Terrified of admitting my dream has changed..
I am 20, in my final year of a Bachelor of Biomed and am coming to the realisation that applying for medicine is no longer my dream.
I've spent my whole life working towards this goal, with the belief that once year 12 was over, once I had finally gotten that atar and gotten in, that everything would be ok. Instead I've spent the better part of two and half years struggling through a degree I've come to loathe, watching everyone else get great marks and pull motivation from some magical unlimited source, while I've been almost failing and spend everyday feeling like I'm not good enough. I've realised that the only things I enjoy about Uni are the people, and that maybe I made the wrong choice about what I chose to study.
I've battled with a doctor decided was 'depression and anxiety' the past 18 months, too scared to confide in my friends for the fear or appearing weak, or even undeserving of those feelings. I mean on the outside everything appears great, I have a great family and a lot of friends. I've always been an overachiever, I was school captain and I'm president of our Uni student society and undertaking a highly sort after internship at a huge research lab, so feeling like I do doesn't make sense to me - I can't imagine how anyone else is supposed to understand it. Some days are fine, but others are so dark I can't bring myself to leave the house.
It's come to a point now that I am ashamed of myself, for not being in control of my own mind and for letting so much self doubt and loathing seep in. I have friends who have lost parents, who've battled cancer, divorces, and so many horrible problems, and here I am unable to control what's going on in my own head. It feels so selfish and trivial that I can't help but feel like I should just get over it. But sometimes it gets so overwhelming I just want to stay in bed and never leave.
I am so scared of not applying for med, and having to explain to everyone why I changed my mind - when really I have no idea what I would do instead. The unknown scares me, but I know deep down that if I continue down this path and keep up this never ending cycle of sleep, study, repeat, for the next 5 years, I probably won't make it out the other side.
For long I defined myself by my dream, 'I'm going to be a doctor' that I don't know who I am without it.
Re: Terrified of admitting my dream has changed..
Well done for all those past successes, you must really push yourself.
I think a lot of people are in your shoes Brig. My best friend is in his 3rd year of finance and realises that he hates it and that he mainly did it because he felt he 'should' based on family and soceity so he can get a stable job and earn an income. He is now transfering to my course psychology and and starting university again because he realises that he wants to study something he will be passionate about.
I beleive you absolutely have to follow your heart, because that is what will give you energy and motivation and in terms of finding a job its this energy and motivation that is likely to take you places.
Another option, is to seriously take a gap year. The deans wife of my university said to my mum that some students LITERALLY NEED IT. I think she was refering in part to this cycle you are talking about you really do need a break. What i have personally done is underlaoded to 3 units (which is still full time study). I have a bit of extra time to work make money, see friends and at the end of the year have enough money to travel.
Re: Terrified of admitting my dream has changed..
Hi @brig3773, thanks for posting, it sounds like you are feeling ashamed on multiple levels? I hear your story and absolutely understand what you are going through. You also sound like a good and conscientious person. How do you feel about yourself?
In my opinion, we need to keep your decisions as simple as possible: What do you want to do? Forget everyone else. Imagine that no one had any expectations of you, what would you choose right now? In my opinion, if you loathe your degree, the decision is an obvious one!
You don't have to explain anything! Do you demand explanations from others when they make decisions about their lives?
What kind of life do you want to look back on? You will die one day, and do you want to remember a life where others expectations made you struggle through a degree you can't stand, at an age that should be most enjoyable, or one where you worked hard at something you were passionate about and were true to yourself and who you wanted to be?
For high-achievers, such as yourself, we can start to think that others only like us for our achievments and that somehow this makes us special. It can really start to feel like a trap, that we have to achieve these things to be good enough, have you experienced this? It is really horrible feeling like we constantly have to strive just to be an acceptable human. It is a fallacy, you are important and worthy regardless of your achievements. Achievements are just bonuses, and achieving doesn't make you special.
Also, keep in mind that most people really don't care that much. Regarding people who only view you for your achievements - those who matter don't care, and those who care don't matter. I promise that your true friends and family just want you to be happy and fulfilled.
Regarding the depressive and anxious episodes you've been experiencing. It sounds like you feel guilty about being down? This shows that you have a strong moral compass and understanding of what others have to go through. This is really great, but understand two things:
Firstly, emotions aren't rational. You have every right to feel down, because you are a human, and humans feel crappy sometimes. Emotions don't recognize the severity of a situation and assign themselves accordingly, they just come on regardless, so don't beat yourself up about feeling crappy - it will only make it worse.
Secondly, and more importantly, is it any surprise you feel depressed sometimes? You are putting so much pressure on yourself to live up to others expectations, of course you will feel bad when is doesn't go perfectly! You are being very hard on yourself. Your depression and anxiety is telling you something, and if I had to guess what that was, I would say it is that you need to start living your life according to what you want, not what you think others want!
What would you tell a friend in a similar situation?
In my opinion, the solution is right in front of you, and you need to be really brave here and let go of the need to please others. Hope this helps, good luck
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