a 2.0... My depression causes me to miss a class or two, which in turn makes me miss material, leading to missing assignments. And then I get so overwhelmed and worried about making up what I missed, that I continue missing classes until it gets to the point where I'm feeling so down on myself that I don't want to do anything. I'm taking classes that I certainly am interested in, as I just changed my major to Creative Writing (from architecture), because I enjoy writing and because I want to reduce the stress that came from being in such a competitive field. But I just can't bring myself to get to class. Now, on top of probably losing financial support from my parents, I'm going to lose my scholarships, as my GPA has been below 3.0 for more than two semesters. I'm so stressed out and overwhelmed that I'm avoiding and lying to my parents, I'm feeling utterly hopeless as far as school goes and I'm starting to dread what the immediate future brings. My antidepressant has stopped working aside from making me feel slightly better on some days and at the moment I don't have time to deal with the emotional rollercoaster that comes with switching to a new antidepressant, as the matter of my schoolwork has become extremely pressing. I cannot afford to give up on this semester or even do poorly (even though I know I will).

I've had troubles with motivation my entire life, but was able to get through high school on my smarts alone with a 3.6 GPA. I took multiple AP courses, but was putting almost no effort into them and procrastinated at every opportunity. I would often study for tests the morning of and frequently put papers and projects off until the day before they were due. Once I got to college and started having troubles with my Crohn's Disease, I was unable to sustain my lazy ways and as a result started doing poorly. I'm actually looking into whether or not I have ADD, as my work ethic, racing mind and constant disorganization are consistent with the symptoms of ADD. It would make sense because, as I implied earlier, my parents are completely against any kind of medication and wouldn't have ever considered that my inattentiveness was due to ADD, instead insisting that I am just lazy and that I don't care.

I guess my problem right now is that I feel I've dug myself so deep into a hole that I won't be able to get out. My parents want me to just flip a switch and make everything better and I would love to fix all my problems, but it doesn't work like that. It takes time and I get that, but I just want to be better now and fix everything before I fail the semester. I don't have the time for all of the long term solutions that everyone suggests to me. I've been stagnant for over a year now and I just want to move on.

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I don't think you have dug yourself into a permanent hole. In hindsight, you should have withdrawn from school due to medical hardship before getting low grades. But that is past.

You obvious cannot perform at high enough academic standards currently.

Take some time off, recover, get back where you need to be. This might take years. That's ok!

When you are ready, you can go back to college. You might need to go to a community college for a bit to show better grades. No fear! you can do it. I know this as your story is almost exactly like my friend (well, he had more alcohol and ADD and less pain killers, ). He was literally kicked out for bad grades. He got his act together with his mental issues as well as the drinking, went to community college and got his grades up, went back to the same college and graduated.

You have a lot of neat opportunities ahead of you for the next two years- maybe some neat jobs, social life outside college, maybe move out on your own. Then you can head back and make the grades.

No worries!!

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Thank you so much for your response. That's the advice that I've gotten from a lot of people. I just don't know if I want to stop attending school right now. I have almost no money to my name, no steady job and nowhere to go after this semester. I mean, I could go back and spend another year with my parents, but I've done that before and it ends up doing more harm than good because they're really unsupportive when it comes to my health. They don't understand "having to take a pill to make me happy" and they feel that they've already spent too much money on me with hospital bills, tuition, room and board, etc. and are sure to let me know that they feel that way. I also worry that if I stop my schooling now, I'll never go back, and I really don't want that.

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You are under a lot of pressure right now. I get it. I do.

I'm not sure how many classes you are taking, what your course load is, and where you are currently.

This is what I suggest if you want to stay in:

Talk to the classes profs whatever you may be failing. STAT. Tell them your situation and see if you can salvage a passing grade.

Talk to an academic advisor. They will tell you how to organize your day and help you make a study plan you can stick with.

Speak to financial aid. Find out what happens if you lose your scholarship or in not in good standing. Ask about filling out a FASA ASAP. You don't need your parents for this. You do need to find some old tax returns of thiers so you can get unsubsidized student loans. PM me if you need help on this.

Talk to your department heads. When you declare a major you should have had an advisor. Tell them you need to pick classes that are either online or do not have an attendance requirement due to your illness.

GET on public assistance so you can get your own health care. If you take out your own loans, the assistance will pay for med insurance.

Learn to MANAGe your chrohns. Look online. Join a support group, find out what foods you can eat etc and how to manage it. Educate yourself.

Learn to make ONE friend in each class that you can get notes from or FIND out about the note taking service in your school. This way if you miss a class you won't miss work.

My parents refused to pay for college so I had to do it myself while suffering from depression and anxiety and PTSD. If they bail on you, whatever, you are 22 you can do this.

PM me for more suggestions. Big hug

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I was in your position before. When I was 20, I had a mental breakdown at a school I was attending in New York City. That was the onset of my depression. I couldn't handle crying every day and not eating, so I dropped out. I had no idea what to do with my life from that point, so I just took a job in retail and ended up going to a community college studying something I really wasn't quite interested in. My lack of motivation and the depression caused me to fail all of my classes two semesters in a row. Because of that, I lost my financial aid, so there went my college education.

I decided that it looked like I'd be working in retail for the rest of my life. I got promoted to an ASM pretty quickly, so that gave me a little confidence, yet I was still beyond depressed and my mother was disappointed in me for dropping out of school, since she worked her whole life to get me there. I started writing a lot during this time. I've always written, but it wasn't something I ever took seriously. I found that it helped a lot with the depression. One night I just had an epiphany and decided that I wanted to become a writer. I began reading voraciously, and continued writing, and settled on going back to community college to major in English. I knew there were abysmal job prospects, but it was better than nothing.

There was still the problem with losing my financial aid. I asked the store I was working at if they could give me extra hours, and I was getting over 40 a week. I dedicated every one of my paychecks that summer to paying out of pocket for classes. Thank God community college is so affordable. I was able to pick up a full course load with my paychecks.

I knew I had to make an impression, so I worked my ass off and made straight A's. I had never been academically inclined, but after all the reading I did on my own before attending, I realized I could do it. After getting those straight A's, I used my newfound writing skills to send an appeal letter to the board in order to get my financial aid back. They looked at my grades, read my letter, and gave me back my financial aid.

The next semester I got straight A's again, then applied to a local university so I could transfer. I was accepted and got into a Literature program. Mind you, I was still suffering from depression, but I used the time to keep myself busy to distract myself. I got involved in a lot of stuff in college: the literary magazine, a volunteer organization, the English Honor Society. I graduated with a 3.6 GPA and was accepted into graduate school for an MFA in writing. From there, I began teaching, and found myself in a position I never imagined.

The depression hit me hard last year, so this last semester of grad school has been tough on me, but I'm committed to getting back on track. Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted you to know that if you really want to go college, the drive will hit you and you will succeed. Don't feel discouraged now; it's never too late.

I hope this helped.

Edited by Cyberpunk
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