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Fear Holding Me Back

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Hello everyone — thank you for reading this post. Let me start off by saying that I am an A student at one of the best engineering universities in my region, if not the country. I am proud of my accomplishments, and I know that I am an intelligent and clear-headed individual. Our Spring semester just started and, I am having a hard time because we are in a wait mode without a lot of home/classwork yet. I am feeling anxious and uncomfortable being with myself. I should have the run of the school because I am in a tough program and getting good grades, but I am so afraid of judgment by others that I am almost torturing myself with thoughts and self-imposed rules and regulations. These rules have undoubtedly helped me achieve my success, but I think they are driven by fear. The natural question is “of what?” and I am terrified of thinking about that question.

A few incidents around campus really scared me into considering trying to talk to someone about my thoughts. Above all, I am terrified that if I start talking to someone, they will think that I have some kind of disorder and prescribe some medication. I am not ill and I can think perfectly clearly, it’s just that there is some memory or feeling that I am afraid to express that is holding me back. I know that I can be a more efficient student and be more comfortable around other people and myself, and I am frustrated that I have reached a roadblock in this aspect of my life. The second reason that I am hesitant to seek help is that I don’t trust my feelings to be more than a monthly low — I am very harsh on women in general, and I am afraid that anything I feel is just the result of some kind of hormone imbalance. If this is the case, in a few days I will almost forget that I was worried and I will have committed to seeing someone regularly when I just had a bad few days caused by biology.

I really don’t know if I should talk to someone, or continue trying to hammer away at this issue myself. Any comments and suggestions would be more than welcomed.

Thank you.

Fear Holding Me Back

Answered by on -


Since you are in college the fastest, easiest thing to do is to talk to someone that you’re counseling center. There’s a type of therapy, CBT (Cognitive-Behavior Therapy), that is very helpful for changing thought patterns. Because you were new student and you’re acclimating to the pressure, your thoughts may have become more anxious in general. I would highly recommend trying a few sessions of CBT to see if this can bring about some relief.

Good luck finishing your first year!

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Fear Holding Me Back

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Fear Holding Me Back. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 23 Mar 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.