The worst things to say to stressed people


The current humidity is not helping but I am facing mahoosive sleep issues at the moment. My university final grade is out next week (at 4pm on my birthday of all days) and I can’t stop fretting over it!

I’m trying my best to keep myself busy during the day but I still have millisecond panics with a precise countdown to receiving my results. This is made 10 x worse at night and I’ve found myself only being able to sleep after a long Netflix binge. My family & friends are trying their best to help me but sometimes their advice is SO frustrating. Just to clarify, I know I am being completely irrational but this is the stress talking! So here is a little list of the most infuriating advice to receive:

  1. “It’s not long to go then it’ll all be over!”

I don’t care how long there is to go. Whether it’s one minute or three months – I am going to stress. Time isn’t a factor in this because the stress comes in waves. One minute I can be in a “I’m sure it won’t be bad” then the next minute I’m thinking of so many bizarre scenarios; “maybe I wrote the wrong student number on my exam and I’ll end up with a 0? Perhaps I accidentally google translated my entire dissertation into Spanish so it’ll be impossible to mark?” Minds can play tricks. A steady stream of stress would be manageable, it’s the unexpected stress over any time period that is difficult.

    2. “There’s nothing you can do about it now so just forget about it”

Oh! Thanks so much, Susan. I didn’t realise I should just forget about it – stress gone! This would be dream advice if it was actually possible to do. Having someone casually disregard your stress and suggest that it can be pushed away is somewhat damaging and makes you feel even more irrational about being stressed.

3. “I’m sure you’ve done fine, you did your best”

BUT DID I?! Or did I go to a party when I should have done my essay? Did I buy a kitten two weeks before three deadlines? Results stress even makes me question the times that I did work hard, “yes I worked hard.. but could I have worked harder? Did I really need to sleep and shower?”

4. “I know you’ll get a first”

Spoiler: It is now mathematically impossible for me to achieve a first so I know that won’t be happening. It’s incredibly flattering having close friends say this one but when I know the expectations are so high it’s actually adding more pressure because whatever I now get will be disappointing (not to me personally, a 2:1 will have me singing on the rooftops). I know people have good intentions but I’ve had this since GCSE’s when the pressure to get A*’s & A’s was suffocating.

Are any of you in the same boat as me and waiting for results or are you one of the lucky ones that has been able to enjoy their summer with their results in hand?


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