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Do I Need to Seek Help?

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From a young woman in Malaysia: I’ve always felt like at some point after high school I’;m no longer the same hardworking student who’s always eager to learn new things. My college and uni life consist of me wishing the classes of the day would be over soon so I can get back to scrolling through my phone on the bed in my room. I can’t even remember the last time I actually sit down facing a desk to study. Even on my finals, the only preparation I ever did was skimming through the slides my lecturers used. I do my assignments as late as possible.

I don’t really socialise much and only made friends with a few of my classmates. My nervousness before any presentation, practical test and exam is more prominent than ever because I know I won’t do well when I prepared so little. I would feel like throwing up and became a bit dizzy. But I just can’t bring myself to put in more effort even when my grades are slowly falling. The catch is I don’t have trouble sleeping and eat well and I rarely feel sad.

My source of happiness is this band I’ve been obsessing over the last two years. It’s the only thing I can think about and the subject of my hours of social media scrolling. I love them and they make me so happy but I can’t help but feel like they’re just a coping mechanism I turn to from my dull life. I hate how they’re taking over my life because I feel like I don’t know who I am anymore without them and their songs in the picture. These days I don’t even feel like actively using my twitter to know every single update and minute details other fellow fans scrutinize over but I still keep myself updated about their news in general. Am I just lazy or obsessed or simply suck at time management? My depression test result from this site shows moderate to severe depression. Should I seek help?

Do I Need to Seek Help?

Answered by on -


I think you already know the answer to your question. Of course you should seek help. If you could shake yourself out of your lethargy, you would have done it long ago.

I do have a theory: Many students who excelled in high school hit a wall when they get to college. Having been a star at high school, they suddenly find themselves as merely the average among all the other high school starts who made it to college. The academic competition is something they are not used to and are ill prepared to cope with. Rather than deal with the reality of having to study much harder to get even average grades, such students stop studying at all. Often they get over-involved in a campus club or team or (as in your case) something or someone on social media. They can then tell themselves that if they studied they would still find school easy and would get the As they are used to. It’s a face-saving coping mechanism that quickly turns on itself. Instead of protecting the student from failure, it guarantees it.

Thhis type of strategy becomes a negative cycle: The more the student avoids the work, the more likely they will fail. The more likely they will fail, the more they busy themselves with the thing they landed on to avoid failure. They isolate. The result is that they not only miss the academics but they also miss the whole college experience. They don’t socialize much and so don’t make the lasting friendships or the mentoring relationships that are just as important as getting the grades.

I don’t know if this applies to you. It’s at least something to consider. Whether or not you fit with that description, you know you are in trouble. You are missing out on college. Someone is paying thousands of dollars for you to scroll through your phone. I urge you to get yourself to your college mental health services if available (a community provider if not) and put a stop to the negative cycle you’re in so you can begin to build a positive one.

Yes, you can do it. You made it to college so you can probably succeed at it. You may need some guidance about how to study and how to balance your outside interests (including the band) with the demands of school but you are smart enough to manage it. Get the help you need and deserve.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Do I Need to Seek Help?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Do I Need to Seek Help?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 Dec 2019 (Originally: 15 Dec 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 13 Dec 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.