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Topic: extreme pre-exam stress

  1. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    11 March 2019

    Growing up, I was never one of those diligent kids; you know the type. Those that go around holding massive organised binders with highlighted notes and study timetables... I would show up to class, occasionally listen, and binge study the night before; strangely, I managed to get by until year 11, when my grades began dropping quite extremely.

    This year, I am in year 12, the final grade of school. Afterwards, it's university where my life can truly begin, and I can mostly be independent and free. But before then, there's this hurdle I must cross; the HSC.

    The moment 2019 began, something clicked and I felt this resolve; I must study hard, I must work to get the best results I possibly can. Surely that's great, ambition is key to success and all that, right? Nope.

    I've heard stories of people who've gone overboard, and I've always pushed that aside. People told me that you should always put your health and wellbeing above studying and they're definitely right, as I've learnt much too late. Now I've fallen into a deep dark hole that I can't get out of.

    The start of the year was great; I made sure I slept at 10:30pm, I kept a diary, I made sure most of my homework was done and studied hard over the monthlong summer holidays. Alas, it wasn't enough. <- Result of me being too lax throughout year 11

    Now I'm in the middle of my assessment block, which'll go on until end of next week. We get ranks in these. As a result, I'm finding myself studying until 3-4am, I'm studying on the train, I'm skipping meals to study, I don't take breaks... Incredibly unhealthy. I've been suffering from low blood sugar levels, and now I've fainted twice in public from fatigue, and fell onto hard concrete both times so I've currently sustained injuries on my arms, legs and fingers (making it difficult to write fast). Not long ago, something happened (not going to go into much detail, it's not too relevant) which wasted an hour of my time. I had a completely mental breakdown, and refused to eat dinner, sobbing and panicking in the fear that people may have 'caught up' to me in that one hour. I have a stomach ulcer as a result of skipping meals, and the pain worsens when I'm hungry. Yet despite starving from skipping meals, I felt as if I had to catch up due to that lost hour. Just that one mere hour.

    I have gone from overly lax to excessively stressed. I can't help it, and I don't know what to do. If anyone could leave advice, I would so grateful. I just can't go on like this.

    C74

  2. Summer Rose
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    11 March 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I'm no expert, but rather a mum who has supported two teens through VCE. I'm going to tell you what I would tell one of my own kids straigh up: your study habits are not healthy and you must change your behaviour now. You are at risk of burning out, becoming very unhappy and physically and mentally unwell. And it is only March.

    Instead of aiming for quantity of study time aim for quality. Target your effort and don't try to do it all. Simply do your best within reason.

    Get a large calendar for your room and plan your study. Look at your assignments and/or tests and record due dates on the calendar. Consider the weight of each assessment and then work backwards to block off appropriate time for study based on competing priorities. You don't always have to aim for top marks. Sometimes good enough, really is good enough. Be smart about where you give your time.

    Your major study hours should be at the time of day you are most productive. For some people this is early morning, for others evening. As a rule of thumb, aim for an hour before dinner and three hours after dinner.

    Work in 30 minute blocks (short, sharp, focused effort) with your phone off and then take a break. Eat, drink, stretch for your 10 minute break. Then back to the books.

    Every two hours take a half hour break. If you can, get some exercise in here. Try to get to bed by 11 pm.

    Stick to a routine and remind yourself that madly studying for hours on end is not productive. You are actually doing more harm than good. Remind yourself that there is more to life than high marks. There are many ways to get into most uni courses. Instead of trying to keep all doors open, ask yourself if you really need all those doors open.

    If you can't change your thinking on your own then you really need to talk with a professional about this. Your GP or school counsellor would be a good place to start.

    Stop. Breath. Reset. You can get through this.

    Kind thoughts to you

  3. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    15 March 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I just wish I could bring myself to organise my time like this. On top of going to school (which is 1 hour away from where I live), I have six tutoring classes per week, all 2 hours each. At LEAST five hours of my time is spent travelling to and from my tutoring, and I'm running out of time to do anything. Nothing's working, I'm working so damn hard and I'm doing worse than I was back when I barely put in any effort, I don't know why. I can't absorb any information, I'm so damn tired.

    Ever since my last post, I've developed a sore throat too. My immune system's gone crazy from lack of sleep and I've been neglecting my health. I've been skipping meals more and more, to the point where my stomach ulcer has worsened. When you have a stomach ulcer, the last thing you want to do is skip meals, since that worsens the pain, but I've been doing just that. I've put in all this dedication to working hard, I want to be a doctor someday, I want my parents to be proud of me.

    They never acknowledge me, they never tell me they're proud. I slave away at my studies, but when I come back from a test not completely satisfied, they tell me off for not working hard. I can't even lie down on my bed for 5 minutes without getting told off. It's not fair, I just want them to be proud of me, I'm putting in all this work and dedication and I'm still failing. It's just so unfair. Some of my friends get by through doing practically nothing, and everything's failing for me.

    Worst thing is, I can't help but punish myself whenever my parents aren't happy with me. I just want them to show that they care about me just an inkling, so I can't help but ignore everything wrong with me (my throat, my stomach ulcer) and worsening it. I just want to see them care about me more than my grades just once. I just want them to stop thinking about my grades, and trust me to do this myself. Please don't say "Your parents will be proud of you and realise they're wrong in the future when you're successful" or "Stop worrying about your parents being proud, do this for yourself" or anything like that. I'm not going to be successful at this rate, my grades are dismal despite working so hard. I am doing everything for myself, but it'd be nice if my parents were proud.

    I can't control the way I think. I'm sorry, I just can't... I just want someone to understand how I'm feeling right now, I just want to be acknowledged :(

    Sorry if I just dampened your day,

    C74

  4. Summer Rose
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    16 March 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    It was really nice to hear from you again. I want you to know that I hear you and I do understand. I've seen the effects of year 12 pressure first hand. I do get it. I am sitting with you in friendship and support.

    I read your post and I saw a gerbil running on his wheel. Just running and running, until slowing with exhaustion until the inevitable flop.

    You need to get off the wheel, sweet child.

    Your body is talking to you but you're not able to realky listen. You're pushing through, which shows your determination, but I believe this compulsion will eventually bite hard unless you take some action. And I believe you know this too. I am worried about you.

    Would you consider dropping a subject? You don't have to do the full program and this strategy would give you more time and take some pressure off. (My daughter did this to safeguard her mental health and is now studying architecture at uni.) Can you participate in tutoring classes via Skype? Can you attend tutoring fortnightly instead of weekly? Can your parents drive you sometimes, which may be faster than the bus?

    Take yourself off the wheel long enough to think long hard about what is within your power to change that will help you survive this year.

    Your goal of being a doctor is admirable. There are many paths to get there. I know young people who have studied paramedicine, even physiotherapy, and then applied. Others who are in science aiming to transfer. It is not an all all or nothing situation. Life unfolds in mysterious, often unexpected ways.

    Please try to keep the pursuit of marks in perspective. Please listen to your body. Keep talking about how you feel.

    For what it's worth, I am proud of you. You are smart, you are trying and you have the courage to reach out for support. You will get there. My wish for you is that you get there safely.

    Hang in there

  5. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    29 March 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Thank you for being here for me. Unfortunately, something happened and now I'm down in the dumps again :( I'll explain it below...

    For years and years, I had no confidence in myself. I thought no matter how hard i studied, I’d never excel. Recently, this changed and I began studying with all my might. I improved dramatically at my tutor, and my tutors all commented on this and one of them even said that if I continued, a 98 ATAR would be within reach. A 96 is all I need to get into my dream university medicine course to study to become a doctor. A 93.5 is all I need to get into medicine in a respectable university. My parents finally began to believe that I can get into medicine, and pretty much forgot about what used to be my dream to get into engineering (I only told them i wanted to get into engineering because it wasn’t too hard to get into and I pretended I was genuinely interested just because I wanted them to feel like my dreams came true)


    So I threw myself into my studies, i studied during all my breaktimes at school, I started going 16 hours of tutoring per week. That stuff began happening 3 weeks ago. My exams were 2 weeks ago. Obviously, one week of dedication wasn’t enough to compensate for a year of no motivation. I did poorly in one math test, and my mum said I could improve next time, but my dad was mad. And I mean, MAD.

  6. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    29 March 2019 in reply to Summer Rose
    Today, he told me that he was getting rid of 3 of my tutors (6 hours knocked off my 16 hours) because it was a waste of money since i wasn’t improving. I was visibly upset but he couldn’t stop yelling at me. I was bummed of course. I needed those tutors to help me improve. He told me he didn’t care what ATAR I got anymore, and that he thinks I began studying too late. My mum came in and I asked her if she believed in me, to which she replied yes. So pushed away what my dad said, felt better again, and began studying once more. Just 6 hours less tutoring. I could still make it, I could still get into my dream course.


    But then it went downhill.


    Just then, my dad came over and asked me if I was interested in a nursing course. The same course that my cousin who had absolutely failed the HSC had taken. He said he has no hope in me anymore. He said he didn’t want to spend any more money on any tutoring because there’s no point in spending money on something so hopeless. He told me he was giving up on my future, it was too late to start studying, and that there was no way I could get in. I told him to stop talking, I told him I believed in myself and that I wanted to keep believing in myself. He told me I was wrong to believe in my myself, and at that point I began sobbing uncontrollably. My future is so, so important to me. My school results mean everything to me. How could he say that? I don’t think it’s too late to begin studying, I still have months and months to catch up. My teachers have offered to tutor me in their spare time, I have been working nonstop.


    I feel like I’ve lost everything in just the span of one night. I don’t know what to do anymore, I can’t stop crying because I feel like everything’s over. I’m losing all hope and faith in myself, please… Please help me, I’m so lost…
  7. Summer Rose
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    31 March 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I'm so sorry to hear of your father's overreaction to your maths test result. Perhaps your father is dealing with some emotional issues of his own? Don't know. But never-the-less it seems Dad has lost some perspective; one result is not the end of the world. The important thing is that you identify your knowledge gaps and prepare for next time and I think you already know this.

    Please don't let anyone take your dream away from you. It is never wrong to believe in yourself. You must back yourself in life, because as you are learning sometimes life is really tough and you only have yourself. However, I do wish you weren't learning this now in year 12 when you are under such pressure.

    I can assure you that "everything" is not over. Please, dry your tears, practise some deep breathing and be kind to yourself. It's a new day and another chance to try again.

    I would ignore Dad's comments about nursing, particularly as they seemed designed to hurt you and are not rational. Keep focused on your goal. Turn the 6 hour decrease in tutoring time into an advantage. Use your teacher's at school to fill the tutoring gaps, as they have already volunteered to help you, and use the extra time now available to look after yourself. It might be a blessing in disguise. I know I am repeating myself, but it's important that you pace yourself, C74, because you can only push yourself so much until your body and mind will make you stop.

    I really want to encourage you to also try to keep things in perspective. Your ATAR does not define you as a person. There are many pathways into medical school. Your health and wellbeing is much more important than your final high school score will ever be. These are not meaningless words designed to comfort you, these are facts.

    It's likely Dad will calm down with a bit of time and I think you will feel a lot better if you can talk things through with him. Do you want to talk with Dad? Do you think you can talk to Dad without getting upset? Do you think mum can help you with the conversation?

    No pressure to answer but I'm here if you want to talk some more. Kind thoughts to you

  8. quirkywords
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    141 posts
    31 March 2019 in reply to C74

    C74,

    Summer Rose has been very supportive to you and I wont repeat her helpful suggestions.

    was wondering if you have a school counsellor who you can talk to and help you plan your studies.

    I have been a teacher and a student and know the pressure there is in year 12 but also can put it into perspective .

    I hope you can listen to Summer roses's ideas and maybe try her suggestions.

    he trouble is the harder you study and more pressure you feel, it may not help you get the results you want. Most research shows one needs to have a calm approach and a balanced approach to studying that allows time for eating well, exercise and keeping in touch with friends and family.

    If you want keep posting here. I wish you the best.

    I thought most medical degrees now require a first degree in another subject area, so there are options.

    Thanks again for sharing your story which I feel will help others too.

    Quirky

  9. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    12 April 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello, it's me again and I officially can't stand life :)

    My reports came back; they weren't good. By that, I mean I got below average for every single subject, besides one in which I got exactly average. My grades were mostly dragged down by last year's results, since the exams I just had did see the tiniest bit of improvement, but my mum is so disappointed in me; she won't even talk to me.

    Not only that, but my friend relations aren't doing so well. I introduced two of my good friends to each other at the start of the year, thinking it would be nice of them to get along. One of those friends used to say pretty mean things about the other behind their back, and the other one wasn't that interested in getting to know the other. I thought they would get along, so I convinced them to give each other a chance, and sure enough, they clicked. Now those exact friends are mad at me because I said I couldn't go to an outing with them, where I had already pre-warned them that I most likely won't be able to come (I wanted use this day as a chance to study at home since I have tutoring everyday of the holidays besides 2 days, and plus my parents did NOT approve of me going, because I have schoolwork to do) so they just went as a pair, which is cool. I was happy for them, but...

    They ignored all my messages asking how the outing was on the group chat, and keep sending pictures telling me they had fun without me, and didn't miss me. They continued conversing with each other as if I don't exist, ignoring me. I told them to at least stop rubbing in the fact that I couldn't come, yet they wouldn't stop. They poured water all over me during school and when I told them to seriously stop, they laughed at me, then proceeded to hardly engage with me in conversation at all. When I first set them up as friends, we'd hang out as a trio. Now it's like I'm being shunned aside (nbd, I have other friends but it's just kind of annoying, y'know?)

    Getting my report back was the last straw.

    I can't go through this HSC year without any support, I can't. I can't think straight anymore, I can't focus on my work. I need encouragement, I need hope. Everyone's giving up on me. I wish I could just close my eyes and have everything around me just disappear into nothingness. I hate that I have to suffer each day over and over again.
    It's like I'm trapped inside a hurricane of disappointment; I can’t get out, and no light can get in.

    I just want someone to tell me everything will be alright.

  10. Summer Rose
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    13 April 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I'm still here and I'm not giving up on you.

    You have described your results as "not good" but if I'm understanding you right you are choosing to focus on the signs of improvement. I am also really happy for you to have achieved positive change. Well done.

    I'm sure you understand this (most students do) but I want to remind you that the raw marks matter but at the same time they don't. There is a complicated ranking and scaling system that comes into play to calculate your ATAR.

    If you're planning to study medicine I'm sure you're taking a few sciences and those subjects alone will boost your ATAR. The same is true for a language. Given the tough time you're having, you might also consider a SEAS application to your chosen universities down the track.

    Perhaps it would help to explain this to your parents. You could take mum to talk to someone at the school, if necessary.

    I also want to remind you that there is still time for further improvement. It's not over yet.

    As for your two friends, a very disappointing situation. I would try not to get bogged down in it. Don't give it oxygen. Take the high road and ignore it and see if they come around. Focus on your other friends in the meantime.

    Most of all I want to remind you that you can do this. You are doing it. And every day that passes brings you closer to the completion of your hsc.

    Everybody here on the forum has your back. I care very much and I am always thinking about you and wishing you well.

    Keep hanging in there

  11. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    19 April 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose,

    Thank you for your reply. I wish I was writing back to tell you that things are getting better. I wish I was writing to say that everything that was wrong about my life has suddenly made a turn for the better, and that I'm having the time of my life. I'm so sorry for having such a pathetic life.

    Not a single day of my life goes by where I don't cry at least once. I'm just so overwhelmed, I can't think straight anymore. Currently I'm in my school holidays and I've spent every day studying, tutoring, you name it. From the moment I've woken up, until late at night, studying was all you'd see me doing. I just wanted to make my parents proud, but they never even give me a "good job". I can't even please them, I'm not good enough. I'm exhausting myself, I need a break, and no one will allow me to have one. I go on my phone for literally one minute, and my parents yell at me for a whole day. (If they see my phone open for just a second, no matter what I'm doing, they just yell at me, accusing me of spending the whole day on my phone) They abuse me; they hit me to the point where I've gotten panic attacks, yet they'd continue. They refuse to acknowledge that it's abuse, and I'm not even brave enough to tell anyone because I don't want to get them in trouble.

  12. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    19 April 2019 in reply to C74

    .....ok weirdly enough the 2nd part of that message isn't being posted. I didn't say anything appropriate, so I don't know why. I really don't have time to rewrite it so this is kind of annoying...........

    I guess long story short, I'm fully convinced everyone hates me and I don't know what to do. I'll rewrite it when I have time I guess

  13. Summer Rose
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    20 April 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I wrote you a considered response yesterday but it has been held up. I don't know why.

    I still want to communicate the same messages, so I feel at a loss as to how to proceed. I am writing this so that you know I am still here and still supporting you.

    Kind thoughts to you

  14. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    20 April 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose,

    You've been my biggest support this year and I really want to thank you.

    Update on my life...

    I just feel as if I'm truly trapped in a maze right now. I'm stuck and I don't know where to go. I'm walking the path my parents are laying out for me, even though it leads to a dead end.

    They're so controlling of my life now; they don't trust me to study hard enough, and it hurts because I know I have been working hard. I've seen a doctor about my chronic headaches, and he seems to believe that it's stress induced. I'm constantly crying every moment I get to myself, and I feel so alone.

    I'm being isolated from everything I once loved; talking to friends, chess, music. My parents monitor all websites I have visited, all my texts from all my apps... they're making sure I don't even click onto any of them. They're threatening to install cameras all over the house to watch me at all times. They confiscate all devices at 10pm because at that point, my mum goes to bed so she won't be able to monitor me anymore (this also affects my schoolwork, as I actually require a laptop to do my work)

    They won't let me do anything except study, study, study. I get scolded for going to the bathroom. I get my pillow and blankets taken from my bed so I'm not permitted to sleep until 10pm, even if my headaches are worsening (Bedtime at 10pm sounds good, but since I get devices taken at 10pm, I have to do all my work that requires a laptop until 10pm, and then leave everything that does not require a laptop until after 10, AKA math, showering, packing my bag... which can take ages). I get woken up at 7-8pm everyday. I thought my previous state was bad for me, and that I was going to get wiped out but now my parents are making it even worse.

    All this exhaustion I'm going through is making my studying really ineffective, and as a result, my improvement is slowing down. My dad made all kinds of threats to me if I don't do well in the HSC. I'm so scared... I can't imagine what'll happen to me if I do badly.

    I've begun travelling to the library to avoid staying at my home all day (my home isn't the best environment, with my parents constantly scolding me) but that takes a whole hour's commute. I'm so lost, I feel like a hopeless case.

    Simply knowing you're somewhere out there, and supporting me is honestly helping me get through this so much. I'm so glad I can open up and have somewhere where I can be vulnerable.

    Hope to talk to you soon

    C74

  15. Summer Rose
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    20 April 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I've been thinking about you all day.

    I am really worried about you. I am concerned about your mental health and your safety. You are being put under far too much pressure and I believe you are being abused, both physically and emotionally.

    Nothing is worth the pressure you are being put under. Nothing excuses the abuse and you were so brave to raise the issue.

    I want you to survive this year and reach your goal but I'm now wondering if it would be best to do this living somewhere else. Do you have any other family you could stay with? Perhaps a friend's place?

    I think it's great that you saw the doctor about your headaches. Did you tell the doctor about what's going on at home? If you didn't, how would you feel about making another appointment and telling the doctor about how you are being treated?

    Don't worry about "getting your parents in trouble". Any potential consequences are their responsibility, not yours. At this stage, you have to protect yourself.

    I am here. I care. I believe in you.

    I am sending you a hug and keeping you in my prayers. Please let me know how you are getting on when you have time x

  16. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    23 April 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose,

    Thank you so much for your reply.

    Back with another life update:

    I'm just so disgusted with the way my mother handles things. I told her about my dad, about the abusive things he's said and done, and she says I deserve it. It's just so unfair, I've always tried to be the perfect child, eg. I look after my mum when she's sick and she just gets angry at me for getting sick. I buy her birthday presents, even though my parents don't buy me any.

    Now I'm sick to the stomach with what she just did; she was browsing through my phone as she usually does every night, reading all my texts, going on my safari to see what websites I've been on, and she DOBS ON ME TO MY DAD about an ADVERTISEMENT I had accidentally opened earlier today which had something to do with social media. Of course, he came and started threatening me. Why on earth would she dob on me to my abusive dad? Why on earth wouldn't she just talk to me first and ask about the context behind it? I'm ranting to you right now and I'm sorry about that, but I'm just really annoyed... Earlier today, I even gave her my dinner that I had bought, just so she wouldn't have to get up and make anything (she got a stomachache afterwards and started blaming me even though her stomachache was from the spoiled food she ate herself at lunch...).

    I see other kids whose parents keep reminding them that they love them no matter what, and I just can't help but feel so envious. What have I done to deserve this life? I can't even bring myself to be unkind to the people who treat me unkindly... I don't know why, I just can't. No matter how badly anyone treats me, I forgive them way too easily and end up trusting them... that's how I get hurt.

    Anyways, to answer your question about whether I can live elsewhere...I would hate to burden anyone else by living with them, and the rest of my family would either say my dad is right to do what he's doing... I can already tell none of my friends would say yes either. Most of them ignore me even when I'm asking them how to do something during class, even when I had just helped them and the one that would help have parents who'd probably say no.

    I can't talk to my doctor about my home problems also... I've had the same doctor my whole life, and he's good friends with my mum and I. I would hate to ruin that between them... If I take any action against this abuse, my whole family will just hate me for it.

    I can't do it, I'm such a coward, I'm so sorry...

    C74

  17. Summer Rose
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    27 April 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I'm sorry it has taken so long for me to respond, I am actually out of the country at present and exceptionally busy. This is my first opportunity to check in and respond in days.

    You are not a coward and you don't have to do anything at present, except look after yourself. If you ever feel you need to talk to someone you can always call the kids helpline on 1800 55 1800. It's a free service and the people are very helpful and experienced with the type of issues you are experiencing.

    Like you, I do not understand your parent's behaviour. You deserve so much more. But unfortunately I don't think your parents are going to change their ways without outside help.

    You can change how you respond to them but it takes some work. If you can't seek professional mental health help through your doctor, I'm wondering how you would feel about visiting your local headspace centre?

    Kind thoughts to you

  18. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    29 April 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose,

    So good to hear from you again :)

    Please don't be sorry for taking time responding; you're always here for me, so when it took a couple of days, I just assumed you were probably really busy so I really appreciate you still coming in to check on me - 4 days is nothing, most people I know would never in a million years bother to hear me out.

    So I just need to vent a bit right now...

    I'm just really annoyed at my dad right now. Everytime he thinks I'm not on my best behaviour, he menacingly yells "Is your old attitude back again? Do I need to punish you again?". What old attitude? Literally nothing has ever changed about me, I've always tried to be the best person I can be. Idk why it bothers me so much when he says that... I'm probably being oversensitive.

    Also, my mum keeps taking his side when he abuses me, which bothers me. He’s such a bad husband to her… my mum does all the chores, yet he’s yells at her for doing a bad job with chores saying even he could do a better job. I can’t help but think, “If that’s true, why don’t you either do it, or if you don’t want to, then don’t complain?”. Of course, I don’t say that to him because I don’t want to get beaten up. Her job is way more physically demanding than his, and she earns nowhere near as much as he does, yet she pays the water/electricity/phone bills. He continues to complain that she spends no money on the household.

    He’s constantly saying that he regrets marrying her, and that she’s incredibly lucky to have him whilst he has to put up with her. I'm always telling my mum to remember she's wonderful, and that I love her. Yet she still takes his side. Always… and very confidently, without any hesitation.

    Why is it that every single person of my life prefers someone else over me, even when ‘someone else’ doesn’t care about them nearly as much? It’s the same case with my friends… they’ll always prefer someone else over me, and completely forget about every time I’ve helped them. I’ve had so many ‘best friends’ in the past, who just ditched me for someone cooler, even when I’d done nothing wrong. I don’t know what’s so dislikable about me, and I wish I knew. I would change myself for anyone to just appreciate me… I would do anything. I’ve cared about people to the point where I know for sure that I’d do pretty much anything for them. But they’d never be willing to do the smallest things for me.

    I need advice :(
    What can I do about this? How can I make myself a better person?
    C74

  19. Summer Rose
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    30 April 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    Good to hear from you. I'm going to get straight to the point: I don't believe you need to change "to be a better person".

    You are kind, loyal and hard working. You are giving life your best shot in an honourable way in very difficult circumstances. You should be proud of yourself.

    Your dad sounds like a regretful, unhappy man. I suspect your mum is doing her best just to keep the marriage together. She may even be afraid to stand up to your father.

    None of that is your fault. Your parents are simply human, with flaws like the rest of us. And you, unfortunately, seem to be bearing the brunt of their unhappiness.

    I grew up in an unhappy home, too. My father was an alcoholic and my mum did her best. I left the minute I turned 18 and got accepted to university. I vowed to never again accept the type of behaviour I had experienced in my family home. And I have never compromised on that.

    Your parents may always be a part of your life but not in the same way once you leave the nest. There is light at the end of the tunnel and hope for healthier relationships.

    Teenagers often make for fickle friends. From my experience and my children's experience, friendship groups often change. Try not to take this personally but I think it's fair to say that these years are hardest on the sensitive souls.

    The blessing is that you are a sensitive and caring person. And in the end you will be able to look back and hold your head up high because you have done the right things and been the better person.

    You hang in there my friend. How is school going? How is your physical and mental health?

  20. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    1 May 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose,

    Thank you so much for sharing your life experience with me. It’s inspiring to know that moving past all this in the future is possible, and I hope I can follow on in your footsteps. In some ways, I reckon living under the consequences of my parents' emotions are helping me grow as a person; one day, I really hope to be able to support others that are going through the same things I'm going through now. I'd like to believe that every cloud has a silver lining and I really am trying my best to stay positive.

    Anyways, dreary life update: I’m still incredibly stressed out regarding school. Our HSC timetable recently came out, and sure, my heart sinks just thinking about it. But that’s only a very small part of my worries.

    Parent-teacher interviews are coming up, and I just know one of my teachers really won’t have a single good thing to say about me. I just know my parents are going to punish me horribly afterwards, and I am so, so afraid, I don’t know what to do with myself. If she brings up my last test results, I’m in big trouble, because my parents have such a hard time moving past how badly I did. Should I speak to my teacher about it? If so, what should I tell/ask her? I feel so ashamed to have to speak to her about a thing such as this… I’m sure she’d understand, but how can I approach this? Please help me, I really need your advice on this.

    Also, what I suppose is good news: I had a meeting with my school’s careers advisor. I didn’t tell them anything that I’ve told you on this forum, yet they told me they could sense I might be having issues with my wellbeing simply through the way I was speaking about school, and that the negative impacts on my wellbeing will be my greatest enemy on my HSC journey. They then referred me to the school counsellor, so now I actually think I might actually go speak to the counsellor! Opening up to you has made me realise how accepting people can really be, and I feel more comfortable taking action and seeking help, so I really thank you for that.

    Hope to hear from you soon :)
    C74

  21. Summer Rose
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    2 May 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    Hope you are well.

    I definitely think you should have a chat with your teacher before the parent interviews. I think you should be honest and say something along the lines of:

    • You are under tremendous pressure from your parents to achieve high academic results.
    • The pressure from home on top of HSC is affecting your physical and mental health.
    • You are nervous about the upcoming meeting between her and your parents because you are afraid of how your parents will respond to any negative comments she makes.
    • You would be very grateful if the teacher could put your last test result in context to reduce your parents' anger (e.g. it might be that it was a super hard test and the whole class performed below expectation or the test carried little weight or the teacher has noticed your efforts to improve since then).
    • Ask the teacher for her ideas on how she can communicate honestly but in a way to protect you from harm.
    • Agree on a strategy for the meeting.
    • Tell the teacher you are planning to see the counsellor to seek further support.

    The meeting with the school counsellor is really important and I am so pleased that you will be going. A counsellor's role is to listen, guide and provide support.

    You control what you disclose and you can talk about the need for confidentiality. You can also request a follow appointment if you think it would help. And you can also ask the cousellor to speak with your teachers for you, so they all know you are having a tough time and need support.

    I would ask the counsellor about all the ways "school" can help a student experiencing depression and anxiety. Ask for the help you need.

    School counsellor's have pretty much heard it all. Don't be afraid or embarrassed. Your willingness to talk through your issues is a sign of strength and maturity. I am very proud of you.

  22. Summer Rose
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    5 May 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi C74

    Just want you to know that I am thinking of you. No pressure to respond but I am wishing you well.

  23. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    10 May 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose,

    It's been a while, thank you so much for keeping me on your mind. It's reassuring to know that someone's thinking of me :)

    Sorry I haven't come on much lately. I used to log on everytime I feel overwhelmed; nowadays I'm constantly under immense pressure to the point where it's almost become the norm for me.

    Parent teacher interviews came and gone. Not great, but not the worst. I appreciate my teachers so much... they didn't give too much away. I could tell that they didn't want to be too negative, and that they trusted us to work hard on our own. I think after the interviews, my best course of action would be to see some of my teachers and seek more help. My tutors are helping too, with improving my schoolwork and I'm having a much easier time. All I'm worried about is how much my past results will affect my ATAR but what's the point in fretting about something I can't change? All I can do is move on and try my hardest, but I won't lie; I still think about it a lot.

    But an improvement in schoolwork is really making me realise that it's not actually too hard to do well, there's not much of a secret; you just need to stay motivated and do exactly what the teacher sets out for you. I feel like I had been under so much stress that I'd completely lost interest in everything I once loved, but now I miss them more than ever. I wish I could mess around on the piano for half an hour. I wish I could play chess with my friends for an hour or two. I wish I could visit a beach with my friends, and just zone out for a while, clear my mind up. Of course, I can't do any of that; my parents would flip out if they knew I was doing anything other than studying!

    Anyways, not much to say, nothing much has happened. Just a life update I suppose, rather than asking for advice.

    Nevertheless, I still hope to hear back from you :)

    C74

  24. Summer Rose
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    15 May 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    Thanks for your latest life update. I'm glad you got through parent/teacher interviews without incident and that you are continuing to improve at school.

    I really wish you could take a break though, it would be very good for your health and your results. Everybody needs downtime and enjoyment in life, it helps to balance out the pain. When my daughter was in year 12 she had a whiteboard to help manage her study time and life and she actually blocked off time for rest and enjoyment. I guess all parents are different, all students are different and all homes are different.

    Thinking of you

  25. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    23 May 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose,


    Life is sailing by, I’m as exhausted as ever, but of course that’s just how it is. Currently, I’m going over 15 hours of tutoring per week (I won’t say the exact number, in paranoia that people I know may come across this forum and realise it’s me. Just trust me; it’s a lot.)


    Examinations are coming up in 3 weeks and I haven’t been in the best of moods lately; I know this is a sucky thing to say, but I’m realising my friends aren’t the best people to be around during this time. It’s just… I don’t know how to describe it, but I’ll say it’s like there are only two types of people within my friendship group:


    Too chill


    These people spend study periods fooling around, disrupting me when I’m trying to study and pick on me for studying, constantly calling me a ‘nerd’. I don’t mind all that usually; it’s just when I’m trying to study, it’s rather annoying to have that happen.

    *to be continued in the next comment*
  26. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    23 May 2019 in reply to Summer Rose
    *scroll to read part 1 of this comment before reading this part*

    2) Way too stressed for their own good

    These people keep reiterating how utterly stressed they are about everything, and make their problems seem like the end of the world. I honestly don’t get why. I’ve given them sound advice, and they just get annoyed when I tell them ways to deal with it, and come up with more reasons they’re stressed but those reasons get more and more ridiculous. It’s utterly frustrating for me to deal with. Here I am, doing 15+ hours of tutoring with mountain loads of work to the point where I can’t finish my work without working through my school break times and staying up way past midnight. I’ve quit all cocurricular activities and hobbies, I don’t even play piano anymore. Just study, study, study. Next to me, someone who does no hours of tutoring (they still get better grades than me mainly because I have a lot to catch up on due to my lax attitude in year 11), plays around during break times, spends more time doing leisure activities than studying and then complains to me about how much workload they have. When me and my friends give that person sound advice, they start saying how they love all their subjects and won’t take our advice (which is to drop a few of those subjects, if they’re that stressful). I’m just like, why don’t you just do your work instead of continually complaining?! Well of course, that’s what I WANT to say. What I’ve ACTUALLY been telling them is that the best way they can deal with it is to realise that dropping their weakest subject may actually be better in the long run than keeping all their subjects, or maybe to see the counsellor/advisor at my school. Of course, they then find another little thing to complain about, such as “I have to eat dinner at a restaurant today so I will have less time!” or “I’m going to a club meeting for my cocurricular today” AKA things that they had a choice to not attend!


    And to be frank, if I had no tutoring, I would have such an easy time completing just my school homework! Considering 11 out of the 15+ hours of the large amount of tutoring I do right now are as a result of my parents forcing me to go, even though they aren’t really beneficial to me as of now, I already envy the fact that they have so much extra time. I’m strong believe I’m under more pressure, and hearing them complain just makes me so mad, but of course I can’t say that.


    It’s just so frustrating, what can I do?
    I need advice :(
    C74
  27. Summer Rose
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    24 May 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    Thanks for the update. Year 12 is certainly challenging, for a variety of reasons as your last two posts point out. Here's my advice on the friendship issues ...

    If you want to seriously study, stay clear of the friends who goof around. If you need a break and some fun, join them.

    The sressed out friends are a little trickier because you obviously want to help them. You cannot change their behaviour. You can only change the way you react to it.

    Seems to me that, you've given them your best advice and it's largely been ignored. Maybe from now on you just empathise and suggest the school counsellor.

    You will be responsibly responding like a good friend, without taking on the responsibility to "fix" their problems. Although you may feel like a broken record at times, it should be less stressful for you.

    Congrats on keeping it all together thus far. Not long to go now.

    Kind thoughts to you

  28. ProDude
    ProDude avatar
    4 posts
    28 May 2019 in reply to C74

    Hey C74

    I haven't read the whole thread of conversations but I thought I might just chime in my own perspective on this.

    Firstly (just to give what I am about to say some credibility) I'm gonna tell you a little bit about myself. I'm 23, been at university for 5 years studying a Law/Accounting double degree in Melbourne, and did my Year 12 in 2014.

    From what I have read, it sounds like you are someone who really wants to achieve and is under enormous pressure with where you're trying to get into at uni and suffering quite a number of adversities along the way. As someone who has university experience, one horrifying thing I can tell you is that VCE (or HSC) is a cakewalk academically compared to uni. And I'm not saying that to undermine whatever you are dealing with now, but that things change and that right now you are undergoing a huge learning process and a taste of what the future will bring academically and how you will learn to naturally cope with it better.

    I read some of your concerns and there are some tips I can give:

    1. Look at your current study methods and question whether you are studying 'harder' or studying 'smarter'. Often times I find that we can become so focused on dotting every I and crossing every T and covering every minor thing, at the cost of our health, sanity and overall benefit. Question whether what you are doing is essential, target the content that is really vital and think about whether there is a more efficient way of doing things.

    2. A bit of a cliche but year 12 isnt everything. Yes, it would be fantastic to get into medicine straight from year 12 (and maybe you will), but there are plenty of other pathways into it, including if you enrol in another course at the university that requires a lower ATAR and then transferring into medicine the year after. And it's really not wasted time because usually you can get units from your old course credited towards electives in the new course.

    So to sum up, keep putting in the work, you're halfway there. But at the same time, you have so much going for you and other ways into medicine apart from how well you do in year 12. When I did VCE I got an 84.80 ATAR and I still got into my law/accounting course in which I am thriving. Like me, you will one day look back at this ATAR year and realise how meaningless it really is in the grand scheme of things, and how far you have come and how much stronger you were for it.

    All the best :)

  29. C74
    C74 avatar
    27 posts
    21 June 2019 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose - long time no see, sorry I had exams for the last two weeks so I tried to limit my internet use. Now that it’s over, and I’m out of exam mode, I realise that I truly feel as if I can’t take it anymore…


    I’m so tired, I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m stressed to the point where every second of my life is spent thinking about the consequences for if I do badly in the HSC. The thing is, I’m not too worried myself anymore - I personally know that if I don’t end up getting into medicine right away, there are so many pathways. The thing I’m afraid of is what my dad will do to me if I don’t do well, and it’s putting such an immense, unnecessary amount of stress onto me.


    He’s generally an incredibly misogynistic and condescending person - he will find any reason to speak badly of anyone. I mean, he’s constantly berating my mum for being lazy and ‘lucky to find him’ when she goes to work more than he does, pays all the bills and does literally all the chores, which is sickening for me to watch everyday. He yells at her for every little mistake she does when doing chores, when all he does is sit there smoking all day, going on the internet and telling my mum he could leave her for a twenty something year old wife anytime (which is just such a disgusting thing to say, in my opinion).


    My mum, for all her flaws, is someone I truly care about, and it makes me so upset to see her get treated like this.


    But I can’t do anything about it, for he does the same to me.


    His favourite thing to do is set impossibly high standards for me (I’m doing some of the hardest HSC subjects, one which includes the highest possible level of math, in which a 70% is considered really good and would scale up to he 90s - he told me I must get 90%) and then scold me really harshly when I don’t reach those goals, saying how he’d easily reach them and that I’m hopeless (He dropped out during high school, whereas I’m pursuing one of the hardest degrees. Really?!). Of course I don’t take it to heart when he says I’m hopeless, but the scolding is really taking a toll on me.


    I know I can easily take action if I wanted to, but the thing is, I don’t. No matter what he does, he’s still my father. I wish I didn’t care so much, but I do, and now it’s taking a toll on me. What should I do?


    C74
  30. Summer Rose
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    22 June 2019 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I'm worried about you. I'm concerned about the effect your father's abuse is having on you and the high level of fear you are experiencing.

    I want to remind you of three things we have talked about before. Abuse is never okay. There is no excuse for your father's behaviour. None of this is your fault.

    You are so brave to talk about it and to keep going and functioning in daily life. You are doing an amazing job and I am really proud of you.

    You have said that you don't want to take any action because he is "still your dad" and then asked what you should do because of the toll it is taking on you. Tricky question.

    I understand and respect where you are coming from with regard to the feelings you have for your dad, but I think it's likely the abuse will continue without any kind of intervention to stop it.

    So perhaps, at this point, it would be prudent to focus on trying to improve your safety in the home. I'm thinking about an emergency safety plan for starters. How would you feel about calling the kids helpline on 1800 55 1800 for some expert advice on this? Then we could talk about it some more. I also want to remind you that when you are in danger you can call 000 for immediate help.

    I also think you should focus on improving your mental health. The emotional harm being inflicted on you is significant and I believe you will need professional treatment to heal. I know you don't want to approach your GP, but how would you feel about talking again with the school counsellor? The counsellor should be able to help you access local youth mental health services that could help. You can also call the bb support line on 1300 22 4636 for advice and guidance on where to find help in your area.

    You are a great kid doing your best in a very difficult situation and I really want to encourage you take these steps. It's important.

    I feel honoured to know you and I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers