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So… I think I really need some help and I am not sure what to do… I found this forum through a random search and I was wondering if maybe someone can offer some realistic advice or help of some sort.

So, I am in my early 20’s and I am a student in a field I rather not disclose, but it is a very tough and competitive one that requires a lot of field work and course work. Over the last few years as I have been studying this, I have grown more depressed I have noticed – which was not too unusual, I was always with a rather low affect I suppose, but recently it’s been worse than ever.

I am experiencing sleep problems, I can’t fall asleep and when I do I have horrible nightmares that wake me up in the middle of the night, I am losing interest in grooming and hygiene which I know are telltale signs, I care less about home work and actually showing up to school and every time I think of school for that matter – I have this tight knot in my stomach and fear just spreads over me. I even lost interest in things I used to think were fun so I don’t do anything anymore… I hate what I study now, I don’t see hope for my future and recently I have been developing frightening thoughts that perhaps I should just end my life now and avoid all this crap, and even worse off, I am afraid to say it because it’s part of my field of study to know this – I even thought of a plan which puts me rather high up there on the risk list, but I am too afraid to go along with it.

I don’t know what is going on with me, I used to keep everything under control rather well despite hardships and recently I am falling apart, I am scared and confused and I have no idea what to do. Going to see professional help is out of the question because despite my age I am still dependent on my parents and they are not the kind of people that believe in psychiatry or “emotional mambo-jambo”, I can’t go to my school for this sort of help because I am afraid that they will report what’s going on with me to my instructors and professors (which they have done before, I had anger issues 2 years ago), I want to quit what I study so bad but I can’t because my entire future is riding on this and I have no other way out, I feel that it’s literally eroding my soul and mind away with every passing day… I feel as though I’ve been broken into pieces and I can’t put myself back together.

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Hi Angiocath

Welcome to the forum!

I'm no expert (but have had it so guess that qualifies me to express an opinion) but it sounds like you may have clinical depression - you are certainly manifesting some of the typical symptoms and it is exacerbated no doubt by the stressful position that you find yourself in study wise. You need to know that sadly it is very common but that happily it is very manageable in the right hands!!

I hear what you say about going to a psychiatrist - you are up against a very common but regrettable stigma attached to the mental health profession. But you (and I think you already recognise that merely by your presence on this forum) like your parents need to understand that just as you would go to a doctor for flu or a broken leg - so too would you go to a psychologist/psychiatrist for a mental illness - it is that simple. Major depression is well recognised as a DSM Axis 1 mental illness (having both chemical and psychological origins)and needs to be treated as such through the use of AD's (anti depressants) and psychotherapy if needed. It does not need to be a big issue at all and could so easily save you a lot of pain if you nip it in the bud early on! I had major depression (now happily in remission) and the anti depressants literally saved my life!

If you are too embarrassed or worried about going to a psychiatrist - please wont you go to a/your GP - he will recognise the symptoms and hopefully point you in the right direction.

I dont know what you are studying but I'm pretty certain even your professors will have encountered depression before and would not even turn a hair!

Good luck Angiocath and know that you can always seek support on this forum - there are so many in the same boat!



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PS I would urge you to see someone as soon as possible and as regards your comment re your "school" - any counselors there should be bound by the same confidentiality ethics as any psychologist - ie they would not be allowed to divulge any information to any of your professors/parents etc without your express consent.


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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Angiopath,

I agree with Chisholm. It does sound as though you need to get help now.

Can you tell us more about what is troubling you? Did something happen in your life, something recent?

This is a very anonymous place. Can you tell us why you prefer to not tell us what you are studying? Of course, we respect that decision. I am just curious about what the factors might be?


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Hey guys, thank you for answering.

The issue is not shame of anything like it, but rather kind of a lack of means – or just me being unable to really think of anything to do.

As for my field of study, I am a registered nursing student (ironically past my mental health course and yet unable to do a thing to help myself despite noticing telltale signs).

I’ve been trying to write what exactly happened to cause all this and I’ve written 10 different paragraphs each going further and further back, I think it’s safe to say that, without writing a whole scroll here, that slowly over the last couple of years as I’ve been studying this they just beat me down. Im not a very welcome student in this anyway because I am a guy, and the female instructors make it quite clear that my place is not with them, and over the years they have been testing me, pressing me, forcing me to do things I don’t want to do, torture is what comes to mind – I am not being specific for paranoid reasons.

So during term, I was tired. Instead of starting the term with energy after winter break I felt burned out right off the bat, kind of like I was running a car that slips gears and the engine always tried to catch up but never quite makes it. Same thing happened to me, my mood went down and so did my grades and so did my performance in the clinical setting, where about a month ago an incident occurred where I got into a lot of trouble – now, I am a responsible person, and if I mess up I take it on myself. But in this incident, a nurse that didn’t like me because of a personality clash got me into trouble just to show that I am nothing and she’s the queen of the unit (petty, but older nurses are juvenile like that), that got me on probation and my professor never gave me a chance to explain myself or tell my side of the story. That just beat me to pieces, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back…ever since it’s been going worse and worse with each day.

Thing is though, this has been the recent catalyst that just opened up the flood gates, this has been building up for years and years, it's just recently i lost all control and i have no idea how to regain it..

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I know something about the difficulties of male nurses: my brother is an RN (and so is his wife.) He worked in emergency and a CCCU for quite a while. He later went on to train as a nurse/anesthetist.

It seems to me the behavior you describe isn't really about male/female; it's about dominance and bullying, and as such is something many people here are familiar with.

You mentioned that you're concerned that if you sought help, your instructors would be notified. The thing is, if you're at risk of washing out of the program anyway, how would them knowing be worse? On the contrary, it might make them more comfortable with you, knowing that you're making an effort to work on your state of mind.

Do you have the option to transfer to another unit? As you said, it's a personality clash. Maybe another setting would be healthier for you.

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After you mentioned the bullying part it made a lot of sense. I fear that part of this paranoia that my instructors will find out stems from my first term of the nursing course, where the instructors rammed me pretty bad and forced me to take counseling with the college counselors to deal with my "Anger" issues (which stemmed from an instructor that tortured me on daily basis), that 'therapist' proceeded to inform my lead instructors of my progress and what i've been saying in our sessions.

The people that manage my nursing courses are not the kind that would be worried for me or would care of my progress, they made it very clear that their concern is liability and not my mental state. They really don't care, i tried hard and all they care about is me falling in line and appear "normal" while inside i am trying to fix a crumbling wall with ductape.

In regards to transfer, i am doing my work in the ICU floor, which is divided into different 'pods' - like critical care, trauma critical care, surgical etc, so we all float to different parts of the unit depending on assignment for the day, and that particular nurse that's 'bullying' me floats around as well, over the last month i have encountered her many times and she always tries to mess with me in one way or another, so avoiding her or going elsewhere is out of the question till i graduate. Also, adding to this issue, she's a preceptor nurse (one that trains students in pre-graduate courses) and because of that my professors take her word very highly, so even if she lies they'll believe her and torch me with ease - which is what happened.

The professional concern is not what i care about the most though, what i care about is that i can't pull myself together anymore and i've been losing touch with the outside world over the last month. Im just so tired of this, i can't stop thinking about school, even when i sleep i have nightmares about it, my entire life is wrecked because of this - i don't have free time to do anything i like and even when i do i just don't want to, i can't think straight or concentrate, i'm just losing it and i get angry that i feel that i can't even properly describe what i am going through, i literally feel that i am being crushed and i can't fight it.

I want to find a way to talk to someone professionally, but knowing my parents and that my health insurance runs through theirs i can't do it without them finding out and that scares and stresses me out even more...

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