How to keep your life together?

I feel nervous and anxious about the new 2nd semester that happened recently, and I’ve not been able to make friends with my classmates as they have treated me differently like not so friendly unlike how they treated my other classmates which were lovely and pleasant, and fun, but there are multiple voices and thoughts telling me that I am right that they don’t like me and also wrong that I should just speak up to them, basically like an inner war. But I lost my sense of wanting to socialize with people when I started semester 1. This caused me to lose potential friendships that I could have made during 1st semester. I wish I could just go back and just fix my mistakes so that I don’t have to beat myself up for making foolish mistakes like this. I wish I could just ignore the voices in my head and what my classmates think like what my counselor says so that I could focus more on my work but I can’t help but overthink the reasons why they are acting like that.

I am also feeling overwhelmed as I can’t help to compare myself to others. I know it’s wrong and I shouldn’t compare myself as there are some things that are not within our control but I just can’t help it. I just want to be accepted by others, I want someone to tell me that “I did good” when I’ve done my best. I want to be like those people who have their life together striving in life and have friends by their side. But, I don’t think I could do it as I have had intrusive and negative thoughts that appear as long as I breathe for the past 4 years which made me be suicidal until today. I hope this makes sense and sorry if it looks like it doesn’t make sense and the points are all jumbled up. :sweat_smile:

Hi @Salty_Kidd0, thank you for sharing your struggles with me. I’m glad that you’ve taken this step to reach out. It sounds like you’ve been having a lot on your mind and that all of these things have been taking a toll on you.

Adjusting to changes can be a real challenge for sure! A new semester probably entails new classes and new classmates as well - all of these things could force you to get out of your comfort zone. While there may be little to none that can be done right now about your previous semester, the good news is that you can take this opportunity to start your 2nd semester a little differently.

Firstly, I’d like to address the intrusive and negative thoughts you mentioned you’ve been having for the past 4 years. It sounds like you are presently already in touch with a counsellor. Because of the nature of this platform, I would advise you to speak with your counsellor in greater depth about these thoughts. If you have any active self-harming or suicidal thoughts, I would also urge you to approach your counsellor or contact SOS at 1-767, or IMH at 63892222 immediately.

In the meantime, there are a few things that I could perhaps share with you. I’m hearing that you’ve been having conflicting thoughts regarding your classmates and the way that they think about you. I’m wondering if there are certain things they say or do to make you feel that they don’t like you? Could there perhaps be an alternative interpretation of such situations? To expand a little on this, I’d like to share with you about the way our thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected. Here is a simple example:

Situation: My friend hasn’t spoken to me as much as she usually does over the last week.

Thought: My friend hasn’t talked to me much this week. She must be angry at me.

Feeling: Sad and hurt.

Action: I ignored my friend and avoided her in school because I was upset.

In this situation, you see how your interpretation of the situation can affect the way you feel and the way you act in response. Sometimes, this may eventually result in the occurrence of a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can read more about this here (1).

Applied to your situation, is there perhaps a different interpretation of things? Are there new thoughts that may help you see the situation differently? You may refer to this worksheet (2) to read more about how changing our thoughts can also change our feelings and actions.

Another point I would like to address is the point you brought up about not being able to stop comparing yourself to others. As inherently social creatures, we’re probably all guilty of engaging in social comparison at some point in our lives. Not all forms of comparisons are bad either - to some extent, social comparisons can motivate us to become better versions of ourselves. However, too much of it can quickly become destructive and unproductive.

You shared that you’d like to be like those people who have their life together, striving in life and having friends by their side.
Here’s what we can do to steer away from comparing ourselves to others:

1. Be mindful of the situations and stimuli that may trigger such comparisons

For example, is it something that happens frequently while scrolling through social media? If this is the case, then perhaps we can work on trying to reduce screen time, or identifying specific accounts that may make you feel a certain way and choosing to mute/unfollow them. It is also important for us to bear in mind that most of the time, what we see on social media is merely a highlight reel, and there are also probably less glamorous aspects of these people’s lives that don’t show up.

2. Practice gratitude, and focus on your own growth.

The fact of the matter is that there will always be someone out there who is doing better - and worse, for that matter - than you in some aspect or another, because none of us are perfect in all areas. In the process of engaging in social comparison, we sometimes end up losing sight of the wonderful things we have in life as our focus is locked on the things that we wished we had. Something that you could try would be gratitude journaling by writing down 3 things you’re grateful for every day, or our gratitude exercise (3) to help you incorporate more gratitude into your daily life.

I hope some of these will be of help to you. Please take care of yourself and keep yourself safe! I’ve linked the resources below, for your reference.

(1) Beware of Your Self-Fulfilling Prophecy | Psychology Today Singapore