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How Do I Help Myself? I Appear Okay but am Actually Struggling

Asked by on with 1 answer:

Thank you for your time. I’m not that skilled with words so I apologize if this does not make sense. I am a student athlete who holds several leadership positions on campus. To everyone I seem great but in reality I’m not even close to being okay. Between all of my commitments I am completely overwhelmed. Nothing is fun anymore and has not been for some time now.
Also, I often find myself faced with a deep and powerful hatred toward myself and my mind is often consumed with the notion that I deserve to die. It has progressed to the point that I have been considering suicide as a valid and logical option. Even though cognitively I recognize that it should not even be a consideration.
I fight this everyday and I am afraid of what might happen if I lose control for even a little while. That’s why I so strictly maintain the façade of being completely fine. I fear that if I even allow myself to admit that I am not fine then I would cease to be able to function.
The most frustrating part of this whole situation is that there is no reason for it. My life has been great and there is a copious amount of objective evidence that would indicate that I have no reason and no right to feel like this.
I’m an intensely private and independent person who struggles to open up. So my question is, how do I get past this on my own?

How Do I Help Myself? I Appear Okay but am Actually Struggling

Answered by on -


There are two things that immediately jumped out at me from your email. The first is that you apologize about how inarticulate you are, and then proceed to express yourself beautifully. Secondly, at the end you say that you want to take care of this by yourself. But I’m getting from these two comments is that even in spite of clear evidence that you are confident — you are not seeing yourself that way. Additionally, you believe that you have to manage everything on your own.

This is why I so appreciate your reaching out to us here at PsychCentral. This is not something for you to handle alone. The leadership role, the pressure, and the low feelings of confidence are all part of the same package. Somehow, you found yourself in a position where you believe you are the responsible one for many things. This is where a change needs to take place.

Since you are a college I would highly recommend going to the counseling center and have them help you reduce the responsibilities and stresses in your life. It sounds to me like your take on too much — and then feel overwhelmed. The counselors at the center can help you manage this process.

There’s an optimal amount of stress we each need in our life — like a violin string — if it’s pulled too tight it’s out of tune. Learn to define what that optimal level is and stay in that range. Too little won’t work and too much is overwhelming. You did the right thing by reaching out here, and I encourage you to reach out to the counselors at school.

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

How Do I Help Myself? I Appear Okay but am Actually Struggling

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). How Do I Help Myself? I Appear Okay but am Actually Struggling. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 8 Nov 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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