Home » Ask the Therapist » Parenting » Stuck with My Thoughts, Failing School

Stuck with My Thoughts, Failing School

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I am usually good at handling my problems and just push through my day but now these issues feel like I need to do something else. When I’m in school I think I’m doing just fine then get a letter saying I need to take summer school because I failed my classes. I want to change the way I think but I just end up feeling like I’m trapped, then leave it for another day to escape from the feeling of sinking. I have been doing this all my life and seems to be the only way I keep myself feeling good and not just upset at what I have to deal with. My teachers tell me just go to extra help, get a tutor, stay after school…all of these are great ideas but I cant just accept help. I feel stressed out for no reason when ever some tries to help and tell me things I NEED to do. I understand I need help but what can I do to make myself get it and not just brush it off, acting like it wont stab me in the back ? (age 17, from US)

Stuck with My Thoughts, Failing School

Answered by on -


It sounds like you have been utilizing defense mechanisms, such as denial and avoidance, in order to deal with uncomfortable feelings and situations. We all do this to a certain extent, but in order to deal with our problems, we must face them directly. Getting the letter about needing to attend summer school is a good example of how our avoidance tactics eventually catch up to us.

As hard as it may seem now, it is time to face your issues and develop more effective strategies. You are almost a legal adult and if you don’t change your ways of coping now, they may only get worse. Your teachers are giving you good advice, it’s just a matter of swallowing your pride and taking it. Accepting some extra help and putting in some extra time would be much less stressful than failing and not being able to graduate with your class. Look at the bigger picture. Think of your future.

I’m also wondering if you have ever been evaluated for attention-deficit disorder (ADHD) or a learning disorder. If not, you may want to consider speaking with your school counselor. If there is an underlying condition that is contributing to your school performance, it would be best to know so that you can get the appropriate help.

You took the first step by writing in, now it’s time to take responsibility for your future and take the next steps.

Dr. Holly Counts

Stuck with My Thoughts, Failing School

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Holly Counts, Psy.D.

Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2018). Stuck with My Thoughts, Failing School. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 7 Sep 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.