Feeling Unmotivated and Disappointed in Myself


Feeling Unmotivated and Disappointed in Myself


Original Letter

Hi, I don’t really know where to begin I guess… I suppose I had to limit my category to just school, so I’ll stick with that.

So I’m currently in year 12 and doing 3 BTEC qualifications. And to be completely honest, I don’t think I can do it anymore. I can’t find any motivation to, none of the work is particularly hard but I just don’t see the reason in continuing. I have 1 friend at school and we don’t even meet outside of it. I don’t see the point in school, and obviously there is a bigger picture but I won’t say that here. I feel as if my presence is just an inconvience to everybody around me. Even the teachers are beginning to get annoyed.

I don’t want to be a quitter, but I really can’t find it in myself to carry on and I’m sick of this constant sadness. I don’t want to let anybody else down by dropping out, but really I let myself down every day. I don’t do enough work, I hold in all my feelings until I get home and then break down every day and I’m just a walking embarrassment. There is so much I could say.. But anyway, it’s not that I’ll be happy if I were to go to college or get an apprenticeship either.

I’m so sick of letting other people down, but largely I’m just disappointed in myself. I don’t enjoy going there, I don’t enjoy my subjects and really, I don’t enjoy anything I do.

Elder Response

My first question to you, Jade, is: how long have you been feeling this way? What you are describing is pretty close to the classic symptoms of depression. If this has been going on for more than a few weeks, chances are that you have a physically based condition that needs medication. You should see your doctor about it; true depression is not likely to improve as long as your body chemistry isn’t re-balanced.

On the other hand, you’re also describing what we used to call (back in the Dark Ages when I was in school) “Senioritis.” Everything is boring, not much to look forward to, hard to drag yourself to classes (much less to do homework). Senioritis is generally cured by graduation, when the world opens up and you don’t have to be doing the same things and seeing the same people over and over again. So, if this is in fact a relatively recent development, here are a few suggestions about how to cope with it:

1. Get a big calendar and start counting off the days. It really isn’t much longer until you’re through your program, and I don’t need to tell you what a waste it would be to chuck it in when you’re so close to the end. Marking off days will give you a sense of getting closer and closer to being free of it all.

2. Break your work into smaller chunks, and reward yourself in some way when you finish each chunk. The rewards can be tiny and/or silly, but they work wonders! When I was in grad school, I had a few required classes that I absolutely despised. I ended up clearing a space on my desk, setting out the homework along with a kitchen timer; at the end of every 15 minutes of doing homework, I rewarded myself with a jelly bean. Stupid? For sure — but it worked.

3. Talk to any of your teachers that you trust. If they’re “getting annoyed” then they must know something isn’t right with you — tell them what’s going on, and ask for help. Talk to your school counselor. It’s not healthy to hold all those feelings in; it’s not wise to try to get through this all by yourself.

4. Be sure to take care of yourself physically — eat healthy food, get enough sleep, exercise sensibly. Misery thrives in a neglected body.

5. Spend at least half an hour every day doing something you enjoy. Every day needs to hold something that you look forward to.

6. Be patient with yourself. There’s a little girl inside you, deep down, who needs love and encouragement. Instead of scolding yourself, be gentle. And when you do complete a task, or even get through the day, congratulate yourself. We all have a part that never completely grows up, and when times are tough that’s the part that needs to be treated with kindness.

Whatever else, don’t let this bad patch continue for much longer, Jade. If things don’t lighten up within a week or so, do talk to your doctor about it. You deserve better than what you’re experiencing right now.

Thanks for writing to us, and I do hope you’ll write back and let me know how things are going. I’ll be thinking of you, and wishing you the very best of luck —

Best Regards,


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