New Here: Confused

Hi everyone, I'm new to this site. I'm a 22 year old college student (major: Biology) and I have not been diagnosed with any anxiety or depression disorders. I, honestly, don't know very much about the various types of anxiety and depression - besides what I learned in my neurobiology class. I created this post because I wanted to get insight as to whether or not what I'm feeling sounds at all similar to what those of you who have been diagnosed feel.

As a college student, I suffer from the obvious stress school would bring - especially as a science major. However, I have moments (such as tonight) where I know I'm feeling much more stress and discomfort than usual. I'm a chronic procrastinator too which doesn't help my stress levels any. When I became really stressed out, I start to get really panicky and I feel it in my entire body. As that feeling begins to subside, I get really sad and uncomfortable. From there, any little thing can set me further and further into what I term as my "depressive self." I have had thoughts of hurting myself, I think because I usually set myself up for failure and expect myself always to. Now this is where I get really confused....

Once I am put in a social setting, my mood changes dramatically. I think it might be because I don't want anyone to know that I was feeling sad but sometimes my mood just changes and I feel hopeful again. It's really annoying because I am not sure how I should feel. My home life isn't ideal right now and I don't feel that I have a trusted, close friend to talk to. I'm sick of people who don't necessarily have anxiety/depression/bipolar disorder giving me advice on what I need to do to fix things or trying to "relate" to me being sad. So I'd love to hear from you all what you think. I'm not sure if some of what I feel is concerning enough to see a doctor or if I am just hyping up my "normal" stress.

Also, I've only ever had one panic attack (before an exam I was ill-prepared for) from which I agreed to go see my schools counseling center for guidance on stress management.

4 Replies

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  • Hi! I'm new here too, but I wanted to say that I relate a lot with what you described. I don't think you're hyping up your stress at all, I feel the same way now and I've felt the same before. If you want to talk to someone I say you absolutely should, its a really great step to take :) I hope that helps.

  • Stress management is a huge thing. Even medicated now I recently had many tough decisions to make as things in my life and has been hectic for the last month. It overdid the meds and had me in a very anxious state where it seems like anything could set me off just as you said. Depression often follows anxiety, so you being sad once it is over is not uncommon.

    I am not a doctor obviously. That being said if it is only the stress of school that is setting it off...meaning, if you were sitting on a beach somewhere and you wouldn't feel this way ( i would if not for the meds) then you probably are experiencing a high amount of unhealthy anxiety but I personally wouldnt say a disorder of any kind. But if you dont manage it now, it can become one very quickly and out of no where. I am an introvert so social setting bring me down as opposed to an extrovert who feels better in social settings. I am not sure which you are but I would say that you need more of that social setting if that is a pick me up for you.

    I would ask your stress management counselor what they think as you probably spoken to him/her more on the topic, if you trust them and they have back ground in psychology. Neurobiology does give you a good dose of what we have, that is judging from my neurologist anyway. She understands me so well and can discern what is mental and what is physical.

    Last off, never rule out seeing a professional if you have the means to do so and are questioning it. Your health comes before all. All that schooling does you no good if it lands you with a disorder that makes you unable or unwilling to work.

    Best of luck

  • Everyone is different. Don't diminish what you feel. What's "normal stress" for one person is "overwhelming" to someone else. Don't be hard on yourself. I would recommend seeing a therapist to talk about your feelings. You don't necessarily need a "diagnosis" to receive help.

    From my experience, I "handled" tremendous stress for many years. It didn't win me any awards or fame or make me stronger for struggling! What eventually happened is that the stress became so great that I had a panic attack and finally sought therapy. It took many years later for me to accept that medication could help me further.

    Our ability to cope and handle stress change with time and situation so there is no one treatment fits all. Whatever might work for you today might not work tomorrow. There are many ways in which you might try to improve your coping strategies. Yoga, deep breathing, guided meditation, etc.

    In my opinion, procrastination and feeling bad afterward are just additional symptoms of being overwhelmed and needing some assistance. After years of therapy, I am able to identify these behaviors as an indicator that I am becoming overwhelmed. You still have some ability to cope if you can "pull it together" in social settings. Getting therapy now will help you to possibility avoid getting to a point where you may not be able to handle social situations.

    There's no need to wait until things get out of control before you ask for some help.

  • I understand what you are talking about completely! I am also a totally undiagnosed (but suffering) science major who experiences sadness and anguish in private that is based in anxiety BUT when i go out or talk to people I experience euphoria and excitement that is ALSO based in anxiety. It is so bizarre and seems sooooo different from other sufferers because I think extroverts are largely regarded as mentally healthy individuals and that introverts have "something wrong with them". Neither of these assumptions is true but they hurt both personality types. I wish I could offer more than empathy but I can't.

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