Have you ever managed to break a long-term cycle of self-sabotage?
July 21, 2014 3:43 AM Subscribe
or repeated mistakes? If you have any insight or personal experience please give it. I'm starting to suspect that I may never make any progress because it keeps happening again and again and the consequences are only getting worse. Details inside.
posted by hejrat to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I am a second semester college senior who has essentially been dragged kicking & screaming and spoon fed throughout my entire academic career thus far. In the past 6 years (late hs and college), I have not gotten through a semester without multiple extensions, incompletes and/or withdrawals. Even so, I barely get things done and virtually never at a quality level with which I am satisfied.
Right now I am in summer school taking two courses necessary to finish my degree in December. There is no doubt I will fail them if I continue and it's mostly because I spent the past few weeks feeling very upset and falling into old bad patterns of behavior (big time procrastination, binge-eating, insomnia and similar) rather than due to any difficulty with the material. If I withdraw (or fail) I will lose about $6000 of my parents' money and be in a tight spot in terms of graduation, because my school does not allow students to spend more than eight semesters there. I could take a leave and fulfill my credits at another institution and transfer but that is incurring additional cost and pushing back my graduation date even further. Plus, I don't know how I will break this to my parents because I think they will react even worse than I can imagine and it may never blow over. I have also not been totally honest about my recent academic issues and I think the betrayal will be a much bigger issue than the $6000, which I would of course offer to save up and pay back.
I've seen multiple therapists (some were a better fit than others but none were right, I suspect cultural factors make me especially not susceptible to this sort of treatment, or maybe my issues would be best handled in other ways) and have tried a few medications for depression: a handful of SSRIs (no effect) and wellbutrin which was somewhat helpful. I feel it is losing efficacy which makes me wonder if I experienced a placebo effect before or that I am not really depressed but just understandably upset because I keep self-sabotaging and ruining my own life for no good reason, which I feel is most likely.
At this point, I just really don't believe that my behavior will ever change. I always tell myself that I will do better and I almost never do, or I do drastically better but then the next semester I backslide entirely. I get that I have to "just do it" but the point is that I never really do. I feel incredibly hopeless and like I will never be very competent. My parents are tired of dealing with this and will be furious and heartbroken if they have to again. My friends really have nothing left to say either. It really doesn't help that my peer group is almost uniformly absurdly successful for our age (all ivy grad school or professional school, wall street firms, top research institutes. how?? HOW????) which makes me feel even worse (and dumb), as many of them had to overcome way more serious issues. At this point, there's really nothing I can see myself wanting to do in the future at all.
I'm sorry this is so long. I know that these types of issues are hardly unique (and most people have to deal with much much worse) so I was wondering if anyone on here had ever had fairly permanent improvement after basically a lifetime feeling low & making bad decisions? If so, how? I know people who have pulled themselves out of depressive episodes but those all seem to be stories of a one-time thing, not a 12+ time thing. Even if I am just really really lazy and have zero excuse for my behavior, it still doesn't give me a solid starting point for changing it. Or what to do with myself.