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In a rut

Dear Sam, Ive not felt so good since the start of year 10 (now in Year 11). I’m not exactly sure what started it off but ive felt really depressed and nowadays am tired a lot and cant see meaning in my life, although i dont feel suicidal. Ive been to a doctor and she diagnosed me with anxiety; I was supposed to talk to professionals but covid has prevented this. I wanted to tell you that I have the christmas holidays to revise for mocks, which could end up being my final results, and I know how i need to revise but cant seem to stop crying or cant bring myself to do revision. I sometimes cant even brush my teeth before bed, things like that. I feel stuck in a rut, and i dont feel like anythings ever going to be better. How can i get out of the rut?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Being stuck in a rut can mean it's difficult to see any way to get out of it. One reason why things like depression and anxiety are difficult to manage is because they can make everyday life extra hard. Things that most people do regularly without problems can be really challenging.  Another reason is that  depression and anxiety stop you from doing what is good for your mental health - like looking after yourself and getting tasks finished. Thankfully there are some things you can do to help you get out of the rut.

A problem many people find is that they set themselves goals that they don’t achieve.. This might be to do more exercise or to get their revision done. These are all good things to do and would help a lot with feeling better about yourself and your situation. The problem with these goals is that they’re too big and too broad. If you’re more specific about tasks and break them down into smaller parts, you're more likely to get them done.

Another problem is that it's difficult to go from doing nothing to doing big things. Getting things done is easier when you have momentum and have been in the habit of doing something each day. A car doesn't go straight from 0 to 70mph - it takes time to build up speed and it all starts with a small movement forwards. Getting out of a rut is the same.

So the first thing you need to do is break down your task into smaller, more specific pieces. If your task is revising then plan for tomorrow to revise one particular subject for a small amount of time. Make this a very small thing that you can more easily do. This could be to read one page for one subject, for example. That's a start, and you can slowly increase this every day until you're reading 5 pages then 10 pages and then more. Setting small goals that you can achieve makes it more likely you will do it again the next day and keep going.

Sometimes you'll fail and you won't do the things you set out to do - and that's okay too. You can always start small again tomorrow and build up to bigger things. Failing is often one of the steps you'll need to take to eventually succeed.

I hope this advice has helped - if you want to talk more you can always speak to one of our counsellors. Perhaps other young people on the message boards might be able to share their advice about how they got out of a rut.

Thanks for writing, take care.


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