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Feeling like a failure

#1
This week I was rejected from Cambridge. I'm 17 and haven't posted in this forum for 3 years since I became depressed at 14, but this rejection made me realise that all my doubts about being stupid, being a fraud and being a failure were all true. I've spent my whole life with the feeling that grades define my self-esteem and self-worth and I've been a high achiever all throughout school, so this rejection (plus receiving some pretty shitty exam results after sitting the exams whilst my parents were really ill with COVID) has completely floored me. I keep crying in lessons if I get something wrong (on mute and with my camera off of course) and I feel like I've failed myself and my family. This was supposed to be the thing that proved that all my negative thoughts weren't true and that I AM smart, but instead it only proved that Cambridge could see what was so bloody obvious; I am stupid. Today I started self-harming again after 3 years clean and I'm scared of returning to a place in my mind where I just hate everything about myself, unless I'm already there. I know this seems trivial in comparison to real-life problems but lockdown has made me feel worse because of the isolation, plus this is a culmination of years and years thinking that I'm a fraud and an imposter in a school like mine. I don't know what to do.
 
#2
Sorry that you're going through this.
it only proved that Cambridge could see what was so bloody obvious; I am stupid.
If your heart is really set on going to Cambridge, perhaps you could apply again next year. Maybe someone can advise you on how to make your application stronger.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who have been rejected by Cambridge who have gone on to be very successful, perhaps more successful than others who were accepted. Beyond this, you may be able to be to find some basis for self-worth and meaning in life that is not connected to academic success.

There is a saying, "It is only when we stumble that we find life's treasures". Perhaps this is true. Maybe not getting what you wanted will take your life in a better direction than the one you had hoped for.

Are you seeing a therapist? It sounds like a good one might be able to help guide you through this.
 

johnDoen

Outsider in the Realm of Lost and Found
#3
This week I was rejected from Cambridge. I'm 17 and haven't posted in this forum for 3 years since I became depressed at 14, but this rejection made me realise that all my doubts about being stupid, being a fraud and being a failure were all true. I've spent my whole life with the feeling that grades define my self-esteem and self-worth and I've been a high achiever all throughout school, so this rejection (plus receiving some pretty shitty exam results after sitting the exams whilst my parents were really ill with COVID) has completely floored me. I keep crying in lessons if I get something wrong (on mute and with my camera off of course) and I feel like I've failed myself and my family. This was supposed to be the thing that proved that all my negative thoughts weren't true and that I AM smart, but instead it only proved that Cambridge could see what was so bloody obvious; I am stupid. Today I started self-harming again after 3 years clean and I'm scared of returning to a place in my mind where I just hate everything about myself, unless I'm already there. I know this seems trivial in comparison to real-life problems but lockdown has made me feel worse because of the isolation, plus this is a culmination of years and years thinking that I'm a fraud and an imposter in a school like mine. I don't know what to do.
You are smart. I think depression only affects mood and self-perception, not logical capabilities. Your realization of your own problem is an example for this.

Your problem is not trivial, in fact it's quite universal to almost every one of among us at your age. There are just too many choices and too little knowledge on "what exactly do I want to do with my life?".

In my opinion, we define our own answers to the above question according to our desires in life, and these changes by time, quite often, to be honest. Skills can be learned. Achievements can be acquired. Relationship can be formed. Cambridge is just another popular and recommended place where people learn the skills or form the relationships they need.

For now, you can try to write down all the things and people you love, just for a clear picture of your desires. Remember that the list doesn't have to make any sense, it's love, after all.
 
#4
I so relate to this.... sorry to hijack your post though!
I currently feel like everything I do isn’t good enough and I’m constantly making mistakes that I shouldn’t but they are mainly things I’ve done to keep people happy - weird I know


The last few days have been really tough and I’m unsure where to turn - i hate it when people tell me I’m strong and inspire them as I think if they knew the me that I know they would hate me to.

Everyone says that everything is temporary and it will get better soon but it feels it’s one bad situation to another.
 
#5
I so relate to this.... sorry to hijack your post though!
I currently feel like everything I do isn’t good enough and I’m constantly making mistakes that I shouldn’t but they are mainly things I’ve done to keep people happy - weird I know


The last few days have been really tough and I’m unsure where to turn - i hate it when people tell me I’m strong and inspire them as I think if they knew the me that I know they would hate me to.

Everyone says that everything is temporary and it will get better soon but it feels it’s one bad situation to another.
I feel the same...this is the last of a chain of really bad events in my life recently. And your feeling that people who tell you that you inspire them would hate you if they knew the real you is EXACTLY how I used to feel...like I was somehow some twisted human being who had to hide themselves because their real self would make everyone hate them. Honestly what helped was getting new friends who appreciate things about you that you can't see - even if I'm insecure about my academic ability I must still be a decent person because of how I care for others. Plus you are your own harshest critic - everyone has parts that aren't great but you can't see them, you can only analyse every single one of your flaws. Not sure how to get out of this toxic mindset, but this rejection has cemented my low self-worth and low confidence in my academic ability.

You're not alone*hug10
 
#6
Sorry that you're going through this.

If your heart is really set on going to Cambridge, perhaps you could apply again next year. Maybe someone can advise you on how to make your application stronger.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who have been rejected by Cambridge who have gone on to be very successful, perhaps more successful than others who were accepted. Beyond this, you may be able to be to find some basis for self-worth and meaning in life that is not connected to academic success.

There is a saying, "It is only when we stumble that we find life's treasures". Perhaps this is true. Maybe not getting what you wanted will take your life in a better direction than the one you had hoped for.

Are you seeing a therapist? It sounds like a good one might be able to help guide you through this.
Thank you for your reply. You're right...my backup is Imperial and I know I might be happier in a big city and in a less stressful environment but some part of me can't let go of Cambridge especially since my two best friends got in and I didn't.

I don't have a therapist at the moment, I used to see a counsellor in school 3 years ago but I stopped and I've been ok since, it's just recently that things have gotten bad again. Not sure how to see a therapist since I can't access the one in school and I don't want to tell my parents about how I'm feeling...I already feel bad enough that I disappointed them by not getting in, they shouldn't have to deal with the aftermath.
 
#8
I feel the same...this is the last of a chain of really bad events in my life recently. And your feeling that people who tell you that you inspire them would hate you if they knew the real you is EXACTLY how I used to feel...like I was somehow some twisted human being who had to hide themselves because their real self would make everyone hate them. Honestly what helped was getting new friends who appreciate things about you that you can't see - even if I'm insecure about my academic ability I must still be a decent person because of how I care for others. Plus you are your own harshest critic - everyone has parts that aren't great but you can't see them, you can only analyse every single one of your flaws. Not sure how to get out of this toxic mindset, but this rejection has cemented my low self-worth and low confidence in my academic ability.

You're not alone*hug10
That’s exactly it, I feel all this bad stuff about myself like I’m being punished for something in my life but I don’t know what it is or how to correct it

I struggle to have relationships as I don’t think anyone would ever want to be with me.
I’m constantly doing things to try to make people happy as I’d never want anyone to feel like I do about myself even if it puts me in a rubbish situation. I have a lovely group of friends who all try to reassure me but I always feel they will never get it so I never tell them how bad the feelings are

I just wish I could find some kind of happiness but on the other hand I feel like I don’t deserve it

I’m so glad you understand as I’ve been cracking up thinking there’s something seriously wrong with me feeling like this
 
#9
You're welcome :)

Why can't you access the one in school?

Have they expressed disappointment, or have you just assumed they are disappointed?
We're in lockdown so school is closed and the school counsellor isn't doing appointments anymore :(

That's a good point...I feel like my guilt is making me feel like they're disappointed because I feel like I've disappointed them. They've given me so much extra help for this application and spent a ridiculous amount of money on my school and I still couldn't get in. I wanted them to feel like the money was worth it and they could be proud of me. I suppose I've assumed that I've disappointed them, but I can't tell if they're being nice since they know I already feel so crap about it or they genuinely feel ok about the rejection.
 
#10
That’s exactly it, I feel all this bad stuff about myself like I’m being punished for something in my life but I don’t know what it is or how to correct it

I struggle to have relationships as I don’t think anyone would ever want to be with me.
I’m constantly doing things to try to make people happy as I’d never want anyone to feel like I do about myself even if it puts me in a rubbish situation. I have a lovely group of friends who all try to reassure me but I always feel they will never get it so I never tell them how bad the feelings are

I just wish I could find some kind of happiness but on the other hand I feel like I don’t deserve it

I’m so glad you understand as I’ve been cracking up thinking there’s something seriously wrong with me feeling like this
There's nothing wrong with you*hug

Honestly, I thought the same about my friends but they were understanding when I told them, some more than others. Even now I can't even talk to my friends about how terrible I'm feeling. I definitely relate to you, I always put others first even if it harms me because I'm a people pleaser.

Everyone deserves happiness. Even if you don't feel like you do, which I completely understand, don't cut yourself off from happiness.
 
#11
school counsellor isn't doing appointments anymore :(
Are you sure the counsellor won't even give appointments over the phone?

I wonder if you could write a letter to your parents explaining how you feel, that you fear that you disappointed them, and that you'd like to see a counsellor.

My guess is that they would respond to it well.
 
#12
There's nothing wrong with you*hug

Honestly, I thought the same about my friends but they were understanding when I told them, some more than others. Even now I can't even talk to my friends about how terrible I'm feeling. I definitely relate to you, I always put others first even if it harms me because I'm a people pleaser.

Everyone deserves happiness. Even if you don't feel like you do, which I completely understand, don't cut yourself off from happiness.
I think my friends would understand that’s what hurts the most..... I just can’t tell them how bad the feelings are in case it’s all to much and it’s easier for them to walk away.

Whenever anything bad happens it’s like the final straw to wanting to end it all again, it’s like I’m carrying a big weight all the time then once something is added to it “bang” I’m there again.

I see a therapist and I have one person I talk to some of it about but never it all. I know some of it is grief and guilt about my mum dieing but the rest of it just feels like a punishment

I just think I let everyone down in the end by trying to do the right thing that’s always the wrong thing

Sorry for going on, I just need to write it all down before I go crazy sat in these four walls
 

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