Mental Health Affecting School Performance

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I just finished my first semester at a major university in New York City. I failed miserably and I know it was my fault. It was a mix of laziness, ADD and depression. I have been dealing with depression since I was 13 (18 now). I have never felt pretty, smart, or worth anything.
Everything has worsened after I got dismissed from college. I’m confused about what to do next. It is too late to register at a community college for Spring Semester and I at a standstill. I cry every night and I HATE myself so much. I dont know if I am ever going to be something in life .
I also have to write an appeal to my academic dismissal. I want to explain that I can do better if allowed to stay. Should I do it, what are the chances that the university would let me stay?
I really need help. I have hit rock bottom.

A: I don’t know if an appeal will get you back in. It’s always worth a try — IF that’s what you really think you should do. Sometimes people “fail” as a way to tell themselves that they aren’t really ready to do something. It’s too bad it’s termed a “failure” when it could be termed a realization.

It sounds to me like you have some serious personal work to do before you are ready to take on the challenges of a college education. Unless you do something about the depression and ADD, it’s not likely that another semester would go any differently. I think it’s Einstein who is quoted as saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

You didn’t mention if you have been getting treatment for your mental health issues. Sitting in your room isn’t going to change things. Hating yourself definitely isn’t going to make things better. It’s time to get busy doing the things that will make a difference. That means seeing a mental health professional for an evaluation and to discuss a treatment plan. You may need some medication to help ease the depression. You certainly need some talk therapy to learn how to manage the depression and to learn skills to compensate for the ADD.

It also means finding a job that gives you enough money to live but that leaves you with enough energy every day to spend time taking care of yourself. And it means seriously disciplining yourself to eat right, get some exercise every day, and to get enough sleep.

In short, rather than beating yourself up for what you didn’t do at university, put yourself fully into the school of life for awhile. Once you have the depression under control and have reliable ways to manage the ADD, you’ll be able to succeed in school and in life.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Feb 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Mental Health Affecting School Performance. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/02/04/academic-dismissal-from-university-add-and-depression/